On January 23rd, the 96th Academy Award nominations were released. These nominations celebrate the best in film of 2023. There was such a wide variety of productions recognized that anyone could find one that they enjoyed. While some nominees were original stories, there are others that were adaptations. Specifically, many of the films were adapted from previously published books. They took these exciting books and brought them to life. Of course, when it comes to adaptations, there will certainly be some differences. That is a reason why you should check out some of the books that got turned into films. That way, you can truly understand what is happening. Here are all of the Oscar nominees that started out as a book.
Oppenheimer was one of the biggest movies of 2023 and showed how one man changed the future of weaponry. The film, which has 13 Oscar nominations, shows the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the Manhattan Project and “father of the atomic bomb.” While the natural inspiration is Oppenheimer’s life, most of the facts came from a biography about him.
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin gives the unfiltered story of the scientist. The book came out in 2005 and won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. With over 700 pages of information, this book will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about Oppenheimer and give you some insight that was not explored on screen.
The struggle to find success is a big problem for many authors. That problem is explored in the American Fiction, which received five Oscar nominations. The film is about a black author who does not want to give into stereotypes when writing his books, but he might have no choice. This book-themed narrative actually comes from a novel, Erasure, by Percival Everett.
The 2001 novel gets up close into what the story is about. The book has dueling narratives, with some parts being from the main character’s perspective and others being a perspective through the book he is writing. It is an experimental novel that clearly translated well into film, but the unique writing style could be an incentive to give the book a try after seeing the movie.
The Osage Indian Murders were a serious, yet often not talked about, event in American history. Now, more people can understand what happened with the release of Killers of the Flower Moon. The film, which has ten Oscar nominations, gives an up-close look at the 1920s murders of many Osage members due to the hunt for wealth and oil being found on their land. The highly publicized movie is bringing attention to these stories for the mainstream public, but it actually comes from a book of the same name.
The 2017 book by David Grann received universal acclaim and was found to be a gripping true tale. The book has some different perspectives than the film, but they show the brutal history of America’s treatment of Native Americans.
The Zone of Interest
Education about the Holocaust is always important. There have been many ways that this information has been spread, and The Zone of Interest is a new film with a new point of view. This film, with five Oscar nominations, is about a Nazi and his wife as they build their life in a home next to Auschwitz. This movie shows the horrific crimes of the past and how they were reflected by the people who witnessed these crimes as a part of their lives.
The intense movie is also based on a 2014 novel of the same name by Martin Amis. It is a loose adaptation, with the book having three different narrators and styles. Nevertheless, the film wanted to show the dangers that the book conveys, and both pieces of media get their job done.
While journeys of self-discovery have been told many times, they are not often told with the concept of bringing a person back to life. That is the basis for Poor Things, which has 11 Oscar nominations. The film follows a woman who is brought back to life with a new brain after she commits suicide, and her journey towards liberation, both literally and sexually. It is a unique tale, but it is one that was in novel form before it made it to the big screen.
The novel by Alisdair Gray came out in 1992 and was called Poor Things: Episodes from the Early Life of Archibald McCandless M.D., Scottish Public Health Officer, but was more commonly known as just Poor Things. The adaptation is fairly close to the novel’s, but the novel has the bonus of unique illustrations and pictures from the popular anatomy book Gray’s Anatomy. It is all told in a colorful way, and the book may be something to check out for some intrigue, along with the film.
Diana Nyad is a longtime swimmer who, at the age of 64, swam from Havana, Cuba, to Key West, Florida. That swim was a total of 110 miles. It is an inspiring story that is now being told through the medium of film. Nyad, which is nominated for two Oscars, explores Nyad’s journey to her big swim, including the obstacles and failed attempts.
This movie adapts the real-life story of Nyad, which specifically comes from her 2015 memoir, Find a Way. While a film can go really in-depth into someone’s life, nothing can beat the events told from their own perspective. Nyad shows what happened in a dramatized way, while the memoir is able to get even more up close and personal.
Adaptations are not always straightforward, from book to movie. Sometimes, there are other mediums explored along the way that keep making the tale fresh. That is the case for The Color Purple, which is nominated for Best Supporting Actress. The film is about black women living in the South in the early 1900s and the hardships that these women faced. Many people know the original film, which came out in 1985.
What makes this movie different from the earlier one is it is adapted from the Broadway musical, which premiered in 2005. What they have in common is that they are both inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel by Alice Walker. This new film gives The Color Purple more energy while also touching on the important emotional beats. It is an important story that has shown the power of novels and deserves to be consumed in any capacity.
It is always fun to bring a little adventure into your life. One of the great ways to do that is through the media you consume. Nimona is prepared to bring the adventure that you need. The film, which was nominated for Best Animated Feature, is about a shape-shifting teen and a fugitive knight as they build a friendship while proving the knight’s innocence. It provides fun for all ages and is also inspired by a graphic novel of the same name.
The 2015 graphic novel by ND Stevenson began as a comic on Tumblr before a publisher decided to put the story into print. The graphic novel explores various themes around gender identity, structural violence, and a new look at the fight between good and evil. Those exciting themes were finally brought to life, but the authentic artistry of the original is something to check out.
While dialogue is usually an important part of a story, sometimes it can still work with no talking. That is the case for Robot Dreams, which is nominated for Best Animated Feature. It is about the strong friendship between a dog and a robot in Manhattan. They do not speak at all, yet their friendship is understood. That friendship came from the 2007 graphic novel of the same name by Sara Varon.
Like the movie, the graphic novel does not have any dialogue and is told through pictures. However, that did not stop the great success that led to the film adaptation. The book allows you to look at pictures and conclude what is happening, which is a fun new reading experience.
In 1972, a plane from Montevideo, Uruguay, to Santiago, Chile, crashed into the Andes mountains. The survivors had to fend for themselves for months before they received help. By the time help arrived, less than half of the passengers were still alive. Their stories are now told on screen in Society of the Snow, which was nominated for Best International Feature Film for Spain.
Society of the Snow is told in a thriller style to demonstrate what these passengers had to do to survive in the frigid cold with nobody else around. It is an intense film that comes from a just as intense, or possibly more intense, book, La sociedad de la nieve (which translates to Society of the Snow) by Pablo Vierce. The book features interviews with many survivors, some of whom Vierce knew from childhood. The book has a personal connection to the events and gives first-hand accounts of this dramatic tale that is now on film.
Despite his controversial past, Roald Dahl is one of the most famous authors of children’s novels. From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Matilda, Dahl’s books have been highly regarded, with millions of copies sold around the world and many movie adaptations. Now, another story of Dahl’s is making it to the big screen. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, which is nominated for Best Live Action Short Film, is a short film about a rich man who meets a guru who can see with his eyes closed, and the rich man is determined to have that power as well.
It is fantastical with a magical theme, like many of Dahl’s other stories. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar was a 1977 short story by Dahl, which came from his short story collection The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More. Considering it is the titular tale, it is the most well-known of the collection and full of excitement. Since this is a short story and a short film, you should have plenty of time to look at both and see what makes each of them special.
In 2023, it seems that many books were turned into films. Not only that, but judging by the amount of nominations, many of those books were turned into good films. There is still a lot of time between now and the Oscars, so maybe take the time to look at some of these movies as well as the works they were adapted from. You can explore some of the stories and learn more about the many perspectives of the world.
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