Six of the nine Oscar nominated best films began their lives as novels. Considering the vast majority of movies don’t do their literary counterparts justice, it would be fascinating to see if the Oscar nominated books were as riveting as their films.
This debut novel regularly receives four stars and kudos for its humor and heartbreaking emotion. The structure of the movie is faithful to the book, with several characters given more dimension in the book. Several scenes and sections of dialogue are taken directly from the book. It can’t hurt to have nominated George Clooney as Best Actor for the movie as well.
A sophomore novel by Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close follows Foer’s standout novel and accompanying movie, Everything is Illuminated.
Foer’s books are an acquired taste but they are still given more than four stars by most readers. Some complain of the odd passages, overwritten text, and illustrations but the movie seems to make the story accessible to all. Max Von Sydow is nominated for Best Supporting Actor and doesn’t utter a single word in the movie.
With another debut novel, Stockett has become the patron saint of thwarted novelists. She famously gave an interview explaining that The Help took five years to write and racked up over 60 rejections before becoming a bestseller and collecting nearly four stars from every review site. Even her husband suggested she abandon the book and move on to something else.
The movie is superbly cast with a trio of fierce actresses, each deserving a nomination. It did gain best actress for Viola Davis (Abilene) and two supporting actress for the stunning Octavia Spencer (Minnie) and Jessica Chastain (Celia). Only Emma Stone was neglected.
The only non-fiction book on the list, Moneyball is regularly ranked four stars and above, even by non-sports lovers. The theory heavy book found the heart of the story, replicating the success Lewis had with his other novel turned blockbuster, The Blind Side.
Brad Pitt is nominated for Best Actor, Jonah Hill is nominated for a Best Supporting Actor for his fictional character, Peter Brand, and the movie is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The children’s book by Selznick is an inventive mix of picture book, children’s novel, graphic novel, and mystery. Hugo, the movie, takes its cues from the cinematic book, delivering a rich ready-made story. It is nominated for both Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay as well.
Another children’s novel, War Horse was first released in 1982. Adapted into a play first and then into a movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, it is both a moving, brief book and a riveting epic movie.
The book, at only 192 pages, regularly ranks four stars and above and can be enjoyed by both children and adults.