By now, the annual hoopla over the Academy Awards has died down. We’ve gotten our kicks making fun of the tacky gowns (what was she thinking?) and weighed in on the merits of Jon Stewart’s monologue. As I look back over the list of films nominated for Best Picture, I can’t help but notice that three of the five were based on works of fiction. What was the big deal about the writer’s strike, you might ask, so long as there are novelists out there to inspire filmmakers?
In case you missed any of the nominated movies, and don’t want to wait until the DVDs are released, you might want to go back to the source and read the works in their original format. This year’s Best Picture award went to No Country for Old Men based upon the excellent novel by Cormac McCarthy. Another Best Picture nominee was Atonement based upon Ian McEwan’s novel of the same name, which also garnered a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Saoirse Ronan. And Daniel Day-Lewis won the Best Actor award for his work in “There Will be Blood,” based upon the novel “Oil” by Upton Sinclair.
Even more novels provided the basis for movies in which several actors turned in nomination-worthy performances. Casey Affleck was nominated for his role in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford which was based upon the novel by Ron Hansen; Philip Seymour Hoffman was recognized for Charlie Wilson’s War, based upon the book by George Crile; and Hal Holbrook for Into the Wild based upon author Jon Krakauer’s book by the same name. Veteran actress Julie Christie was recognized for her performance in “Away from Her,” which was based on Alice Munro’s short story, “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” from her collection entitled Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship Marriage, and Amy Ryan was nominated for her role in the film adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s mystery, Gone Baby Gone.
I have to admit, I haven’t seen any of these films…yet… but I have read a number of the books. And while my rule of thumb is that the book is always better than the movie, that may not necessarily be true this year. And for even more movie-related reading, check out our “Lights! Camera! Hollywood!” display in the Readers Services area.
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