Books at the Movies · Special Features

And the Oscar Goes To…Part Two

Welcome to the second of a three-part series regarding some amazing books that have been adapted to film and won one or more Academy Awards. The first part of the series can be found here.
Without further ado: The Oscar goes to…

1990s

 

misery
photo courtesy of imdb.com

1991 (63rd Academy Awards) – Misery (1990)
Just one of the many Stephen King novels to transcend to the big screen, Misery follows the story of what happens when author Paul Sheldon is kidnapped by his “biggest fan” following a car accident.

  • Best Actress – Kathy Bates

As of the writing of this post, it is the only Stephen King novel adaptation to win an Oscar. Furthermore, according to IMDb.com, Kathy Bates was the first actress to win Best Actress for a horror film.

 

 

 

th
photo courtesy of imdb.com

1992 (64th Academy Awards) – The Silence of the Lambs One of the most well-known films of both Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins’s careers, The Silence of the Lambs is also one of the few films to win all five of the major Oscar categories:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor – Anthony Hopkins
  • Best Actress – Jodie Foster
  • Best Director – Jonathan Demme
  • Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

According to IMDb.com, author Thomas Harris, who spent six years writing the novel, sent all of the Oscar winners a case of wine, despite his status as a recluse.

 

jurassic park
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1994 (66th Academy Awards) – Jurassic Park (1993) One of Michael Crichton’s most popular and well-known novels became one of the most famous films of the 20th century. A cult classic that attracted audiences from all walks of life, the film sparked a new fascination with dinosaurs and paleontology studies.  Due to the immense success of the first film, three sequels followed, though only the last garnered as much success as the original. As often happens with book-to-film adaptations many events and plot points from the novel were changed for the screenplay. It is no surprise that the film won several awards for its innovative use of technology:

  • Best Sound
  • Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing
  • Best Effects, Visual Effects

Following the success of both the first novel and the film, many suggested to Crichton that he write a sequel. When Jurassic Park’s director Steven Spielberg encouraged him to write a sequel, Crichton gave and published The Lost World, a novel that retconned a few major plot points from the first, namely the survival of Dr. Ian Malcolm.

 

schindlerslist
photo courtesy of imdb.com

1994 (66th Academy Awards) – Schindler’s List (1993) One of the most expensive black and white films ever created, Schindler’s List is a moving film adapted from the novel by Thomas Keneally and based on the true events of the man who saved more Jews than any other person in the history of the Holocaust. The film provided director Steven Spielberg with his first Oscar for Best Director and is one of two films that he wishes to be best-remembered for, according to IMDb.com (the other film is E.T., Extra Terrestrial). It won seven of the twelve categories for which it was nominated.

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director – Steven Spielberg
  • Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Art Direction, Set Direction
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Music, Original Score

Spielberg has not received any money for this film; he arranged it so all profits and royalties go to the Shoah Foundation, which, according to their website, is “dedicated to making audio-visual interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides a compelling voice for education and action.”

 

forrestgump
photo courtesy of imdb.com

1995 (67th Academy Awards) – Forrest Gump  (1994) A cult classic and infinitely quotable film, Forrest Gump is the beloved tale of one man’s romp through history. Though many historical events were left out of the adaptation of Winston Groom’s novel, it proved to be a film loved not only by a wide variety of audiences but the Hollywood Foreign Press as well:

  • Best Pictures
  • Best Actor – Tom Hanks
  • Best Director – Robert Zemeckis
  • Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Effect, Visual Effects

 

 

 

senseandsensibility
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1996 (68th Academy Awards) – Sense and Sensibility (1995) Though not nearly as popular as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility is a favorite among fans of Jane Austen. It took over four years and thirteen drafts for acclaimed actress Emma Thompson to complete the screenplay. The effort was worthwhile, however, as it garnered Thompson an Academy Award:

  • Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

According to IMDb.com,  the computer Thompson wrote the screenplay on glitched and lost the file. Friend and fellow British thespian Stephen Fry spent seven hours working on the computer for Thompson and eventually located the file and fixed the computer.

EDIT: As requested by an awesome reader, I am including a link to Emma Thompson’s lovely Oscars acceptance speech. Isn’t she wonderful? I would love to meet this woman!

 

englishpatient
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1997 (69th Academy Awards) – The English Patient (1996) After reading Michael Ondaatje’s novel  in one day, director  Anthony Minghella knew he needed to adapt the book for the big screen. Four years and twenty drafts later, his hard work and tremendous vision paid off:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Supporting Actress- Juliette Binoche
  • Best Director – Anthony Minghella
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Art Direction, Set Direction
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Sound
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Music, Original Drama Score

 

girlinterrupted
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2000 (72nd Academy Awards) – Girl, Interrupted (1999) Based on the memoir of Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted is a stark film detailing the two years that Kaysen spent in a psychiatric hospital following a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Featuring an all-star cast and a thought-provoking script Girl, Interrupted won one Academy Award:

  • Best Supporting Actress – Angelina Jolie

The title Girl, Interrupted was inspired by the name of a painting by Johannes Vermeer. The painting was titled “Girl Interrupted at Her Music.”

 

 

2000s

 

fellowshipofthering
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2002 (74th Academy Awards) – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Based on one of the most beloved fantasy novels in history, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring set a huge precedent at the beginning of a new century of film-making. Furthermore, it (along with films such as the Harry Potter franchise) opened new doors for computer-generated imaging technology due to the fantastical nature of its content. It is no surprise that the Oscars the film won represented the hard work of those working in aesthetics:

  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Makeup
  • Best Music, Original Score
  • Best Effects, Visual Effects

 

twotowers
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2003 (75th Academy Awards) – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) With the momentous success of its predecessor, there was no doubt that Peter Jackson and the Fellowship would return to the big screen for the sequel to The Fellowship of the Ring. Again, as a major step forward in the film industry, the film won awards related to its technical showmanship:

  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Visual Effects

According to IMDb.com, the trilogy was originally planned to be a duology, featuring major changes and elements not found in the books. This was changed once it was realized that loyal fans would be dissatisfied with the changes.

 

 

thehours
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2003 (75th Academy Awards) – The Hours (2002) Based on Michael Cunningham’s novel of the same name (which is, in turn, inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway), The Hours is a poignant film that illustrates the lives of three women, one being Woolf herself, as they are affected, in one way or another, by suicide. Nicole Kidman, portraying the famous author, was rewarded for her supreme acting:

  • Best Actress – Nicole Kidman

It is interesting to note that, according to IMDb, the film was disqualified from being nominated for the Best Makeup category because the false nose that Kidman wore to make her look like Woolf was digitally altered to look realistic. What makes it even more interesting is that Kidman would often wear the false nose in public in order to avoid paparazzi.

 

returnoftheking
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2004 (76th Academy Awards)- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Unprecedented for a fantasy film trilogy, The Return of the King was nominated for a whopping eleven categories…and won all of them:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Art Direction, Set Direction
  • Best Costume
  • Best Makeup
  • Best Music, Original Score
  • Best Music, Original Song
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Effects, Visual Effects

 

coldmountain
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2004 (76th Academy Awards) – Cold Mountain (2003) Featuring a star-studded cast, Cold Mountain is a sweeping drama that immerses its audience in the American Civil War. Based on the novel by Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain follows Inman (Jude Law) as he returns to North Carolina to reunite with Ada (Nicole Kidman), the woman he loves. The film won one award:

  • Best Supporting Actress – Renee Zellweger

According to IMDb, even though there is an actual Cold Mountain in North Carolina, many scenes were shot in Romania.

 

 

lionwitchwardrobe
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2006 (78th Academy Awards) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe Another well-loved fantasy series brought to the big screen, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe didn’t, in this blogger’s humble opinion, get the love it deserved. A brilliant show of technology, like both the Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings film adaptation, The Chronicles of Narnia certainly brought new skills to the table. The film, regrettably, won only one Oscar:

  • Best Makeup

According to IMDb, the entire series was optioned for film adaptations. Three were made (The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; Voyage of the Dawn Treader), but it is currently unclear as to whether any more will result. Production on the fourth film (based on the sixth book) is currently listed as “in development.”

 

memoirsofageisha
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2006 (78th Academy Awards) – Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) Memoirs of a Geisha is a beautiful film filled with wondrous acting and vibrant color. The film is based on Arthur Golden’s  tale of a young Japanese girl named Chiyo who is sold by her parents, taken from her small fishing village, and enters the world of the Geisha. Perhaps my favorite thing about the film version is the costume design. They are vibrant and beautiful. According to IMDb.com, Colleen Atwood, the costume designer for the film, created 250 hand-made kimonos for the cast. It is no surprise that she won an award for her work:

  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Costume Design

 

 

therewillbeblood
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2008 (80th Academy Awards) – There Will Be Blood (2007)
Many are surprised to find that this film is actually based on a novel. Still more are intrigued to learn that the source novel, Oil!, was written by none other than Upton Sinclair, the man famous for his searing review of the meat-packing business. In  2007 and 2008, There Will Be Blood, a story about the business of oil in early twentieth-century America, made quite a stir. It is surprising, actually, that the film only won two Oscars:

  • Best Actor – Daniel Say-Lewis
  • Best Cinematography

According to IMDb, There Will Be Blood had shooting locations near the set of No Country for Old Men. Both films would later vie for the same awards at all of the major film award circuits.

 

nocountry
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2008 (80th Academy Awards) – No Country for Old Men (2007) Like with There Will Be Blood, many movie-goers are surprised to find that No Country For Old Men was based on a book. Cormac McCarthy, famous for his book The Road (which also became a film), wrote No Country For Old Men in the mid 2000s. Set near the Texas-Mexico border, No Country For Old Men follows three characters whose story lines are intertwined with murder, money, and each other. The film won four Oscars:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Supporting Actor – Javier Bardem
  • Best Director – Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
  • Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay

 

 

atonement
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2008 (80th Academy Awards) – Atonement (2007) A beautiful and heart-wrenching story, Atonement is based on the Ian McEwan novel of the same name. The film is a complex narrative told through the eyes of Briony Tallis, an aspiring writer, beginning just before the onset of World War II. After seeing something she doesn’t understand, Briony becomes the catalyst for a chain of events that change everyone’s lives forever. A gorgeous and superbly acted film, Atonement won one Oscar:

  • Best Music, Original Score

According to IMDb, Saoirse Ronan was only twelve years old during the making of Atonement. That would make her roughly thirteen when she received her Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work in the film.

 

 

thegoldencompass
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2008 (80th Academy Awards) – The Golden Compass (2007) A big year for book-turned-movies, 2007 witnessed the attempt to bring another popular fantasy series to life. Based on the first book Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, The Golden Compass was not able to pass muster. Though it couldn’t live up to its novel counterpart, it was still an  interesting adaptation, if a bit gutted. It won one Oscar:

  • Best Visual Effects

Pullman’s  trilogy is one of my favorites and I will always be disappointed that it didn’t get the full film love it deserved. BBC One announced in 2015 that they were commissioning a series for television based on the trilogy.

 

 

thereader
photo courtesy of imdb.com

2009 (81st Academy Awards) – The Reader (2008) Based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink, The Reader is set in the years following World War II. The story follows a man who discovers that the woman he had an affair with a decade before is on trial for war crimes.
According to IMDb, though Kate Winslet was originally considered for the role, she was unable to accept it when first offered because of conflicts with her schedule on Revolutionary Road. The role went to Nicole Kidman, who later had to step down when she became pregnant. Winslet was finished with Revolutionary Road by this time and was able to accept the role. Winslet won the only Oscar for the film:

  • Best Actress – Kate Winslet

 

 


 

And that concludes Part Two of the three-part series detailing film adaptations that won Oscars. Did any films on the list surprise you? Have you read any of these books or watched the film versions?

Missed Part One? No worries. You can check it out here:

And the Oscar Goes To…Part One
The third and final part of the series will be available next week!
xTheBookWench

9 thoughts on “And the Oscar Goes To…Part Two

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