82nd Academy Awards - Books that inspired the movies
The 82nd Oscars are on Sunday, March 7, and an overwhelming number of this year's nominees began in the pages of a book.
Hollywood's borrowing from fiction and non-fiction writers is nothing new, of course, with one of the earliest Academy Awards for best picture going to All Quiet on the Western Front, a film based on the novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque. In honor of Hollywood's roots in the world of books, Politics & Prose highlights some of our favorite titles that have made their way to the silver screen.
Daphne duMaurier's gothic tale of obsession and madness, Rebecca, morphed into a sinister film noir in the hands of director Alfred Hitchcock. A young female narrator, known only as the second wife of Maxim de Winter, is brought to the rotting Victorian mansion Manderly, where the hawkish Mrs. Danvers manages a secretive household haunted by the memories of Maxim's beautiful and devoted first wife, Rebecca. The film of the same name won the 1940 Oscar for Best Picture.
Alexander Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, set in a futuristic London overrun by violent criminal gangs, centers on the brutal, young Alex. When Alex is arrested and sent to a facility to undergo a controversial and brutal "rehabilitation," Burgess presents the dilemma of compulsory goodness at the cost of free will. A Clockwork Orange was re-imagined for the screen by director Stanley Kubrick and was nominated for Best Picture in 1971.
Larry McMurtry's coming-of-age novel, The Last Picture Show, follows a group of teenage friends in the dying town of Thalia, Texas as they fumble towards adulthood. McMurtry creates a dusty town vivid with memorable characters that reappear in much of his later fiction. The Last Picture Show was nominated for Best Picture in 1971.
Annie Proulx's haunting collection, Close Range, is the first of her Wyoming stories, and features the heartbreaking "Brokeback Mountain," a story about the painful and difficult love between two cowboys. Proulx's sparse language and minimal dialogue heightens the emotional tension of their doomed romance with searing resonance. Director Ang Lee transformed Proulx's twenty-page short story into the film "Brokeback Mountain," nominated for Best Picture in 2005.
This year's Oscar nominated films with literary origins include:
Julie Powell's funny memoir about her struggles to follow in the culinary footsteps of Julia Child, Julie & Julia;
Michael Lewis's touching memoir about family and football, The Blind Side;
Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man, about the pain of loss and the power of memory;
Walter Kirn's surprisingly moving Up in the Air, about a man tendering his own resignation after flying millions of miles during the course of a career to fire other people;
and Jay Parini's The Last Station, a fictionalized chronicle of Tolstoy's dramatic final days.
To find out more about these books (and buy them!), click the title links!!
See more books that became cinematic forces below, or visit our "Like the Movie? Read the Book!" display, located in the store near the information desk.
- Lacey Dunham