2023 Bookish Oscars
Last weekend, the Oscar winners were announced at the annual Academy Awards ceremony. And as usual, behind a number of this year's films are incredible books! Explore some of this year's Oscar winners — and the books that inspired them.
All Quiet On the Western Front
Winner: Best Cinematography, Best International Feature Film, Best Production Design, Best Original Score
This German language adaptation of Remarque's classic novel was the second most awarded film of the evening, following Everything, Everywhere, All At Once. It is the third feature film adaptation of the book, the first being the 1930 American film directed by Lewis Milestone. Like the book (now a staple of high school reading lists) and the earlier adaptations, the 2022 film follows the journey of idealistic young German soldier Paul as he encounters the realities of war and must fight to survive. However, the 2022 film also inserts a second narrative, following the armistice negotiations to end the war.
In addition to the four wins the film received, it was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Visual Effects, Best Adapted screenplay, and Best Sound.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Winner: Best Costume Design
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was one of the biggest films of 2022. While the movie was first announced in 2019, the film had to be majorly reworked following the death of Chadwick Boseman — and Marvel's decision not to recast his role. But while T'Challa might be gone from the MCU, he remains immortalized in years of incredible comics.
In addition to winning Best Costume Design, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Angela Bassett), Best VFX, Best Original Song ("Lift Me Up"), and Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Winner: Best Animated Short Film
This gently philosophical book has been on and off of our bestseller lists since it was released in 2019. Did you know that it has been adapted into an Oscar winning short film? The animated short was co-written and co-directed by the author of the book. This is a cozy and heartwarming story for all ages — and it's beautifully told in this new (ish) animation!
Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio
Winner: Best Animated Feature Film
While you might be more familiar with the classic Disney film, Guillermo del Toro's 2022 stop motion picture takes the story of Pniocchio in a darker direction. Both, of course, take their title from Carlo Collodi's 1883 story The Adventures of Pinocchio. However, this character has shifted much over the ages — with del Toro's version setting the action in Fascist Italy during and leading up to World War II. The film was initially supposed to be released back in 2013 or 2014, but after much delays, it finally came out (to quite some acclaim) last year. Was it worth the wait?
Winner: Best Actor (Brendan Fraser), Best Makeup and Hairstyling
The Whale was one of the year's more polarizing films. Like the play upon which it was based, The Whale follows the story of a reclusive, obese English teacher as he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter. While the film's plot and themes were quite divisive, it was largely praised for its acting. Brendan Fraser took the award for Best Actor, and Hong Chau was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
Winner: Best Adapted Screenplay
Miriam Toews' 2018 novel Women Talking was a fictionalized response to an all-too-real series of sexual assaults. The book became an international bestseller, the New York Times calling it "a feminist manifesto that delicately unwraps the horror, but also bubbles with ... love and wry humor". Sarah Polley's 2022 film adaptation has made equal waves, earning not only a win for Best Adapted Screenplay, but also a nomination for Best Picture.
Nominee: Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Batman has had a number of film adaptations (like the blockbuster Dark Knight trilogy and the recent DECU films including Batman v Superman), and in 2022, he appeared again in an all-new movie directed by Matt Reeves. Building on an incredible legacy of comic and film, Reeves and co-writer Peter Craig decided to focus on Batman earlier in his vigilante career, fighting the iconic supervillain the Riddler.
Nominee: Best Actress (Ana de Armas)
You've probably heard of the controversial Netflix film Blonde, which imagines the interior life of one of America's most iconic film stars: Marilyn Monroe. What you might not have known is that the film was based on a 2009 book by Joyce Carol Oates. Oates' book was a finalist for the National Book Award, and while the film adaptation might not have been as critically successful as its source material, it certainly made a splash.
Nominee: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor
With a screenplay by renowned novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, Living is a sort of double-adaptation. It is an adaptation of a 1952 Japanese film (Ikiru, dir. Akira Kurosawa), which in turn was inspired by Leo Tolstoys novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich. This version of the story is set in 1953 London, where it tells the story of an uninspired bureaucrat faced with a fatal illness.
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
Nominee: Best Costume Design
The 2022 film Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is the third film adaptation of Paul Gallico's book of the same name. It follows the story of, you guessed it, Mrs. Harris: a London cleaning lady who goes on a life-changing quest to find the perfect dress. While the film might not have been quite as block-busting as some of the other titles on this list, it enjoyed a strong box office performance, and currently has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish
Nominee: Best Animated Feature Film
While the award Best Animated Feature Film went to another fairy tale icon, how could we forget everyone's favorite fearless hero? Puss in Boots is an incredibly old fairy tale character, first appearing in a written work around 1550, in Giovanni Francesco Straparola's collection of folk tales The Facetious Nights of Straparola. In the original version of the story, called "Costantino Fortunato", a fairy disguised as a cat helps his owner fool the world to win a princess. Another incredibly famous version of the story came with Charles Perrault's 1697 collection of French Tales (which is credited with being the origin of Mother Goose herself).
The Quiet Girl
Nominee: Best International Feature Film
Based on a 2010 novella by Claire Keegan, The Quiet Girl is an Irish coming-of-age film set it 1981. When the nominees were announced back in December, The Quiet Girl became the first Irish language film to be nominated for an Oscar. While it didn't take home this award, it has been quiet successful elsewhere, winning many awards in Europe, including seven awards at the 18th Irish Film & Television Awards, including Best Film.