Lights, Camera, Books!

February 21, 2019

Oscar season is officially here, and this year, seven films nominated for awards are based on books. As people scramble to see the nominated films, make their predictions and plan their Oscar-watching parties, we encourage you to pick up one -- or several -- of the books that gave these nominees a story to tell:

 

1. BlacKkKlansman

 

From IMDB: Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.

 

Nominated for:

  • Best Picture

  • Best Director

  • Best Supporting Actor

  • Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Best Film Editing

  • Best Original Score

 

 

Based on the book Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth

 

From Goodreads: In 1978 the community of Colorado Springs, Colorado experienced a growth of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) membership. One man dared to challenge their effort and thwart attempts to take over the city, Police Detective Ron Stallworth. He launched an undercover investigation into the Klan, gained membership into the organization, briefly served as Duke's bodyguard, and was eventually asked to be the leader of the Colorado Springs chapter. The irony of this investigation was that Stallworth is… A Black man. In the process he battled internal departmental politics to successfully pull off this "sting." Black Klansman explains how he overcame these obstacles and accomplished this almost unbelievable unique achievement.

 

2.  First Man

 

From IMDB: A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

 

Nominated for:

  • Best Production Design

  • Best Sound Editing

  • Best Sound Mixing

  • Best Visual Effects

 

Based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen

 

From Goodreads: On July 20, 1969, the world stood still to watch thirty-eight-year-old American astronaut Neil A. Armstrong become the first person to step on the surface of another heavenly body. Perhaps no words in human history became better known than those few he uttered at that historic moment. In a penetrating exploration of American hero worship, Hansen addresses the complex legacy of the First Man, as an astronaut and an individual.

 

3. Mary Poppins Returns

From IMDB: Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael's children through a difficult time in their lives.

Nominated for:

  • Best Costume Design

  • Best Original Score

  • Best Original Song

  • Best Production Design

Based on the book Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

 

From Goodreads: From the moment Mary Poppins arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, everyday life at the Banks house is forever changed. It all starts when Mary Poppins is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life!

 

4. If Beale Street Could Talk

 

From IMDB: A woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime.

 

Nominated for:

 

  • Best Supporting Actress

  • Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Best Original Score

 

Based on the book If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

 

From Goodreads: In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin's story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions-affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.

 

5. Can You Ever Forgive Me?

 

From IMDB: When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.

Nominated for:

 

  • Best Actress

  • Best Supporting Actor

  • Best Adapted Screenplay

 

Based on the book Can You Ever Forgive Me?”by Lee Israel

 

From Goodreads: Lee Israel’s hilarious and shocking memoir of the astonishing caper she carried on for almost two years when she forged and sold more than three hundred letters by such literary notables as Dorothy Parker, Edna Ferber, Noel Coward, and many others.

 

6. Mary Queen of Scots

 

From IMDB: Mary Stuart's attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution.

 

Nominated for:

 

  • Best Costume Design

  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Based on the book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy

 

From Goodreads: A long-overdue and dramatic reinterpretation of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots by one of the leading historians at work today.

 

7. The Wife

 

From IMDB: A wife questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

 

Nominated for:

 

  • Best Actress

 

Based on the book The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

 

From Goodreads: Wolitzer's most important and ambitious book to date, The Wife is a wise, sharp-eyed, compulsively readable story about a woman forced to confront the sacrifices she's made in order to achieve the life she thought she wanted. But it's also an unusually candid look at the choices all men and women make for themselves, in marriage, work, and life. With her skillful storytelling and pitch-perfect observations, Wolitzer invites intriguing questions about the nature of partnership and the precarious position of an ambitious woman in a man's world.

 

Of note: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a American western anthology film based on Western-themed short stories written by Joel and Ethan Coen over approximately two decades; however, this collection of stories has not been published. The film was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume Design and Best Original Song.

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