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2010's Oscar-Worthy Books


The Oscar nominations were announced last week and this year, there are four Best Picture nominees that were adapted from books.  If you've seen the films and want to read the books, here they are:

The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich. This book was adapted into the Golden Globe-winning film, The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg (nominated for Best Actor) and based on the true story of the beginnings of facebook.  The film was nominated for a total of eight awards this year.  This blog post, written by my fellow NYPL librarian, Jennifer Allen, discusses the book vs. the movie.  Reserve it at your branch today, we have it in print and as an ebook.  Mezrich is the author of seven novels and five works of non-fiction.  The film 21 is based on his book Bringing Down the House.  Facebook fans might also be curious about NYPL's Social Media Week programs, read more about them here.

True Grit by Charles Portis. This is the second film adaptation of True Grit. The first, released in 1969, brought John Wayne his only Oscar for Best Actor. The latest adaptation is from the Coen Brothers and stars heavy hitters like Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld.  It has a combined ten Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.  The original novel was written by western author Charles Portis in 1968.  Portis has published four other novels and several short stories and articles.  Fans of Portis's work might want to try Cormac McCarthy's book, All the Pretty Horses, or The Ox-bow Incident by Walter Van Tilberg Clark.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston. This was adapted into 127 Hours, starring newly published author and Best Actor nominee, James Franco.  This is the one film among these four that I have seen and I really liked it.  Ralston's five day adventure in Canyonlands National Park in Utah was admittedly hard to watch but was an inspiring story and very well acted.  It was nominated for six academy awards including Best Picture.  If Ralston's outdoor adventure biography is your cup of tea, you might enjoy Jon Krauker's Into the Wild and Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado.  

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell. The independent film has been nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress for 20-year-old Jennifer Lawrence. Daniel Woodrell has written eight novels mostly set in his childhood home, the Missouri Ozarks.  The author coined the term "country noir" for his writing style.  Readers who enjoy similar themes should check out Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison (also adapted to film) or The Little Friend by Donna Tartt. 

In addition to these films based on novels, there's more to be read from the Oscar nomination list! 

  • The King's Speech, a leader in nominations with twelve, is based on the life of King George VI of the United Kingdom. 
  • For younger readers and viewers, Best Animated Feature film nominee How To Train Your Dragon was based on the popular series by Cressida Cowell. 
  • Best Picture nominee The Fighter is based on the life of Micky Ward, a boxer from Lowell, Massachusetts.  NYPL does not currently have any copies of the biography by Bob Halloran, but you can find it in WorldCat
  • Best Foreign Language Film nominee Biutiful is produced by Guillermo del Toro, writer of several popular novels and screenplays including Pan's Labyrinth, The Strain and The Fall
  • Jeremy Renner is nominated for Best Supporting Actor in The Town, which was based on Chuck Hogan's novel, Prince of Thieves
  • Nicole Kidman is nominated for Best Leading Actress performance in The Rabbit Hole, which is based on a play of the same name by David Lindsay-Abaire. 
  • Alice in Wonderland  is up for Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects and is of course based on the Lewis Carroll classic
  • Barney's Version  starring Paul Giamatti is up for a Best Makeup nomination and is based on the novel by Mordecai Richler. 
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is based on the best-selling series by J. K. Rowling.  It is up for Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction. 

To view the full list of nominations, check out the Academy's website.  The awards will be broadcast on February 27, 2011.


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nice post, thanks Ursula. I

nice post, thanks Ursula. I appreciate suggestions for similar stories.

Thank you for your comment.

Thank you for your comment. Also, I saw this on the Huffington Post about the historical inaccuracies of the Social Network and the King's Speech and thought I'd share.

Country Noir?

That's a term I hadn't heard before, but seems very, very fitting for Winter's Bone. Thanks for pointing that out!

I like it too Greg, I haven't

I like it too Greg, I haven't read anything by Woodrell but I am definitely add him to my "to read" pile.

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