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Books on Film: Celebrate the 2015 Oscars!


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Are you planning to watch the Academy Awards this Sunday, February 22?

Many of the featured films began life as books; the list below highlights just a few of these notable titles from the NYPL Catalog. For some nominees, like Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, you might want to read the book before viewing the film adaptation by David Fincher. And with others, such as X-men: Days of Future Past, it can be fun to delve into the graphic novel inspiration afterwards, to see how the two visual mediums differ in their treatment.

Without further ado, on with the show! (All books are listed in alphabetical order by title.)

Andrew Hodges' biography of Alan Turing details how the brilliant, gay, British mathematician laid the groundwork for modern computing and cracked the German army's Enigma ciphers, an achievement crucial to ending World War II. The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role and is nominated for "Best Adapted Screenplay". Request this item from the NYPL Catalog.

American Sniper tells the real life story of United States Navy SEAL Chris Kelly, who became the deadliest marksman in U.S. history during his 1999-2009 deployments to Iraq. Clint Eastwood directs and Bradley Cooper stars in the film adaptation, which is nominated for "Best Adapted Screenplay". Request this item from the NYPL Catalog.

Originally published in 1980, Days of Future Past immediately follows the gripping events of The Dark Phoenix Saga by creative team Chris Claremont and John Byrne. This edition compiles X-men #138-141 and Uncanny X-Men #142-143. Read the original and compare it to the film version of Days of Future Past, which is up for "Best Visual Effects" at this year's Oscars. Request this item from the NYPL Catalog.

Gone Girl follows the mysterious disappearance of Amy Dunne on the morning of her fifth wedding anniversary. Her husband Nick is an immediate suspect, but through alternating chapters told from each character's perspective, this slow burn of a thriller gradually reveals the truth underlying their relationship. In the film adaptation, David Fincher directs Rosamund Pike, who is nominated for "Best Actress in a Leading Role". Request this item from the NYPL Catalog.

Thomas Pynchon's psychedelic noir chronicles private eye Larry "Doc" Sportello as he follows the hazy clues of a kidnapping case across a 1970 Los Angeles littered with vices and the fading soundtrack of the Sixties. Paul Thomas Anderson directs this "Best Adapted Screenplay" nominee, which also stars Joaquin Phoenix and the voice of Joanna Newsom. Request this item from the NYPL Catalog.

Kip Thorne is an expert on cosmology and the Theory of Relativity and served as scientific consultant and excecutive producer on the film Insterstellar. This book discusses the scientific theories behind the plot including: gravity and time dilation, the physics of blackholes and wormholes, and food scarcity. Interstellar has been nominated for a total of six Academy Awards this year. Request this item from the NYPL Catalog.

Fifty-year-old Alice Howland is a wife, mother of three, and world-renowned psychology professor at Harvard. Her seemingly perfect life is turned upside down by a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's. Julianne Moore is nominated for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" for the adaptation of Lisa Genova's novel. Request this item from the NYPL Catalog.

Jane Wilde Hawking was married to physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking from 1965-1995. Travelling to Infinity describes their life together during this period and is "an abridged version" of her 1999 autobiography, Music to Move the Stars. The film adaptation, The Theory of Everything, is nominated for "Best Adapted Screenplay" and stars Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking. Request this item from the NYPL Catalog.

In an interesting twist this year, Damien Chazelle's Whiplash is competing in the "Best Adapted Screenplay" category rather than "Best Original Screenplay". Chazelle made a short film with the same title in 2013 and The Black List named the original 85-page script as one of the "most liked" screenplays of 2012. Click on the link to read the script, which would eventually become the critically-acclaimed film starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. Read online.

After losing her mother at the age of 22, Cheryl Strayed embarked on a 1,100 mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail with no prior experience. Film critic A.O. Scott of the NY Times calls her memoir Wild "a classic of wilderness writing and modern feminism". Reese Witherspoon is nominated for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" and Laura Deren for "Best Supporting Actress" in the 2014 film. Request this item from the NYPL Catalog.

Of course, there are many more books behind the 2015 Oscar nominees: Foxcatcher, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, The Boxtrolls, Cressida Cowell's series which inspired How To Tame Your Dragon 2, and The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (retold in Studio Gibli's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya).

Which was your favorite book or film adaptation? Is there a particular nominee you are hoping will win?

View the above items as a Bibliocommons list.


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And the book within the movie

And the book within the movie: Best Picture Birdman features a stage production of the Raymond Carver short story, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"

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