Reading the Oscars 2024 Nominations

By Carrie McBride, Communications
January 23, 2024

Nominations for the 96th annual Oscars were announced this morning and many of the honored films have strong literary connections. Indeed, five of the ten nominees for Best Picture were based on books including three novels and two works of historical nonfiction. Find these works below and discover more books with ties to the 2024 Academy Awards. The winners will be announced March 10 which gives you plenty of time to get some reading in!

a Black man standing in front of a house on stilts

American Fiction

Based on Erasure by Percival Everett

Thelonious "Monk" Ellison's writing career has bottomed out and he seethes as he watches the meteoric success of a first novel by a woman who once visited "some relatives in Harlem for a couple of days." Meanwhile, Monk struggles with real family tragedies—his aged mother is fast succumbing to Alzheimer's, and he still grapples with the reverberations of his father's suicide. In his rage and despair, Monk dashes off a novel under a pseudonym meant to be an indictment of the bestseller—and soon it becomes the Next Big Thing. How Monk deals with the personal and professional fallout galvanizes this audacious, hysterical, and quietly devastating novel.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Jeffrey Wright), Best Supporting Actor (Sterling K. Brown), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score

two black girls wearing white dresses sit on a log laughing

The Color Purple

Based on The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance, and silence. Through a series of letters spanning nearly thirty years, first from Celie to God, then from the sisters to each other, the novel draws readers into a rich and memorable portrayal of Black women—their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery.

Nominated for: Best Supporting Actress (Danielle Brooks)

a Native American woman and a white man sit at a dinner table

Killers of the Flower Moon

Based on Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Presents a true account of the early 20th-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Best Actress (Lily Gladstone), Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro), Production Design, Costume Design, Cinematography, Editing, Original Score, Original Song ("Wahzhazhe (A Song For My People"))

animated girl with red hair and large eyes holding a battle axe

Nimona

Based on: Nimona by ND Stevenson

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are. But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Nominated for: Best Animated Feature

a woman in the ocean wearing a pink swim cap and swim goggles pulled up on her head

Nyad

Based on Find a Way by Diana Nyad

A firsthand account of the author's record-breaking swim from Cuba to Florida describes her early achievements and setbacks, the support behind her decision to return to competitive swimming, and her determination to live life at the highest level.

Nominated for: Best Actress (Annette Bening), Best Supporting Actress (Jodie Foster)

 

black and white photo of a man in a suit with his hand on his hat walking down a hallway being photographed by reporters

Oppenheimer

Based on: American Prometheus: The Triumph And Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin

A definitive portrait of legendary scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the "father" of the atomic bomb, discusses his seminal role in the twentieth-century scientific world, as well as his lesser-known roles as family man, supposed communist, and head of Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Christopher Nolan), Best Actor (Cillian Murphy), Best Supporting Actor (Robert Downey Jr.), Best Supporting Actress (Emily Blunt), Adapted Screenplay, Production Design, Costume Design, Cinematography, Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound

a woman in a short coat and high boots stands on a street in the snow holding a book

Poor Things

Based on Poor Things: Episodes from the Early Life of Archibald McCandless M.d. Scottish Public Health Officer by Alasdair Gray

In the 1880s in Glasgow, Scotland, medical student Archibald McCandless finds himself enchanted with the intriguing creature known as Bella Baxter. Supposedly the product of the fiendish scientist Godwin Baxter, Bella was resurrected for the sole purpose of fulfilling the whims of her benefactor. As his desire turns to obsession, Archibald’s motives to free Bella are revealed to be as selfish as Godwin’s, who claims her body and soul. But Bella has her own passions to pursue. Passions that take her to aristocratic casinos, low-life Alexandria, and a Parisian bordello, reaching an interrupted climax in a Scottish church. Exploring her station as a woman in the shadow of the patriarchy, Bella knows it is up to her to free herself—and to decide what meaning, if any, true love has in her life.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Yorgos Lanthimos), Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo), Adapted Screenplay, Production Design, Costume Design, Cinematography, Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score

Bonus: check out this interactive website about Gray's novel!

a group of bathers in tall grass with a lake in the background

The Zone of Interest

Based on The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis

A portrait of life and unexpected love in a concentration camp explores the depths and contradictions of the human soul as well as the capacity of individuals who are tested to acknowledge their true selves.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Jonathan Glazer), Adapted Screenplay, Sound, International Feature

Summaries provided via NYPL’s catalog, which draws from multiple sources. Click through to each book’s title for more.