The Oscars just got nerdy

Not too many weeks ago I talked about how six of the nine Best Picture Oscar nominees were based on films and, although none of these won (the winner being ‘The Artist’), I think that literature deserves a round of applause for how well it has infiltrated the 84th Academy Awards. Of the many and varied categories, ten were won by book-based films proving, I feel, that literature is certainly not a dying art for without it, we wouldn’t have such a spectacular group of Oscar-deserving films.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys, Nerds and Bookworms, without further ado, here are the Oscar winning films that originated from within the wonderful world of books:

The Iron Lady

  • Best Actress – Meryl Streep
  • Best Makeup – Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

The Iron Lady Film The Iron Lady book

The Help

  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Octavia Spencer

The Help film  The Help book


  • Best Cinematography – Robert Richardson
  • Best Art Direction – Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo
  • Best Sound Editing – Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
  • Best Sound Mixing – Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
  • Best Visual Effects – Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning

Hugo Film Hugo Book

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

  • Best Film Editing – Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book

The Descendants

  • Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) – Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash

The Descendants Film The Descendants Book

I adore films but I have to say, I got a nerdy thrill out of knowing that the 2012 Oscars were so thoroughly infiltrated by books!

Books in the Oscars

Well well well, hello 2012 Oscar nominations and my, aren’t you looking rather bookish this year. 

The Academy Awards: those elusive little buggers that every actor, director, producer and cinematographer covets. The Oscars celebrate the best of the best, revering talent, finesse and artistic innovation, boosting the careers of those lucky enough to win and serving the not-so-successful a serious dose of disappointment. When thinking of the Oscars, images of the red carpet, billion-dollar gowns, camera flashes, fierce competition, polite applause and long-winded speeches are usually conjured and, although there is certainly a lot more to this prestigious ceremony, form an accurate picture of what the Oscars mean to most of the non-showbiz population.  What we don’t usually consider however, is, not what the Oscars say about actors, dressmakers and viewers, but what they say about books.

Of the nine Best Picture nominees this year, six are based on novels. SIX…that is two thirds of this year’s Best Picture nominees whose roots lie within the literary world. Quite obviously, those in bold font are those based on books:

  • “The Artist” Thomas Langmann, Producer
  • “The Descendants” Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
  • “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” Scott Rudin, Producer
  • “The Help” Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
  • “Hugo” Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
  • “Midnight in Paris” Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
  • “Moneyball” Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
  • “The Tree of Life” Nominees to be determined
  • “War Horse” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

A small triumph for bibliophiles as we infiltrate the film industry? Or a loss as our favourite stories are torn unceremoniously from their dust jackets and bastardized into loosely adapted film versions? I guess it depends on each individual case. Let me know what you think of this little Oscar phenomenon.