Love the Oscars winners? Here’s what you should read
The 95th Oscar Awards 2023 have made history, with Everything, Everywhere, All at Once receiving seven awards and SS Rajamouli's RRR bagging the "Best Original Song" award. For fans of the Oscar-winners who love reading as much as—if not more than—they enjoy watching movies, the following books can reveal how this year's Oscar winners were adapted from their original texts.
The best adapted screenplay at the Oscars this year is based on Canadian writer Miriam Toews's novel of the same name—a story responding to real events that took place in a secluded Mennonite community in Bolivia. Over 100 girls and women in the Manitoba Colony had been raped in their sleep between the years 2005 and 2009. The community's elders refused to take the allegations seriously, until they discovered that a group of men in the colony had been using animal anaesthetics to make these women unconscious. Women Talking depicts eight Mennonite women who meet secretly at night to plan their course of defence against these crimes. While the men have gone away for the night to try to bail out the rapists, these women must decide if they will leave the only home they have ever known. Toews's text reveals the events through the recorded "minutes" of the all-women symposium.
Samuel D. Hunter
Playwrights Horizons, 2012
Winner of the Oscars award for lead actor (Brendan Fraser) and makeup and hair, the movie was adapted from Samuel D Hunter's play of the same name. Hunter's text explores the story of Charlie, "a 600 pound recluse" who cannot stop eating, and hides himself in his apartment. His efforts to reconnect with an estranged teenage daughter bring about even more pain and confrontation.
Charlie teaches writing online, and one of the texts that surfaces in his class discussions is Moby Dick, Herman Melville's novel centred around the animal that gives the play its name. "I picked Moby Dick because I like the book and the essential conflict in the novel related to the central conflict in the play—going after this thing that you can never get", Hunter has said in an interview with the Denver Centre blog, where the play was staged. The playwright mentions that the text was initially an exploration of the character's reflections on teaching; his struggles with his weight were added to further disengage him from the audience.
THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE
The winner for the best animated short adapts Mackesy's tender, wholesome graphic novel about "four unlikely friends" who share conversations on life, friendship, and universal truths. The adventures they have together, accompanied in the book by drawings, are compiled from Mackesy's Instagram cartoons, which have been shared millions of times on social media.
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
Erich Maria Remarque, 1929
The winner of the awards for international film, cinematography, production design, and original score is a movie based on Remarque's iconic anti-war novel. World War I is unfolding, and Paul Baumer, the book's 20-year-old narrator and protagonist, relays his disillusioned accounts of serving in the German army. Paul and his fellow soldiers battle injuries, deaths and starvation, falling asleep to noises of shells exploding and suffering through poison gas attacks.
"This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it", Remarque writes. "It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war."
THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO
Carlo Collodi, 1883
Winner of the animated feature award, Collodi's iconic story of the boy who lied through his nose was originally published in Italian , in a serial form titled "The Story of a Puppet" (1881). Disney's adaptation aside, the book has been translated into 260 languages worldwide, according to UNESCO.
The book is now available in editions published by Simon & Schuster, Puffin Classics, NYRB Classics, and more, each with its own artwork and translation.
Shababa Iqbal wrote for The Daily Star, "The Adventures of Pinocchio is a tale about the inward conflicts associated with change and growth. Like many classic fables that have weathered the passage of time, it carries the symbolic blueprint for social and emotional conflict and the potential for resolution: Pinocchio has many unpleasant adventures as he progresses from his wooden and dependent state to true independence as a real boy"l
BLACK PANTHER: A NATION UNDER OUR FEET
It was in a 1966 issue of The Fantastic Four that a Black superhero first appeared in mainstream American comics. The story of Black Panther offered the promise of escape for Coates, who grew up in a drab West Baltimore. In 2016 Coates, the Mac Arthur Genius and National Book Award winning journalist and author of books like The Water Dancer and Between The World and Me, brought his own vision to the Black Panther series. He tried to explore how Wakanda had reached the heights of technological innovation, and what the people of Wakanda truly made of their origins and their progress.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever won the Oscars award for costume design.
OSCAR WARS: A HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD IN GOLD, SWEAT AND TEARS
Michael Schulman, a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2006, debuted with his book Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, which surveyed the actress's rise to stardom in the 1970s. His latest book recounts the history of the Academy Awards as it unfolded in specific eras, marked by "personal dramas" and larger cultural changes.
The book begins with the momentous history of how the awards were conceived in 1927. The post-war Jazz Age culture of debauchery, glamour and extravagance was being met sourly by Prohibitionists and Christian-minded reformers, Schulman explains, and it was the movies they blamed for this fall in people's morality. Louis B. Mayer, whose merger with MGM turned him into the biggest film producer in Hollywood at the time, "knew that the threat of government intervention was a threat to him", Schulman writes. "Hollywood had to strike back. At his beach house that night, Mayer rebranded the embattled picture industry in a single stroke. It was no longer a cesspool. It was an Academy."
THE ACADEMY AND THE AWARD: THE COMING OF AGE OF OSCAR AND THE ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES
Brandeis University Press, 2022
Serving as the executive director of the Academy for over 20 years gave Bruce Davis access to the Academy's archives. The results of his research offer an intimate and revealing account of the history of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Better suited for film historians or those with a keen interest in the technicalities of the subject, Davis's book unpacks the internal structure of the Academy, and explores the figures who shaped the history of the Oscars for its three decades.