Oscars 2020: from Book Adaptation to Academy Award Nomination!

By Peter SM Fri, February 7, 2020

While this Sunday, February 9, marks the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony, it was recently revealed by a Gallup Poll that in 2019—more people went to the library than the movies!

Is it any coincidence that the majority of this year's Oscar-nominated films are adaptations from books? Well, yes and no. Ever since the invention of film, books and previously written stories have been the inspiration and basis for many, many movies. This year's book-adaptation-to-Oscar-nomination tally amounts to 7 films with 37 nominations in 16 categories!

Here at the library, we of course always like to put the spotlight on those authors who created these influential stories and characters. So without further adieu, check out the following list of this year's nominated films that were adapted from books (including two that have now been adapted and remade for the silver screen 8 (Little Women) and 50 (Les Misérables) times, respectively...
 

The Irishman

Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, and Anna Paquin

Adapted from the book: I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Al Pacino and Joe Pesci), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Best Film Editing, Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects, and Best Adapted Screenplay

Film Runtime: 3 hours and 29 minutes

Book Length: 384 pages

 

Jojo Rabbit

Starring: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell, and Rebel Wilson

Adapted from the Book: Caging Skies by Christine Leunens

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Scarlett Johansson), Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design, and Best Adapted Screenplay

Film Runtime: 1 hour and 48 minutes

Book Length: 304 pages

 

Little Women

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, and Meryl Streep

Adapted from the book: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Saoirse Ronan), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Florence Pugh), Best Costume Design, Best Original Music Score, and Best Adapted Screenplay

Film Runtime: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Book Length: 260 pages

 

Joker

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Shea Whigham, and Bill Camp

Adapted from the book: Various DC Comics series

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Director (Todd Phillips), Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Music Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Adapted Screenplay

Film Runtime: 2 hours and 2 minutes

 

The Two Popes

Starring: Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce

Adapted from the Book: The Pope by Anthony McCarten

Nominated for: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Jonathan Pryce), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Anthony Hopkins), and Best Adapted Screenplay

Film Runtime: 2 hours and 5 minutes

Book Length: 256 pages

 

Avengers: Endgame

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Brie Larson, and Tom Holland

Adapted from the book: The Infinity Gauntlet Marvel Comics series

Nominated for: Best Visual Effects

Film Runtime: 3 hours and 1 minute

Book Length: 256 pages

 

Les Misérables

Starring: Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti, and Djebril Zonga

Adapted from the book: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Nominated for: Best International Feature Film

Film Runtime: 1 hour and 44 minutes

Book Length: 180 pages


And don't worry if you haven't seen any or all of the nominated films—you can always browse our catalog for Criterion Collection films, Best Picture-winning films from years past, thought-provoking documentaries, explore our Digital Media Portal for on-demand movie streaming, and after this year's Oscars, place holds on all the nominated and award-winning films that you want to watch!

What films do you think will win Oscars this year? Which books would you like to see adapted into future films? Let us know in the comments!

Which book-to-screen nominated films do you think will win Oscars this year?
Which book-to-screen nominated films do you think will win Oscars this year?

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