Read it First!: The 95th Academy Awards

Elizabeth Graney, Librarian, Literature & Fiction Department,
Collage of films adapted from books

The Academy Awards are right around the corner and, once again, films adapted from books have snagged multiple nominations! From stunning stop-motion animation to realistic war films, these adaptations caught the eye, and the hearts, of the critics this year. You still have time to read their literary inspirations before the big show on Sunday, March 12, 2023.

Oscar Nominated Books to Films

Book cover for All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front
Remarque, Erich Maria

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque is the story of an idealistic German man who enlists to fight in World War I only to find his ideals and patriotism shaken by the reality of war. Facing starvation, boredom, and treacherous conditions, young Paul is forever changed by his experiences. Remarque’s groundbreaking book portrays post-traumatic stress disorder before the term was even coined, painting an empathetic and vivid portrait of how warfare destroys all of those involved. The 2022 German film adaptation has received critical acclaim for its faithful portrayal of the source material.

  • Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best International Feature Film, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects, Best Adapted Screenplay

Book cover for The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Mackesy, Charlie

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. On a walk in the wilderness, a young boy meets a mole and then a fox and then a horse. The four companions share stories, give advice and offer companionship along their journey. Mackesy’s beautifully illustrated work offers comfort, joy, and wisdom to people of all ages.

  • Nominated for: Best Animated Short Film

Book cover for Blonde
Oates, Joyce Carol

Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates is a fictionalized biography of the one and only Marilyn Monroe. Nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Oates’ critically acclaimed novel is an in-depth take on the life of the famous actress. The 2022 film adaptation is the second adaptation of Oates’ work and was highly controversial due to casting and graphic content.

  • Nominated for: Best Actress in a Leading Role

Book cover for The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories
The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories
Tolstoy, Leo, Graf

The film Living, written by acclaimed novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, is an adaptation of the Japanese film Ikiru which itself was inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych.

The Death of Ivan Ilych is Tolstoy’s masterful novella that follows a judge as he faces his own imminent death. A meditation on mortality, morality, and what it means to truly live, Tolstoy’s classic is considered one of the best novellas of all time.

  • Nominated for: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Adapted Screenplay

Book cover for Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
Gallico, Paul

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico. When a cleaning lady in 1950s London stumbles across a Dior dress while on the job, she falls instantly in love. Determined to visit the birthplace of something so exquisite, she scrimps and saves until she has enough to visit the House of Dior. Along the way, she befriends a French marquis, aids a lovelorn accountant, and touches the lives (and hearts) of all those she meets.

  • Nominated for: Best Costume Design

Book cover for Notes to Boys: (And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public): A Mortifying Memoir
Notes to Boys: (And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public): A Mortifying Memoir
Ribon, Pamela

Notes to Boys is the hilarious and awkward memoir of author Pamela Ribon. Consisting of embarrassing teenage love letters, poorly written erotica, and even worse poetry, Ribon’s work will keep you laughing all the way through. The animated film adaptation, released under the title My Year of Dicks, has won multiple awards.

  • Nominated for: Best Animated Short Film

Book cover for Pinocchio
Collodi, Carlo

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi is a classic Italian fantasy novel that tells the story of the magically animated wooden puppet Pinocchio and his mischievous adventures. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is the latest adaptation of this famous work. A stop-motion animated musical, del Toro’s work is a loose interpretation of the classic set in Fascist Italy in the time leading up to World War II.

  • Nominated for - Best Animated Feature Film

Book cover for Foster
Keegan, Claire

Foster is a sparse novella by the Irish author Claire Keegan. When a young girl is sent to live with distant relatives on a farm in rural Ireland, she experiences a warm and loving home life for the first time. When it is time for her to return home, she finds herself torn between her parents and this new life she has come to love. The 2022 adaptation, titled The Quiet Girl, broke box office records for its opening weekend and has become the highest-grossing Irish language film of all time.

  • Nominated for: Best International Feature Film

Book cover for The Whale
The Whale
Hunter, Samuel D.

The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter. Charlie is a 600-pound recluse, a man who has given up on life and wants only to reconnect with his estranged daughter before he’s done. Though angry and bitter, teenage Ellie agrees to visit the man she hasn’t seen since he left when she was two in exchange for his help. Their reunion is hard and difficult, but it may just be Charlie’s only shot at redemption. Hunter’s emotional play is a story of guilt, love, and the destructive nature of grief. When it premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, the film adaptation of this play received a six-minute standing ovation.

  • Nominated for: Best Lead Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Book cover for Women Talking
Women Talking
Toews, Miriam

In a remote Mennonite community, eight women gather in a hay loft to hold a secret meeting. Over the past two years, they and over one hundred others have been terrorized by middle of the night assaults. At first, believing demons were punishing them for their sins, the women have come to realize that the men in their town have repeatedly been drugging and raping them. Now, torn between the terror of the unknown and the horror of their current life, the women must decide what to do. Based on real-life events, Miriam Toews’ Women Talking is a powerful and thoughtful take on a dark subject.

  • Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay