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Read It First! Oscar Nominated Adaptations in Theaters This Month

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

The Academy Awards are right around the corner and, once again, films adapted from books have snagged multiple nominations! From larger than life musicals to quiet period dramas, 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 27, 2022.

Here are the Nominees!

Cyrano de Bergerac
Rostand, Edmond

Eloquent, swash-buckling Cyrano represses his love for the beautiful Roxane, fearing his distinct and prominent nose means no woman could ever love him. When the young, attractive but inarticulate Christian wishes to woo Roxane, Cyrano puts her happiness above his own and agrees to help. Edmond Rostand’s classic love story, Cyrano de Bergerac, has been adapted to film over a dozen times. The new musical adaptation replaces Cyrano’s insecurity about his nose with an insecurity about his height. It stars Peter Dinklage and is based off of the musical written by his wife, Erica Schmidt.

Nominated for: Best Costume Design

Men Without Women: Stories
Murakami, Haruki

After his wife’s death from cancer, a man struggles to come to terms with her loss and the affairs she had while alive. Based on the short story “Drive My Car,” collected within Murakami’s work Men Without Women, the film Drive My Car won three awards in the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best International Feature

Herbert, Frank

Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel follows the Atreides family and their relocation to the dangerous but politically vital planet of Dune. For Dune is the only known source of the Spice, the chemical that allows pilots to fold space and guide ships across the vast reaches of the universe. As his parents navigate the traitorous nobility, young Paul must learn to adapt to this dangerous new environment. The much anticipated second film adaptation of Dune features a star-studded cast including Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya and Javier Bardem.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hair Styling, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects

The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed
Forden, Sara Gay

In 1995, Maurizio Gucci, heir to the Gucci fashion dynasty, was gunned down on the front steps of his office. Two years later his ex-wife Patrizia was arrested for his murder. But did she do it? Sara Gay Forden delves into the dramatic history of the Gucci family, their business and the murder that scandalized a country in her nonfiction account The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder Madness, Glamour and Greed.

Nominated for: Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The Lost Daughter
Ferrante, Elena

Alone for the first time in years, divorced mother Leda takes a vacation by the sea. There, she encounters a young mother and her family. Fascinated and repelled, Leda finds herself confronted by memories of herself as a young mother and the consequences of the choices she made. Elena Ferrante’s powerful novel The Lost Daughter looks at motherhood, identity and the devastating power of love. Starring Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson and Peter Sarsgaard, the film adaptation will be actor Maggie Gyllenhal’s directorial debut.

Nominated for: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay

Shakespeare, William

The play that dare not speak its name. After hearing a prophecy that he will become the King of Scotland, general Macbeth and his wife are consumed with the need to do whatever it takes to fulfill that destiny. William Shakespeare’s Macbeth has inspired countless literary and cinematic adaptations over the years. Famed director Joel Coen directs Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in the newest film adaptation, The Tragedy of Macbeth.

Nominated for: Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design

Nightmare Alley
Gresham, William Lindsay

William Lyndsay Gresham’s dark novel Nightmare Alley follows the rise and fall of a 1940s sideshow magician. Stan Carlisle joins the carnival as a magician but soon picks up new skills that allow him to expand both his act and his ability to con circus goers. But Stan isn’t the only one using his skills for ill. As he gets deeper into the world of fraudulent Spiritualism, Stan finds that sometimes not only the mark gets conned. Guillermo del Toro directs the newest star-studded adaptation of Gresham’s bleak debut novel.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Costume Design, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design

The Power of the Dog
Savage, Thomas

Thomas Savage’s The Power of the Dog tells the story of the Burbank brothers, owners of a large ranch in 1920’s Montana. Brilliant, eloquent, and vicious Phil has ruled over quiet and gentle George since they were boys. When George unexpectedly brings home his new wife, Rose, and her son, their already tense relationship shatters. Enraged, Phil does everything he can to break Rose and his brother’s newfound happiness. This critically lauded adaptation stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Sound, Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design

Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare, William

Steven Spielberg’s vibrant adaptation of the beloved musical West Side Story is an adaptation of an adaptation. Based on Shakespeare’s classic romance, Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story is the tale of two rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks in 1957 New York City. At a local dance, the sister of the head of the Sharks and a former member of the Jets lock eyes across the dance room. Their ill-fated love story plays out over a tale of immigration, racism, and class struggles that, though addressing problems of the 1950s, still speaks to audiences to this day.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design