A Look at 10 Oscar Nominated Films and the Books That Inspired Them

Oscar Collage_NicoleBy Nicole Martineau, associate publicist

The 86th Annual Academy Awards are almost here, and what better way to celebrate this year’s nominees than by taking a closer look at the literary works that inspired them?

Here are ten of this year’s Oscar-nominated films that book lovers across the world will be rooting for on March 2.

1. 12 Years a Slave

Nominated for Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Picture, Costume Design, Directing, Film Editing, Production Design and Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

12 Years a Slave is based on the memoir of the same name by Solomon Northup, a legally free African American from New York who was abducted by slave-traders and sold to a plantation owner in 1841.

With the help of David Wilson, a New York lawyer and writer, Northrup was able to get his story published in 1853, the same year he regained his freedom.  Although considered a bestseller at the time of its release, the memoir did not captivate 20th century readers until historians Sue Eakin and Joseph Logsdon published their annotated LSU Press edition in 1968.

To this date, Twleve Years a Slave remains one of the most detailed and authentic slave narratives in American history.


2. The Wolf of Wall Street

Nominated for Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Picture, Directing and Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

The Wolf of Wall Street, a film that has stirred up controversy due to its graphic content and glorification of greed and corruption, is based on the 2007 memoir of the same name by stockbroker/playboy turned motivational speaker Jordan Belfort (who also wrote the sequel Catching the Wolf of Wall Street).


3. Philomena

Nominated for Actress in a Leading Role, Best Picture, Music (Original Score) and Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Philomena is based on the 2009 book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith, a British journalist who helped the real-life Philomena Lee search for the son she was forced to give up to Irish nuns decades earlier.

Written mostly in the form of a novel, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee is based on the true story of Lee’s quest to find her lost son and the Catholic Church’s involvement in forced adoptions.


4. Captain Phillips

Nominated for Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Picture, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Captain Phillips is based on the 2010 non-fiction book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty. The book details the true story of Phillips’ capture by Somali pirates and his eventual rescue by U.S. Navy SEALs in 2009.


5. The Invisible Woman

Nominated for Costume Design

The Invisible Woman is based on Claire Tomalin’s The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens. Tomalin used diaries, letters, address books and photographs to reconstruct the romantic relationship between actress Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens in this 1991 biography.


6. Room on the Broom

Nominated for Short Film (Animated)

The British animated short film Room on the Broom is based on the children’s book of the same name, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The book, published in 2001, tells the story of a generous witch who invites an assortment of animals to join her on her broom.


7. Ernest and Celestine

Nominated for Animated Feature Film

The French-Belgian animated film Ernest and Celestine is based on a series of children’s books of the same name, written and illustrated by Gabrielle Vincent. The series follows the adventures of Ernest, a bear, and Celestine, a mouse.


8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Nominated for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the second installment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.  Originally published in 1937, this classic children’s novel (and prelude to the Lord of the Rings series) follows the title character Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the Dwarves on their quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain.


9. Lone Survivor

Nominated for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing

Lone Survivor is based on the 2007 non-fiction book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson. The book details the true story of four U.S. Navy SEALs on an ill-fated mission to capture a Taliban leader (Operation Redwing).

Luttrell, team leader and the sole survivor of the operation, wrote the book with the assistance of Robinson, a British newspaper columnist and author of several best-selling thrillers.


10. The Great Gatsby

Nominated for Costume Design and Production Design

Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby (nominated for its elaborate costumes and production design) is the latest big screen adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel of the same name. Gatsby is considered Fitzgerald’s most famous novel and is consistently ranked among the greatest works of American literature.


Related: Meet Our MEDIA CONNECT Team: Nicole Martineau

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