January and February may technically be a part of winter, but to me and many others they comprise a totally different season: awards season! The Golden Globes and the Academy Awards are two of the most exciting nights in Hollywood, and there’s nothing I like more than joining in on that excitement from the comfort of my own living room. In order to do that, I like to try and watch as many nominated movies as I possibly can. This includes a little bit of guess work before the nominations actually come out, but when you’re as involved as I am, you can smell an Oscar-bait film from a mile away. So far this year, my money is on The Revenant for Best Picture (though my favourite was The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio for best picture (it could finally be his year!), and Cate Blanchett for Carol.
One thing that I found especially interesting about this years nominees – so many of them came from books! Adaptations comprise seven of the eight Best Picture Nominations, and many others are nominated in categories for acting, music, screenwriting, and more. Check out the list below for a sample of awards season appropriate reading material!
The Martian by Andy Weir
Nominated for Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, and Adapted Screenplay.
“Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive – and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue would arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills – and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit – he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?” publisher
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (Movie has been renamed to “Carol”)
Nominated for Actress in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Cinematography, Costume Design, Original Score, and Adapted Screenplay.
“A chance encounter between two lonely women leads to a passionate romance in this lesbian cult classic. Therese, a struggling young sales clerk, and Carol, a homemaker in the midst of a bitter divorce, abandon their oppressive daily routines for the freedom of the open road, where their love can blossom. But their newly discovered bliss is shattered when Carol is forced to choose between her child and her lover.” publisher
The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
Nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Costume Design, and Production Design.
“Loosely inspired by a true story, and a New York Times Notable Book, this tender portrait of marriage and identity asks: What do you do when the person you love has to change? It starts with a question, a simple favor asked by a wife of her husband while both are painting in their studio, setting off a transformation neither can anticipate. Uniting fact and fiction into an original romantic vision, The Danish Girl eloquently portrays the unique intimacy that defines every marriage and the heroic story of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history, and the woman torn between loyalty to her marriage and her own ambitions and desires. The Danish Girl’s lush prose and generous emotional insight make it, after the last page is turned, a deeply moving first novel about one of the most passionate and unusual love stories of the 20th century.” publisher
The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke
Nominated for Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects.
“The year is 1823, and the trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Hugh Glass is among the Company’s finest men, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker. But when a scouting mission puts him face-to-face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive. Two Company men are dispatched to stay behind and tend to Glass before he dies. When the men abandon him instead, Glass is driven to survive by one desire: revenge. With shocking grit and determination, Glass sets out crawling inch by inch across more than three thousand miles of uncharted American frontier. The Revenant is a remarkable tale of obsession, the human will stretched to its limits, and the lengths that one man will go to for retribution.” publisher
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Nominated for Actor in a Leading Role, and Actress in a Supporting Role.
“Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.” publisher
Room by Emma Donoghue
Nominated for Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role, Directing, and Adapted Screenplay.
“To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world… It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.” publisher
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
Nominated for Best Picture, Actress in a Supporting Role, Directing, Film Editing, and Adapted Screenplay.
“When the crash of the U. S. stock market became public knowledge in the fall of 2008, it was already old news. The real crash, the silent crash, had taken place over the previous year, in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn’t shine, and the SEC doesn’t dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can’t pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren’t talking.” publisher
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Nominated for Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role, and Adapted Screenplay.
“’One of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary literature’ (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America, she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.” publisher