Books,  Movies

The Books of Oscars 2018

Roll out the red carpet, put on your best outfit and pop the champagne because it’s Oscars Weekend!

I’m pretty excited about this year’s nominees because of the diverse film genres and titles that you wouldn’t normally see making it to such ceremonies. Of course, my focus is always on book-to-film adaptations and I’m not disappointed at the ones that became blockbuster hits, and have been in the spotlight at film festivals and award shows this year.

“Call Me By Your Name” by André Aciman is nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role by Timothé Chalamet, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Song for “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens.

It tells the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time. (Source: Chapters Indigo)

In the Best Animated Feature category, the Academy fell in love with three children’s books about a baby in charge, a brave eleven year-old Afghan girl during the rule of the Taliban, and a bull not like the others.

“The Boss Baby” by Marla Frazee

“The Breadwinner” by Deborah Ellis

“The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf (Ferdinand)

Christopher Plummer is nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in the movie adaptation of “Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty” by John Pearson.

American oil tycoon J. Paul Getty created the greatest fortune in America-and came close to destroying his own family in the process. Of his four sons who reached manhood, only one survived relatively unscathed. One killed himself, one became a drug-addicted recluse, and the third had to bear the stigma all his life of being disinherited in childhood. The unhappiness continued into the next generation, with the name Getty, as one journalist put it, “becoming synonymous for family dysfunction.” Getty’s once favourite grandson was kidnapped by the Italian mafia, lost his car and, after a lifetime of drink and drugs, became a paraplegic. A granddaughter is currently suffering from AIDS. And the Getty family itself has been torn apart by litigation over their poisoned inheritance. But did the disaster have to happen? (Source: Chapters Indigo)

Netflix has been behind numerous excellent productions such as “Beasts of No Nation” and “1922”“Mudbound”, a period drama film based on Hillary Jordan’s novel, is no different. It received four nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress in a Supporting Role by Mary J. Blige, Best Original Song for “Mighty River” by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson, and for Best Cinematography.

It is the saga of the McAllan family, who struggle to survive on a remote, ramshackle farm, and the Jacksons, their black sharecroppers. When two sons return from World War II to work the land, the unlikely friendship between these brothers-in-arms—one white, one black—arouses the passions of their neighbours. As the women and men of each family tell their version of events, we are drawn into their lives. Striving for love and honour in a brutal time and place, they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale and find redemption where they least expect it. (Source: Chapters Indigo)

The adaptation of Shrabani Basu’s novel “Victoria & Abdul” is nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

In the twilight years of her reign, after the devastating deaths of her two great loves—Prince Albert and John Brown—Queen Victoria meets tall and handsome Abdul Karim, a humble servant from Agra waiting tables at her Golden Jubilee. The two form an unlikely bond and within a year Abdul becomes a powerful figure at court, the Queen’s teacher, her counsel on Urdu and Indian affairs, and a friend close to her heart. This marked the beginning of the most scandalous decade in Queen Victoria’s long reign. As the royal household roiled with resentment, Victoria and Abdul’s devotion grew in defiance. Drawn from secrets closely guarded for more than a century, Victoria & Abdul is an extraordinary and intimate history of the last years of the nineteenth-century English court and an unforgettable view onto the passions of an aging Queen. (Source: Chapters Indigo)

The film “Wonder” based on R.J. Palacio’s novel is also nominated in the category of Best Makeup and Hairstyling. When I saw the trailer, I immediately knew it would do the book justice and pull at the audience’s heartstrings.

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. (Source: Chapters Indigo)

Blade Runner 2049 was very much anticipated this year following the success of the first instalment in 1982. Though this neo-noir sci-fi film is loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, it earned itself five nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects. (I can attest to that)

By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacra: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They’ve even built humans. Immigrants to Mars receive androids so sophisticated they are indistinguishable from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans can wreak, the government bans them from Earth. Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and “retire” them. But when cornered, androids fight back—with lethal force. (Source: Chapters Indigo)

The adapted autobiography by Molly Bloom “Molly’s Game” (Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker)  is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. It is the true story of “Hollywood’s poker princess” who gambled everything, won big, then lost it all. When she was a little girl in a small Colorado town, she dreamed of a life without rules and limits, a life where she didn’t have to measure up to anyone or anything—where she could become whatever she wanted. She ultimately got more than she could have ever bargained for. (Source: Chapters Indigo)

Also nominated in the same category is “The Disaster Artist”. The book written by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell is considered to be one of the most important pieces of literature by the Huffington Post.

In 2003, an independent film called The Room—starring and written, produced, and directed by a mysteriously wealthy social misfit named Tommy Wiseau—made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Described by one reviewer as “like getting stabbed in the head,” the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Ten years later, it’s an international cult phenomenon, whose legions of fans attend screenings featuring costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons. (Source: Chapters Indigo)

“Beauty and the Beast” based on Disney’s 1991 Animated Feature and inspired by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s story of the same name, is nominated for Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.

Both “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “War of the Planet of the Apes” received a nomination for Best Visual Effects, while “Logan” is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. A big part of me is thrilled that these three movies are celebrated because no one would ever think that superhero movies would meet the usual standards of the Oscars or how CGI has become an essential part in the making of certain films.

There you have it! All of the nominated films that once were only in print.

Which film(s) will you be cheering for Sunday night?

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