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Monday, February 25, 2013

The amazing books behind this year's Oscar movies

If an original idea is the starting point for a great movie, then one day there may be an Academy Award for Best Book, given how many Oscar-nominated movies are based on books.

Authors often spend years developing an idea that turns into plot, characters and story and even if the book is a best-seller, authors rarely achieve the same acclaim or financial return as is attached to a successful movie. So to redress this imbalance, let's honour the amazing books behind some of this year's Oscar winners and nominees.

Argo, Oscar, CIA, book, Acadamy AwardBest picture Oscar winner, Argo, is directed by Ben Affleck and tells the true story of a CIA agent who rescues six American caught up in the Iranian revolution in November 1979. Argo is based on events chronicled in Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio. Mendez is the CIA central to the film and his re-telling of the events was published in October 2012. He was written two previous spy-books, The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA and Spy Dust. Click cover to buy Argo

 book, Acadamy Award, Oscar, Life of PiYann Martel had trouble finding a publisher for his book but Knopf Canada eventually published Life of Pi in 2001 and the following year it won the Man Booker Prize. Now director Ang Lee has won the directing Oscar for his movie version. Fittingly, the beautiful aromatic and visual book also won the best cinematography, best visual effects and best music (original score) Oscars. An unusual feature of the book and the film is its deeply spiritual theme which has audiences considering ultimate questions. And of course, there is famous double-meaning of the story, but enough said... Click cover to buy Life of Pi.
 
 book, Acadamy Award, Oscar, Steven Spielberg, Lincoln, Team of Rivals There were few stronger favourites for an Oscar than Daniel Day-Lewis who played Abraham Lincoln in the movie Lincoln directed by Steven Spielberg. In a memorable performance, Day-Lewis edged out Aussie favourite Hugh Jackman who performed in another book (and theatre) inspired film, Lés Miserables. Lincoln is based in part on the book Team of Rivals: the political genius of Abraham Lincoln by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, published in 2005. It focuses on Lincoln's mastery of people and how this shaped the most significant presidency in US history. Click cover to buy Team of Rivals

 book, Acadamy Award, Oscar, Les Miserables, Victor Hugo Lés Miserables by Victor Hugo is considered one of the nineteenth century's most important novels and is also a hugely popular theatre musical. It may be less known that there have been at least 10 other film adaptations dating back to the original silent version in 1909. This version, which helped Ann Hathaway win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, was filmed live -  the actors all sang and acted live for the camera instead of lip-syncing to a recording they produced in a studio. 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist. Of course Victor Hugo is a legendary writer, a leading French Romantic writer and author also of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He fell out with his son over Lés Miserables because of the pivotal and honourable role he gave to Bishop Myriel he shelters and protects the troubled Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman). Click cover to buy Lés Miserables.

Other books that inspired Oscar nominated or winning movies include:

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein which is depicted in Peter Jackson's latest visit to Middle Earth, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Anna Karenina by Russian author Leo Tolstoy which inspired the film of the same name starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law. It won the award for Best Costume Design.

Movie Silver Lining Playbook is based on the novel by Matthew Quick and it brought a Best Actress Oscar for Jennifer Lawrence, also known for performance in The Hunger Games.

We could go on - feel free to comment and add your own entries in the list of books that inspired this year's Academy Award movies (or another year).

And as you know, most often the book is better than in the movie so get your hands on a few of these titles for some reading pleasure!

All books featured on this page are available at discounted price through Booktopia. Click on the cover images for your opportunity to purchase.

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