So, the news is out. For a complete list of the 2009 Oscar nominees, click here to go to the official Oscars website. For those who didn’t bother getting up at 5:30 am PT to watch the announcement live, here’s the video clip.
The clear front runner is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, grabbing 13 nominations, just one short of the record shared by All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997).
Slumdog Millionaire is not far behind, a fantastic rags to riches exemplar in itself, garnering 10 nominations.
When I look at the Best Picture categories, I notice that four of the five nominees are produced from an adapted screenplay. Here are the origin of these now famous movies, the source materials that first spark and channel the creative energy of screenwriters, causing them to propel a much lesser known work into the orbit of box office profits:
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Loosely based on a short story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The imdb site does not even mention this source material. But for those of you who want to acknowledge the original writer’s work, click here to read the short story online.
- Frost/Nixon: Based on a play by Peter Morgan. To read the NY Times review of this theatre production, click here.
- The Reader: Based on the novel by the German writer Bernhard Schlink. To read the discussion of book into film at guardian.co.uk, click here.
- Slumdog Millionaire: Based on the novel Q & A by the Indian novelist Vikas Swarup. To read his interview on guardian.co.uk, click here.
So I say, kudos to all the original writers out there, without getting as much notice, not in this part of the world anyway, until their work is chosen to be made over into a movie, or picked by Oprah (The Reader). It says a lot about our consumer and celebrity driven culture, that a piece of writing gains recognition only when it is released in a movie tie-in edition, or favored by a TV icon.
Well, the message of Wall-E is relevant here. I’m glad to see it getting 6 Oscar nods including Best Original Screenplay. The last time an animated feature received 6 nominations was Beauty and the Beast (1991), itself a case in point with the hype of commercialism boosting the literary form.
And then on another note, I read about the first edition of Emma that Jane Austen signed and gave to her friend Anne Sharp (thought to be the inspiration for the character of Mrs. Weston in Emma) was on sale at the Antiquarian Book Fair in Hong Kong last week, asking price HK$3.95 million (approx. US $500,000). I wonder also how much all those movies profited from adapting her novels. I lament Jane who died impoverished.
Photo Source: guardian.co.uk