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Emphasis on the ‘possible’. At this point of the race, some films have not been released other than screened in Film Festivals. The frontrunner so far is 12 Years A Slave. And then there are the rest, some long shots, some longer. But I’d like to include them on this list because I want to draw your attention to the books which inspire these film adaptations.

How come Gravity isn’t here? You ask. It’s a frontrunner too. Yes. But, ah… find me the book first. No book? Maybe because it’s much easier to pass you the 3D glasses.

Here’s a list of fall/winter reading to gear up for the upcoming Awards Season.

12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup

12 Years a Slave copyThe movie adaptation directed by Steve McQueen is TIFF13 People’s Choice Award winner. From past years, this accolade is a good predictor of Oscar wins. Based on the real life story of Solomon Northup, a free black man in Upstate New York who was kidnapped into slavery in Louisiana. For twelve years he suffered in the hands of several masters. First published in 1853, the book is Northup’s first-person accounts of slavery in 19th C. America, noteworthy for its historical value and poignancy. The actor Chiwetel Ejiofor a likely Oscar Best Actor nom for his role as Solomon Northup. You can download the whole book in its original form here.

August: Osage County by Tracy Letts

August Osage CountyThe play won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Members of a dysfunctional family inevitably come together after tragedy strikes. The stage production was described by the NYT as ‘a fraught, densely plotted saga of an Oklahoma clan in a state of near-apocalyptic meltdown’. Before you see how the A-list cast interpret their roles on screen, maybe reading the play is rewarding since you get to experience the story first hand before being influenced by Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor…

The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel

The Monuments MenI’ve mentioned this title in a previous post. Now I’ve got the book in my hands. The true but untold story of how a group of rescuers called the Monuments Men in war-torn Europe saved  art and artifacts from the Nazi’s. In the introduction of the book, the author writes: “Hitler and the Nazis pulled off the ‘greatest theft in history’, seizing and transporting more than five million cultural objects to the Third Reich.” George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Hugh Bonneville (so Lord Grantham finally gets the chance to go into the battlefield).

A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Philips

A Captain's Duty..Another likely contender that has been getting a lot of buzz is this thriller starring Tom Hanks, based on Captain Richard Phillips’ real life ordeal in the hands of Somali pirates. A lawsuit will begin in a few weeks filed by the crew of the ship Maersk Alabama against the shipping company for sending them to pirate-infested waters unprepared. They also claim the Captain was at fault in the case. Their attorneys had set up a Webpage to clarify the truths from the fiction. A turbulent epilogue to the real life adventure on high seas.

The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith

The Lost Child of Philomena Lee copyJudi Dench could get a possible Best Actress Oscar nomination with her role as Philomena Lee. In her youth as an unwed mother, Philomena was sent to the convent of Roscrea, Limerick, her baby taken away and ‘sold’ to America for adoption. As she became an adult, Philomena was determined to search for her lost child. I missed this at TIFF13. Maybe an Oscar nomination for Dench could raise the prospect of it being screened in our theatres.

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‘Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage’ by Alice Munro

Hateship-Friendship-Courtship-Loveship-Marriage-book-cover copyWith Alice Munro garnering the newest top honor as Nobel Laureate, hopefully the film adaption of this short story with a shorter title Hateship, Loveship will receive a wider release. It has been a long while since Away From Her (2006). The film receives positive feedbacks at TIFF13. A good cast with Kristen Wiig (Best Actress and Best Original Screenwriting Oscar noms for Bridesmaids), Guy Pearce (The King’s Speech), Hailee Seinfeld (True Grit), Nick Nolte (too many to name).

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber (Click on link to read the story online.)

The Secret Life of Walter MittyInteresting to see another film adaptation of a short story. This one I have a feeling that it’s very loosely based on Thurber’s character Walter Mitty, considering it’s a Ben Stiller movie. I’m sure many have read this story in school, time to reread just to get the Walter Mitty psyche, then go and check out the Ben Stiller ride. Other than Stiller, there are Kristen Wiig (again, in two short story film adaptations the same year), Sean Penn (can you imagine?), Shirley MacLaine.

The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

The Wolf of Wall Street copyCoincidence that Leonardo DiCaprio jumps from being Jay Gatsby to Jordan Belfort, the real life fraud on Wall Street, notorious for his highflying lifestyle and his operating a boiler room brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont. A multimillionaire at 26, he was later indicted in 1998 for securities fraud and money laundering but only served 22 months in federal prison. The Wolf of Wall Street is his unabashedly candid memoir. Martin Scorsese directs with DiCaprio touted as a likely contender in the Best Actor Oscar category.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief copyNo Oscar buzz around this one, but a look at the movie trailer, I know I want to see it. Yes, mainly because of Geoffrey Rush I admit. And also, Brian Percival… ring a bell? Director of Downton Abbey. The film will be released in November, a time slot where contenders are placed. So, you can say it’s a long, long shot for, who knows, maybe Geoffrey Rush, or Emily Watson? I admit I still haven’t read this very popular YA title. I’d like to do that before watching the film. Is this one on your movie viewing radar?

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