Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Novels Adapted to Screen & Oscar's Biggest Prize (2001-2010)

The ebb and flow of the present of adapted novels becoming best picture contenders is something I've enjoyed tracking. There was a time in 2007 when I wrote off the idea of best pictures coming from adapted feature length work, and as soon as did, the awards of that following year proved I should consider otherwise.

So in the spirit of previous discussions, here's a list of the role the fiction novel has played in the best picture race.

Past 10 Years Stats:

2010 films - best picture nominees: 2 of 10 adapted from a novel (Charles Portis' True Grit; Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone)

2009 films best picture nominees: 2 of 10 adapted from a novel (Saphire's Push [source material for Precious]; Walter Kirn's Up in the Air)

• 2008 films best picture nominees: 2 of 5 adapted from a novel (Vikas Swarup's Q & A [source material for Slumdog Millionaire]*; Bernard Schlink's The Reader)

• 2007 film best picture nominees: 3 of 5 adapated from a novel (Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men*; Ian McEwan's Atonement; Upton Sinclaire's Oil! [source material for There Will Be Blood])

• 2006 films best picture nominees: 0 of 5 adapted from a novel

• 2005 films best picture nominees: 0 of 5 adapted from a novel

• 2004 films best picture nominees: 1 of 5 adapted from a novel
(Rex Pickett's Sideways)

• 2003 films best picture nominees: 3 of 5 adapted from novels (J.R.R. Tolkein's The Return of the King*, Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander, Dennis Lehane's Mystic River)

• 2002 films best picture nominees: 2 of 5 adapted from novels (J.R.R. Tolkein's The Two Towers, Michael Cunningham's The Hours)

• 2001 films best picture nominees: 2 of 5 adapted from novels (Andre Dubus' In the Bedroom, J.R.R. Tolkein's The Fellowship of the Ring)

In the past ten years, 17 of 60 best picture nominations adapted from novels - 28.3%

In the past ten years 3 of 10 best picture winners adapted from novels - 30%

That in mind, I don't hold my breathe when a highly praised novel gets the green light for adaptation - but I eagerly watch those adapted works curiously to see if the directors and screenwriters can convert magic from the page and make those stories into big screen magic.

2 comments:

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Two questions:

Is the Andre Dubus novel In the Bedroom an extension of his short story "Killings"? I haven't seen the movie, but I'd heard the story was the basis for it.

Does this list only include the longer works? I know Million Dollar Baby was based on several short stories in Rope Burns, and Brokeback Mountain on a novella.

Fact: I use the year's film releases and possible Oscar contenders as my reading list for the year. I've a one-track mind.

RC said...

@ Walter - You know what, I think you're right...Killings is the source material for the In The Bedroom which is a short story - In the Bedroom is the name of the short story compilation.

And since this list only includes long-form fiction (Novels), that should not have been included...hence the exclusion of Million Dollar Baby & Brokeback.

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