Whether or not you watched the full Academy Awards show, there is no disputing the excitement for celebrating the films from the past year. And whether or not you agree with the results (we say cheers to you Greta–we loved Little Women! And Cynthia, your performance in Harriet as well as your performance of Stand Up was outstanding), seeing a room full of celebrities honoring their peers is still a treat.
What is an Adapted Screenplay?
While the evening was spent jokingly pointing fingers at some categories that are often overlooked like “Best Cinematographer,” or “Best Film Mixing,” there is one category that we, as book people, can’t tout enough– “Best Adapted Screenplay.” This award is given each year to the writer of a screenplay that was originally adapted from another source. For example, Greta Gerwig was nominated in this category for her adaptation of Little Women by author Louisa May Alcott. We love this category because usually it means the screenwriters are using books and plays as their inspiration for a film.
The (adapted from book) Nominees
The nominees for best adapted screenplay this year were
- JoJo Rabbit – based on the novel Caged Skies by Christine Leunens
- Little Women – based on the novel Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- The Irishman – based on the nonfiction book, I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt
The Oscar Goes To…
This year, the winner for best adapted screenplay went to Taika Waititi for Jojo Rabbit. Previous notable winners have been Gone with the Wind in 1939, based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell; Around the World in 80 Days in 1956, based on the novel by Jules Verne; To Kill a Mockingbird in 1962, based on the novel by Harper Lee; Sense and Sensibility in 1995 based on the novel by Jane Austen; and recently, in 2013, 12 Years a Slave, based on the harrowing memoir by Salomon Northup. For the full list of each year’s winner and nominees, check out this link.
Books lay the foundation for endless story telling. The Adapted Screenplay category celebrates the tradition of books in a way that forever honors them. While we were unabashedly pulling for Little Women in this year’s Oscar’s cycle, recognizing some of the previous nominees dating all the way back to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights in 1939, to E.M Forrester’s A Room With a View, sets the scene for the importance of books in our culture. It’s important to keep going to the cinema and to keep supporting directors, writers, and cinematographers of all backgrounds and perspectives. We agree that the Oscars have a long way to go until their presence is equitable and reflects the society that actually watches the movies nominated, but making noise about the films that have impact is a great way to start.