3 Book-to-Movie Oscar Nominees: To Watch or To Read?

by Lesley-Anne Longo

Published at 2016-03-02


Oscar season might be over, but the many great movies that were nominated are still just as fantastic today as they were before the Oscars happened. If you're one of those people who are serious about Oscar season, you might still be participating in the annual Oscar challenge: watch every single nominee. In case you're still trying to remember just how many movies that is, the total is 57 films in 24 categories. That's a lot of movies.


I can't remember a past Oscar season that didn't have at least one bookish movie nominated. At last year's Oscars, there were six book-to-movies nominated for the three big awards (best picture, actress, and actor), the most buzzed-about being Cheryl Strayed's Wild and Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl.


This year, 18 of the aforementioned 57 movies have literary origins—I won't be working my way through all 18 (and definitely not all 57), but these are the three bookish films that I'm most excited to see.



Film: Bridge of Spies


Based on: Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel and Francis Gary Powers by James Donovan


Starring Tom Hanks as Tom Donovan, the film is partly based on the events depicted in Donovan’s memoir. After being shot down during the Cold War, U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers is captured by the Soviet Union. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Powers’ only hope is New York lawyer James Donovan, recruited by a CIA operative to negotiate his release. Donovan heads to Berlin, hoping to win the young man's freedom through a prisoner exchange, trading the American pilot for convicted Russian spy Rudolf Abel.


Did it win? Yes, Mark Rylance (playing the role of Rudolf Abel) won Best Supporting Actor for his role.



Film: The Big Short


Based on: The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis


Lewis already has a couple of huge hits under his belt (Moneyball and The Blind Side), and this one looks to be just as successful. The events of the 2008 financial crisis are already pretty well known, but Lewis follows a group of characters you might not know as much about—the few people who were able to successfully bet against the housing “bubble,” making fortunes while the market crashed. Covering the details of what happened and making it entertaining couldn’t have been easy, but I’ve heard good things about the book and the film.


Did it win? Yes, this film won Best Adapted Screenplay.



Film: What Happened, Miss Simone?


Nominated for Best Documentary Feature, the film came first in this case, and the book (with the same title) was pretty much adapted from the film after the fact. I love a good documentary, and this one takes an in-depth look at Nina Simone: classically trained pianist, chart-topping singer, and influential civil rights activist.



Enjoy the Show!

I’m sure others will have different films on their top three “must see” lists (The Martian, Carol, Trumbo…), but that’s the best thing about Oscar-nominated films—no matter which you choose, you’re usually guaranteed a great experience and a wonderful story.


Which Oscar films are you most excited to see? Tell us on Twitter: @EditingCo