The EarlyWord Oscars

The Academy Awards, (aka, the “Newbery/Caldecotts of the film business” ), will be announced on Sunday.

With so many book adaptations in the running, rather than join the predictions game, we’ve decided to create our own EarlyWord Awards.

Movie That Created A Classic  12 Years a Slave 

12 Years a SlaveDirector Steve McQueen exaggerates when he claims  the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup that his movie is based on was “lost for 150 years.” McQueen, who is nominated for Best Director, owes a debt to a 12-year-old girl, Sue Eakin, who came across an old copy of it in the 1930’s and made it her life’s work to bring it back into print. Since it was republished in 1968 through LSU Press, it has been released in several editions and has continued in print due to college adoptions. The movie has brought unprecedented awareness, however, and the book is now also being picked up by high schools.

Movie That Made a Bestseller of A Classic The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby, 1925  The Great Gatsby

This could also be called the movie that made publishers rethink tie-ins, since the sales of copies with the original cover outstripped those that feature the movie art.

Not only did director Baz Luhrman’s movie, which is nominated only for Best Costume and Best Production Design, put F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel onto best seller lists (which, to Fitzgerald’s vast disappointment, didn’t happen in his own day), it even inspired Stephen Colbert to go all Oprah and begin his own book club, which included a discussion led by Jennifer Egan.

That magic did not happen for other classics made into movies this year. William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying (movie by James Franco) and Henry James’s What Maisie Knew (movie starring Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård and Steve Coogan) did not lead to best seller status for those books.

Movie That Brought A Book To The U.S. For The First Time — Philomena

51oSRzF+TBL   Philomena

Directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen), this movie is up for an Oscar for Best Picture. It is also nominated for Best Actress for star Judi Dench who plays Philomena Lee, an Irish woman forced as a teenager to give her child up for adoption. Originally published in the U.K. in 2010 as The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, it was published for the first time in the U.S. this year as a trade paperback tie-in, titled Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search  (Penguin), with a foreword by Dench.

And, a special award for:

Most Bookish Actress Jennifer Lawrence

From Winter’s Bone, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell, for which she was nominated in 2011 as Best Actress, to the as-yet-unreleased Serena, based on the novel by Ron Rash, Lawrence has appeared in many book adaptations.

This year, she is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for American Hustle, based on the nonfiction title, The Sting Man: Inside Abscam by Robert W. Greene. The movie is sure to win at least one award, since it is nominated in every major category (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, as well as Best Supporting Actress).

On to the real Oscars and may the best books win.

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