Oscars By the Book

Spotlight  Martian tie-in  The Revenant

Ironically, for a year in which most of the Oscar categories were dominated by literary adaptations, the Best Picture winner, Spotlight was one of the few not based on a novel. The film does, however, have a book connection. Based on the story of the Boston Globe‘s Pulitzer Prize winning investigation into charges of sexual abuse in the Catholic church, the articles were published in book form in 2003 and re-released as a tie-in, Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church: The findings of the investigation that inspired the major motion picture Spotlight, The Investigative Staff of the Boston Globe, (Hachette/Back Bay).

If the Oscars had a category for Book That Benefited Most from Film Adaptation, the winner this year would be Michael Punke’s The Revenant (Macmillian/Picador), which propelled the 2002 novel from obscurity to best seller lists. It also won in three official Oscar categories, Best Actor, Director and Cinematography.

The author, while able to attend the Oscars, is prohibited by his day job from appearing on the red carpet, the New York Times reports in a profile. As the United States ambassador to the World Trade Organization, he is not allowed to do any publicity for the movie, or even his own book.

Also benefiting from its film incarnation is Andy Weir’s The Martian (PRH/Broadway), which made its own unlikely journey from a series Weir offered for free on his web site to a best selling book, with the film adaptation bringing it to even wider readership. Despite its being nominated in six categories, the Academy passed over the movie, denying it a single win.

Both movies got special attention from Oscars host Chris Rock in the show’s opening parody.

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