Books Magazine

2014 Awards Season – Disappointing for Book Adaptations

By Hippiebookworm @HippieBookworm

ellen-oscar-selfieJust this past Sunday the 86th Academy Awards aired. Antics from Ellen include ordering pizza for the actors in the front row and taking a group selfie while live. But not to be outdone, Pharrell Williams engaged the audience in a dance party while performing “Happy.” The cast and crew of Gravity had a lot to celebrate by night’s end, but others who worked on projects such as The Wolf of Wall Street were left scratching their heads.

While movie adaptations did not do as well as they did in 2013, there were still a few winners among the group. Below are the adaptation nominations. I’ve bolded the award nominations that were won. GG stands for Golden Globes and AA stands for Academy Awards.

12yrs12 Years a Slave

In the 1853 memoir 12 Years a Slave, Solomon Northup gives the account of being kidnapped in Washington DC and sold into slavery. For 12 years Northrup worked on a Louisiana plantation before retaining his freedom.

Here are the nominations:

GG: Best Motion Picture, Drama; Best Actor, Drama – Chiwetel Ejiofor; Best supporting Actor, Michael FAssbender; Best Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyong’o; Best Director – Steve McQueen; Best Screenplay and Best Original Score.

AA: Best Picture; Best Actor – Chiwetel Ejiofor; Best Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyong’o; Best Supporting Actor – Michael Fassbender; Best Director – Steve McQueen; Best Costume Design; Best Editing; Best Production Design; Best Adapted Screenplay


CaptainPhilCaptain Phillips

In 2010 Captain Richard Phillips released the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea based on his real-life experience of being overtaken by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.

Here are the nominations:

GG: Best movie, Drama; Best Actor – Tom Hanks; Best Supporting Actor – Barkhad Abdi; Best Director – Paul Greengrass

AA: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actor – Barkhad Abdi; Best Adaptive Screenplay; Best Film Editing; Best Sound Editing; Best Sound Mixing



In 1951 Philomena becomes pregnant with an illegitimate son. She is sent to an Irish convent to give birth and 4 years later her child is adopted out by the nuns without Philomena’s permission. Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search by journalist Martin Sixsmith is the story of Philomena’s journey to be reunited with her son 50 years after he was adopted by an American couple.

Here are the nominations:

GG: Best Movie, Drama; Best Actress, Drama – Judi Dench; Best Screenplay

AA: Best Picture; Best Female Actress – Judi Dench; Best Original Score


WolfWallThe Wolf of Wall Street

In 1987, Jordan Belfort entered Wall Street with naiveté and idealistic aspirations. When the firm he works for is closed, he ends up in a boiler room selling penny stocks for unreasonable return expectations. As he perfects his pitch, he decides to employ a group of friends in a “pump and dump” scheme under his own organization. Soon his own lifestyle goes out of control and he becomes noticed by the Feds and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who investigate him for fraud and money laundering. Belfort tells his incredible story in the book The Wolf of Wall Street.

GG: Best Movie, Musical or Comedy; Best Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio

AA: Best Picture; Best Director – Martin Scorsese; Best Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio; Best Adapted Screenplay


Saving_Mr._Banks_Theatrical_PosterSaving Mr. Banks

Not actually based on a book, this is the true story of Walt Disney and his efforts to win over P.L. Travers to make her book Mary Poppins into a Disney Movie. As the movie progresses we see the stories of Travers’ past that inspired the creation of Mary Poppins. Working with Mrs. Travers is no easy task, but the Disney writers are up for the challenge and Travers experiences a bit of a change herself as the project comes to a close.

GG: Best Actress, Drama – Emma Thompson

AA: Best Original Score (which is a bit ironic considering most of the music was from the 1964 film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.)

See the review 


booktheifThe Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is the story of Liesel Meminger who changes from an illiterate child to a kids who will risk everything in Nazi Germany to keep reading. Liesel has a bad habit of sneaking into the mayor’s library to “borrow” books from the mayor’s wife and this along with her family’s intention to harbor a Jewish boy from the authorities will bring Liesel and her friends and family right into the face of danger.

GG: Best Original Score

AA: Best Original Score


labor_dayLabor Day

Adele Wheeler is the single mom of her son, Henry. Henry meets a fugitive and is forced to take him home where his mother can care for his wounds. While there Adele and the fugitive, Frank, fall in love. Before Frank and Adele can run away with Henry to Canada the police are notified of the situation and Frank is arrested and sent back to prison. After Frank gets out of prison he calls Henry and finds that Adele is still single and waiting for him. Labor Day: A Novel was originally written by Joyce Maynard.

GG: Best Actress, Drama – Kate Winslet


catchingfireThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire

In the second book of The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins, Katniss and Peta are on their Victor tour when they realize that there is an uprising brewing. To squash the revolutionary thoughts, President Snow requires that retired victors are to be the tributes of this year’s Hunger Games. As soon as the games begin it’s obvious to Peta and Katniss that cooperation is the only way to survive.

GG: Best Original Song – “Atlas” by Coldplay

See the Review

gatsbymovieThe Great Gatsby

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway is a naive college graduate who’s looking for the fast track to wealth and power. He moves across the bay from his cousin Daisy Buchanan. Carraway’s eccentric neighbor, Jay Gatsby, has a personal interest in meeting Daisy and during one of his elaborate parties, employs Nick to conspire and bring them together. When Gatsby and Daisy meet it’s revealed that they are former lovers and they reunite their relationship despite Daisy’s marriage. Gatsby can’t keep the façade for long and soon the secret to his wealth and his poor background is revealed. No one is left unscathed by the end of this fast-paced novel.

AA: Best Production Design; Best Costume Design

See the Review


hobbit2The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

In this Tolkien classic, Bilbo Baggins and his party of dwarves are still on their epic journey to win the Lonely Mountain back as the dwarves’ homeland from the dragon Smaug. They face imprisonment by Elves, giant spiders and finally the dragon himself. But how far is the Dwarf prince willing to go to retrieve the Arkenstone from the mound of dragon treasure that has accumulated over the years? And will Bilbo finally reveal the secret to his power of invisibility?

AA: Best Visual Effects

See the review


wizardofozThe Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz celebrated its 75th anniversary at the Oscars this year with a special music presentation by Pink and Ellen dressed as Glenda the Good Witch.

The movie is loosely based on the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum in which Dorothy and her dog Toto are blown by a cyclone in the land of Oz. In order to go home, Dorothy must travel to the Wizard who lives in the Emerald City. Along the way she befriends a Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion, all of whom need something from the Wizard. When they reach the Emerald City they are told they must first destroy the Wicked Witch of the West. Although not easy, the three eventually accomplish their task when Dorothy pours a bucket of water over the witch’s head. Little do they know their return to Emerald City will be only the beginning of their new adventure before Dorothy can return home.


I hope you enjoyed this year’s award season and though our favorite adaptations didn’t win as often as we thought they should, sometimes the recognition is enough.

What was your impression of this year’s award season?


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