The Stories behind Oscar Glory

by |March 1, 2016

“The book is better.”

There is no more satisfyingly smug statement for a reader than that.

And at this year’s Oscars, readers were treated to a cavalcade of book adaptations picking up major awards.

Here’s a few big winners, that may or may not* be better than the film.

Best Picture: Spotlight

Inspired by: Betrayal by The Investigative Staff of the Boston Globe

xbetrayal.jpg.pagespeed.ic.GcvviB9vejThis is the story from beginning to end: the predatory men who exploited the vulnerable, the cabal of senior Church officials who covered up their crimes, the ‘hush money’ used to buy the victims’ silence, the survivors who found the strength to tell their story, and the Catholics across the world who were left shocked, angry, and betrayed. This is the story, too, of how they took power back, confronted their Church and called for sweeping change.

Updated for the release of the Oscar-nominated film Spotlight, this is a devastating and important exposure of the abuse of power at the highest levels in society.

Click here for more about Spotlight

Best Director & Actor: The Revenant

Inspired by: The Revenant by Michael Punke

xthe-revenant.jpg.pagespeed.ic.67SKBWDy2CBased on a true story, The Revenant is an epic tale of revenge set in the Rocky Mountains and a major motion picture, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Rocky Mountains, 1823 The trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Hugh Glass is one of the most respected men in the company, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker. But when a scouting mission puts Glass face-to-face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive. Two men from the company are ordered to remain with him until his inevitable death. But, fearing an imminent attack, they abandon Glass, stripping him of his prized rifle and hatchet. As Glass watches the men flee, he is driven to survive by one all-consuming desire: revenge.

Click here for more about The Revenant

Best Actress: Brie Larson for Room

Inspired by: Room by Emma Donoghue

xroom.jpg.pagespeed.ic.OJYqQ8WU0EJack lives with his Ma in Room. Room has a single locked door and a skylight, and it measures ten feet by ten feet. Jack loves watching TV but he knows that nothing he sees on the screen is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits there is a world outside.

Devastating yet uplifting, Room by Emma Donoghue is a luminous portrait of a boundless maternal love. It has sold more than two million copies, was a number one bestseller and was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange prizes. Few books have reached modern classic status so swiftly.

Click here for more about Room

Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl

Inspired by: The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff

xthe-danish-girl.jpg.pagespeed.ic.w2qkqPg9AXIt starts with a question, a simple favour asked by a wife of her husband, setting off a transformation neither can anticipate.

Einar Wegener and his American wife Greta Waud have been married for six years, but are yet to have a child. Both painters, they live a life of bohemian languor in Copenhagen until one day their lives are irreversibly altered. The Danish Girl eloquently shows the intimacy that defines a marriage and the nearly forgotten story of the love between a man who discovers that he is, in fact, a woman, and his wife who would sacrifice anything for him.

Set against the glitz and decadence of 1920s Copenhagen, Paris and Dresden, and inspired by a true story, The Danish Girl is about one of the most passionate and unusual marriages of the twentieth century.

Click here for more about The Danish Girl

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies

Inspired by: Strangers on a Bridge by James B Donovan

xstrangers-on-a-bridge.jpg.pagespeed.ic.SNeayoOucyWith the Cold War at its height, the capture and trial of Colonel Abel, the Soviets’ most capable and effective spy, revealed the chilling depths of the KGB’s penetration of the West.

But when an American U-2 spy plane was shot down over Russia and its CIA pilot, Gary Powers, captured, both men’s fates hung in the balance.

With East and West staring each other down across the Iron Curtain the stakes couldn’t have been higher. And at the heart of it all, from Abel’s arrest to his exchange with Powers on Berlin’s infamous ‘Bridge of Spies’, was James B. Donovan.

Strangers on the Bridge is the only inside account of the greatest spy story of the era and a real-life espionage classic.

Click here for more about Strangers on a Bridge

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short

Inspired by: The Big Short by Michael Lewis

xthe-big-short.jpg.pagespeed.ic.nZ0WDOmaLo‘We fed the monster until it blew up . . . ‘

While Wall Street was busy creating the biggest credit bubble of all time, a few renegade investors saw it was about to burst, bet against the banking system – and made a fortune.

From the jungles of the trading floor to the casinos of Las Vegas, this is the outrageous story of the misfits, mavericks and geniuses who, against all odds, made the greatest financial killing in history.

Click here for more about The Big Short

*They are absolutely better
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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

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