If the book is always better than the movie, then you know that the books that became Academy Award Winning Best Pictures must be some darn good reads!
The Academy Awards date back to the 1920s, and over that time, many of the Oscar winning films were books first. For our list below, we’ve focused books that were adapted into Oscar-winning movies over the last four decades.
But first, let’s take a look at the 2020 Best Picture nominees…
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Oscar Movies Based on Books in 2020
We’ll soon learn which of the 2020 Best Picture nominees will take home the Oscar statue, but we already know that five of this year’s nominees are based on, or inspired by, books that are worthy of your consideration:
The 2019 Academy Award Winning Green Book was based a on series of guidebooks published annually between the 1930s and mid-1960s, which African-Americans with the means to travel could use to avoid "sundown towns"- towns that didn't allow blacks to eat at their restaurants or rent hotel rooms.
This is not a standard book to film adaptation, but if you loved the movie, you'll enjoy reading this alternate version of The Shape of Water.
Daniel Kraus first had the idea for the story as a teenager. Years later - by then a successful author, Kraus had breakfast with film maker Guillermo del Toro to discuss a different book/film idea, but somehow the idea for The Shape of Water came up, and del Toro was immediately interested.
The two went their separate ways, with del Toro beginning work on a different film project, and Kraus beginning to develop his idea into a novel. What Kraus didn't know is that del Toro was simultaneously working on a screenplay based on the concept.
Eventually the pair decided to move forward with each telling the story in their own way. They would exchange phone calls and emails regularly to discuss the direction of their own versions of the story, but ultimately create two unique works.
Although Unforgiven was credited as an original screenplay by David Webb Peoples, Peoples has admitted that his screenplay was inspired by the Book, The Shootist, which as been called "one of the best western novels ever written."
The Book Girls Say... Fun fact, Angela knows the real Rain Man, Kim Peek!
Kim's father, Fran, was good friends with Angela's grandpa, and the Peeks often attend family parties. Kim, who was born and raised in Salt Lake City passed away in 2009, was a megasavant. Two of peeks favorite talents to display at parties was to ask your birthday, then to quickly calculate what day of the week you were born on and tell you what was on the front page of newspapers on the day you were born. He had also memorized the phone books, and if you told him your street address, he would immediately cite your zip code.
In 1984, screenwriter Barry Marrow met Peek, and the result of the meeting was the Academy Award winning film, Rain Man. Marrow thanked Kim Peek during his Academy Award acceptance speech, and gave Peek his Oscar statuette to carry with him when he made various speaking appearances.
The savant character in the movie was named Raymond Babbitt and was depicted as being autistic, which was the one of the diagnoses that Kim Peek received, although it is now thought that he had FG syndrome. Dustin Hoffman, who protrayed Raymond Babbitt in the film, met Peek and other savants to get an understanding of their nature in order to portray the character as realistically as possible.