2017 Oscars Reading List

February 23, 2017 | Winona

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Pop your popcorn, place your bets, alert the fashion police, and make room on your to-be-read pile: it's Oscar time again!

Filmmakers have long found inspiration in books and this year's crop of Academy Award nominees is no exception. This year, 18 of the nominated films were adapted from books, including four in the Best Picture category.

Which of these films will be awarded Hollywood's biggest prize? Which actor will give the most tearful acceptance speech? Which director will give the most political one? And, more importantly, which of the adapted books should I read first?

Here now is your annual book-to-film reading/viewing list. All of the books are available at the library and some of the films are already in too.

And the nominees are (in alphabetical order)...


FILM SYNOPSIS: When 12 mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.

NOMINATED FOR: Best Picture, Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Writing (Adapted Screenplay).

ADAPTED FROM: The award-winning short story "Story of Your Life" from Stories of Your Life and Others by American science fiction writer, Ted Chiang.

Stories of Your Life book cover

Book | eBook || DVD


FILM SYNOPSIS: From the moment she was born, Vaysha was a very special girl. With her left eye she can only see into the past, and with her right, she can only see the future. The past is familiar and safe, the future is sinister and threatening. The present is a blind spot.  

NOMINATED FOR: Best Animated Short.

ADAPTED FROM: The title story from And Other Stories by critically acclaimed Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov.

And Other Stories book cover

Book || film online via NFB


FILM SYNOPSIS: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

NOMINATED FOR: Visual Effects.

ADAPTED FROM: Doctor Strange, the Marvel comic book character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, two American comic book legends who also created Spiderman. If you haven't read these comics before, start with Doctor Strange Vol. 1, The Way of the Weird, a recent re-boot by Jason Aaron.

Dr Strange book cover

Book || DVD


FILM SYNOPSIS: A successful businesswoman gets caught up in a game of cat and mouse, as she tracks down the unknown man who raped her.  

NOMINATED FOR: Best Actress.

ADAPTED FROM: Oh... an award-winning novel by prolific French writer Philippe Djian (not currently available in English translation).

Oh book cover



FILM SYNOPSIS: The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York's secret community of witches and wizards 70 years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.  

NOMINATED FOR: Costume Design, Production Design.

ADAPTED FROM: The children's fantasy novel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by British national treasure J. K. Rowling, best known for her Harry Potter series.

Fantastic Beasts book cover

Book | DAISY Talking Book


FILM SYNOPSIS: A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life.

NOMINATED FOR: Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Picture, Writing (Adapted Screenplay).

ADAPTED FROM: The play Fences by Pulitzer Award-winning playwright August Wilson.

Fences book cover



FILM SYNOPSIS: The story of a team of African-American female mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.

NOMINATED FOR: Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Picture, Writing (Adapted Screenplay).

ADAPTED FROM: The inspiring true story told in Hidden Figures, the first book by American entrepreneur Margot Lee Shetterly.

Hidden Figures book cover

Book | eBook | Audiobook CD | CD Talking Book | Large Print Book 


FILM SYNOPSIS: Writer James Baldwin tells the story of race in modern America with his unfinished novel, Remember This House.  

NOMINATED FOR: Best Documentary Feature.

ADAPTED FROM: An unfinished manuscript by distinguished American writer and activist James Baldwin, some of which is included in I Am Not Your Negro: A Companion Edition to the Documentary Film Directed by Raoul Peck.

I Am Not Your Negro book cover



FILM SYNOPSIS: After a threat from the tiger Shere Khan forces him to flee the jungle, a man-cub named Mowgli embarks on a journey of self discovery with the help of panther, Bagheera, and free-spirited bear, Baloo.  

NOMINATED FOR: Visual Effects.

ADAPTED FROM: The Jungle Book, a classic collection of children's fables by English writer and renowned British Imperialist Rudyard Kipling.

The Jungle Book book cover

Book | eBook | eAudiobook || DVD | Other book editions and film adaptations


FILM SYNOPSIS: A coming of age story about a boy and his family who overcame great challenges by turning Disney animated movies into a language to express love, loss, kinship and brotherhood.  

NOMINATED FOR: Documentary Feature.

ADAPTED FROM: Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism, a memoir by award-winning journalist Ron Suskind.

Life, Animated book cover

Book | eBook | eAudiobook | Large Print Book || DVD


FILM SYNOPSIS: A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometres from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.

NOMINATED FOR: Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Picture, Cinematography, Music (Original Score), Writing (Adapted Screenplay).

ADAPTED FROM: The incredible memoir A Long Way Home by Indian-born Australian businessman Saroo Brierley.

A Long Way Home book cover

Book | eBook | Audiobook CD | eAudiobook | CD Talking Book


FILM SYNOPSIS: Ove, an ill-tempered, isolated retiree who spends his days enforcing block association rules and visiting his wife's grave, has finally given up on life just as an unlikely friendship develops with his boisterous new neighbours.  

NOMINATED FOR:  Foreign Language Film, Makeup and Hairstyling.

ADAPTED FROM: Popular Swedish writer Fredrik Backman's novel A Man Called Ove.

A Man Called Ove book cover

Book | Audiobook CD | eAudiobook | Large Print Book | CD Talking Book | Korean language Book || DVD


FILM SYNOPSIS: After his mother disappears, a young boy is sent to a foster home with other orphans his age where he begins to learn the meaning of trust and true love.

NOMINATED FOR: Animated Feature Film.

ADAPTED FROM: The children's novel Autobiographie d'une Courgette by French writer Gilles Paris (not currently available in English translation).

Autobiographie d'une Courgette book cover



FILM SYNOPSIS: A wealthy art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband's novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a symbolic revenge tale.  

NOMINATED FOR: Actor in a Supporting Role.

ADAPTED FROM: American writer and professor Austin Wright's novel Tony and Susan (also published as Nocturnal Animals).

Tony and Susan book cover

Book | eBook || DVD


FILM SYNOPSIS: In the 17th century, two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor, who is rumored to have committed apostasy, and to propagate Catholicism.  

NOMINATED FOR: Cinematography.

ADAPTED FROM: The historical novel Silence by major Japanese Catholic novelist Shūsaku Endō.

Silence book cover

Book | Reference Book


FILM SYNOPSIS: A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force. Their first mission: save the world from the apocalypse.

NOMINATED FOR: Makeup and Hairstyling.

ADAPTED FROM: A group of DC comic book villains, Suicide Squad, who first appeared in 1959. If you haven't read these comics before, start with the "Post Crisis" editions or the "New Suicide Squad" re-launch, or check out the movie novelization.

Suicide Squad novelization book cover

Book | eBook || DVD


FILM SYNOPSIS: The story of Chesley Sullenberger, an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River in order to save the flight's passengers and crew.  

NOMINATED FOR: Sound Editing.

ADAPTED FROM: Chesley Sullenberger's memoir Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters (also published as Sully: My Search for What Really Matters).

Highest Duty book cover

Book | eBook | eBook | eAudiobook | CD Talking Book | Large Print Book || DVD


FILM SYNOPSIS: During an attack on a US compound in Libya, a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos.  

NOMINATED FOR: Sound Mixing.

ADAPTED FROM: 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi by American journalism professor Mitchell Zuckoff.

13 Hours book cover

Book | eBook | eAudiobook | CD Talking Book | Large Print Book || DVD


Please note: CD Talking Book and DAISY Talking Book formats are restricted to print disabled patrons.

All film synopses are from Internet Movie Database.


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