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From Book to Movie - Films and Academy Awards

Everyone knows that J.R.R. Tolkien was the biggest celebrity at the 2004 Oscars. Let's explore other books that have been movie winners.

Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane - Oscars for Actor in a Leading Role (Sean Penn) and Actor in a Supporting Role (Tim Robbins) 2004
Robbins deserved his Academy Award for his role as Dave Boyle. Dave's life can be summed up in the incomplete letters of his name carved into wet cement. He carries the scars of a childhood horror. He is abandoned again by his wife and friends, after his friend Jimmy's daughter is murdered. This is a tale of revenge, but not of justice.

The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje - Oscar for Best Picture in 1996
The Booker Prize-winning novel, was turned into a film, starring Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe and Kristin Scott Thomas. The movie is luminous and lovely. It is filled with love, passion, hatred, and despair. Set in Italy, after World War II, the mysterious, nameless, burned English patient lies in a room. A young Canadian nurse, Hana, tends this patient. They are joined by David Caravaggio, a morphine addict, and Kip (Kirpal Singh), an Indian in the British Army, who diffuses mines. Who is this English patient. Is is a Germany spy? What is his story? We are drawn into the his memory as he unfolds his story for Hana.

A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash, by Sylvia Nasar - Oscar for Best Picture in 2001
Princeton's "Phantom of Fine Hall" (John Nash) is brought to life in the film by Russell Crowe. Perhaps only Sylvia Nasar, an economist and journalist, could have written this book. She understands and is able to impart the import of Nash's work. Her portrayal of Nash's schizophrenia is painfully real. The intricacies of Nash's personal life are explored in a way not done in the movie. Nasar also explores the politics and intrigues of the Nobel prize committee, which awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics to Nash.

These books have been made into wonderful films, but they are even better books!

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