This year there are numerous books represented at the Oscars in various categories. Some are true stories and some are fiction. Dramatic movies were not overlooked in the nominations.
Brokeback Mountain - Based on a short story by Annie Proulx (www.annieproulx.com) first published in a collection called Cold Range as well as in The New Yorker. Her official website has a "FAQs" specifically for this story and movie. During the summer of 1969 in the Wyoming Mountains two cowboys, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist fall in love with one another and have to deal with the consequences of their love and the effects it has on their lives. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal have both been nominated for Oscars. Heath for Actor in a Leading Role and Jake for Actor in a Supporting Role. There are seven other nominations for various categories. Brokeback Mountain is the only one nominated for Best Picture (along with Capote, Crash, Good Night and Good Luck, Munich). It wouldn't surprise me if it won since the short story is considered a "masterpiece" and won both the National Magazine Award and the O. Henry Prize.
Update: Brokeback Mountain won Oscars for music, adapted screenplay, and directing.
Purchase Brokeback Mountain book from Amazon.com.
Purchase Brokeback Mountain story to screenplay from Amazon.com.
Official website for movie Brokeback Mountain.
Memoirs of a Geisha - Written by Arthur Golden and released in 1997 by Knopf. It was re-released in time for the release of the movie. It is an epic tale following the life of Sayuri, a Japanese Geisha, from childhood when she is first purchased to her unprecedented success. A unique look into 1930s Japan when slavery was an art and one blue-eyed woman's rise to the status of goddess. Despite superb acting by Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh, and Ken Watanabe, the film has only been nominated for (although not surprisingly) art direction, cinematography, and costume design.
Update: Memoirs of a Geisha won Oscars for costume design, art direction and cinematography.
Purchase Memoirs of a Geisha book from Amazon.com.
Purchase Memoirs of a Geisha movie from Amazon.com.
Official website for the movie Memoirs of a Geisha.
Pride and Prejudice - Written by Jane Austen (1775-1817) in the early 19th century becoming quite popular after her death. The Bennets have five daughters they wish to marry off before the man of the house dies and leaves them penniless. This story focuses specifically on Elizabeth and her sister Jane and their relationship with one another, society and the available men. This is not the first adaptation. In 1996 one was made with Colin Firth (who's played a Darcy in more than one film). In 1980 one was made with Greer Garson. Keira Knightley has been nominated for an Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of Miss Elizabeth Bennet. This version is also nominated for art, costume and music.
Purchase Pride & Prejudice book from Amazon.com.
Purchase Pride & Prejudice movie from Amazon.com.
Official website for Pride & Prejudice
The Constant Gardener - Written by John le Carre (www.johnlecarre.com) and first published in 2000 by Scribner it has been reprinted numerous times. Justin Quayle, a quiet reserved British diplomat who meets, falls in love with and marries Tessa, a flamboyant activist. When she is brutally murdered in Northern Kenya while researching a pharmaceutical company's dealing with the locals and rumours surface about her loyalty he begins doing his own research. The closer he gets to the truth the closer he gets to his own demise. Rachel Weisz is nominated for Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of Tessa while Ralph Fiennes is left out in the cold. The film is also nominated for editing, music and screenplay.
Update: The Constant Gardener won an Oscar for actress in a supporting role.
Purchase The Constant Gardener book from Amazon.com.
Purchase The Constant Gardener movie from Amazon.com.
Official website for the Constant Gardener.
Tsotsi - Initially published in September 1983 and re-released in March. This political drama was written by Athol Fugard. In Soweto, Africa a young man who has spent his short life executing vicious crimes is forced to face the consequences of his actions when he comes into contact with a baby. His own abuse, resulting anger and ultimate release and forgiveness shape him into the man he was meant to become. Tsotsi is nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film.
Update: Tsotsi won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
Purchase the Tsotsi book from Amazon.com.
Official website for Tsotsi.
Books at the Oscars:
M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario, Canada. If you are going to find this eclectic reader and writer anywhere it is probably at her computer. For more information visit her official website.