The upcoming 94th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, honors the ‘best films’ released from the previous year. This year’s awards ceremony on Sunday, March 27th will be hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes (yes, queens!). Hollywood has often derived inspiration from literature, but 2021, in particular, was a banger year with a whopping 50 percent of the Best Picture nominations based on books and plays.
Below is your literary companion guide to this year’s nominations so you can prepare for any impending Oscar watch-party debates about which was better, the book or the movie (spoiler alert: it’s always the book).
Books to read and films to see In order of nominations:
- The Power of the Dog (based on The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage) received an impressive twelve nominations: Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Cinematography, Film Editing, Music (original score), Sound, Production Design, Writing (adapted screenplay), Directing, and Best Picture.
- Dune (based on the sci-fi hit book, Dune by Frank Herbert) has ten nominations: Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup & Hairstyling, Music (original score), Production Design, Sound, Visual Effects, Writing (adapted screenplay), Best Picture.
- West Side Story (based on the musical West Side Story by Jerome Robbins and inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet) with seven nominations: Actress in a Supporting Role, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Production Design, Sound, Best Picture.
- Drive My Car (based on Haruki Murakami’s short story “Drive My Car” from the 2014 collection Men Without Women) has four nominations: Directing, International Feature Film, Writing (adapted screenplay), Best Picture.
- Nightmare Alley (based on Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham) tied with four nominations: Costume Design, Cinematography, Production Design, Best Picture.
- The Lost Daughter (based on The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante) earned three nominations: Actress in Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Writing (adapted screenplay).
- The Tragedy of Macbeth (based on Macbeth by William Shakespeare) also with three nominations: Actor in a Leading Role, Cinematography, Production Design.
- Tick, Tick…Boom! (based on the musical Tick, Tick… BOOM! by Jonathan Larson) has two nominations for Actor in a Leading Role and Film Editing.
- Cruella (based on the Cruella character from The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith) received two nominations for Costume Design and Makeup & Hairstyling.
- Cyrano (based on Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand) earned one nomination for Costume Design.
- House of Gucci (based on The House of Gucci by Sara G. Forden) eked out one (well-deserved IMO) nomination for Makeup & Hairstyling.
Book Club Pro-Tip: Consider selecting one of these books for your April book club meeting and schedule a discussion + screening of the movie for comparison! Additionally, for all you movie buffs out there looking for a public club to join, check out the Adaptations Book Club, where you can marry your love for reading and cinema. You can also refer to our monthly book club reading recommendations for further inspiration.
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