Almost everyone thought it would be impossible to turn Canadian author Yann Martel's Booker Prize winning novel, Life of Pi, into a movie. Many people said it was too complicated to film, starring a boy and a tiger -- their story jumping between Mexico, Canada, India and the Pacific Ocean. But the movie, which grossed almost $400 million worldwide, has just been nominated for 11 Oscars, including best picture, director and adapted screenplay.
"I'm delighted. I'm amazed. It's fantastic," Martel told CBC News, immediately after learning about the adaptation's Oscar nods. The film received the second most nominations -- with the bio-pic Lincoln outnumbering it by one.
Martel, quite happy with the film's success, said his role over the past few years has been in the background.
"I wrote the book years ago," he said. "The one who really slaved on it for years on end was Ang Lee. I'm so happy for him because he took the risk."
Director Ang Lee tackled the project, which many had deemed impossible to film. His experience with special effects helped, and Martel said he, and many others, were amazed at how life-like the computer generated animals were. Often, he said, viewers can't tell them apart from the movie's real animals.
Martel said he hopes he will be invited to attend the glitzy awards ceremony, wanting to join the hoopla. But mostly he hopes the film does well, for Lee's sake as well as the hundreds of people who worked to put the film together, which has brought a new generation of readers to his book.
But for now, Martel has the Golden Globes to focus on, where Life of Pi is nominated for three awards: best picture, best director and best original score. If the movie wins best original score, it would be another Canadian accepting the award: Winnipeg's Mychael Danna. The Canadian composer also earned two Oscar nominations for the movie: best original score and original song, an award he would share with Bombay Jayashri.