8 books that inspired the 2019 Oscar nominees

If you'd rather read the book than watch the movie, here are 8 books connected to this year's Academy Award nominees.
In this Feb. 4, 2019 file photo, an Oscar statue appears at the 91st Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Danny Moloshok/Invision/Associated Press)

It's Oscars season once again! If you'd rather read the book than watch the movie, here are eight books connected to this year's Academy Award nominees. 

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

The film adaptation of James Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk came out in 2018. (Vintage International, Annapurna Pictures )

Set in 1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk is a romance at heart. Following young lovers Fonny and Tish, the novel explores their relationship after Fonny is falsely jailed for rape. Compounding his confinement, Tish soon learns that she is pregnant. The novel, which was first published in 1974, remains a timely narrative about family dynamics and systemic racism. 

The film adaptation was written and directed by Barry Jenkins and stars KiKi Layne, Regina King and Canadian actor Stephan James.

Academy Award nominations: If Beale Street Could Talk is nominated for best supporting actress, best adapted screenplay and best original score.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Lee Israel

The film adaptation of Lee Israel's memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me? stars Melissa McCarthy. (Simon & Schuster, Fox Searchlight )

Lee Israel's memoir recalls her turn to crime in 1990. Almost broke and about to lose her Upper West Side studio, Israel discovered she could recuperate funds by forging letters written by literary greats. Within a year she had doctored more than 300 letters by authors such as Dorothy Parker, Louise Brooks and Noel Coward. A twisted take on the act of writing, the book is essential reading for writers and readers alike. 

The film adaptation was written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, directed by Marielle Heller and stars Melissa McCarthy.

Academy Award nominations: Can you Ever Forgive Me? is nominated for best actress, best supporting actor and best adapted screenplay.

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes Black Panther comics. The film adaptation stars Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther. (Marvel, Walt Disney Studios )

The classic Marvel Comics character, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, gets a reboot courtesy of MacArthur fellow Ta-Nehisi Coates and illustrator Brian Stelfreeze. A violent uprising from a terrorist group known as 'The People' has ravaged the Wakanda. Can T'Challa, King and protector of Wakanda, restore the nation's strong warrior traditions? 

The film adaptation's plot is not consistent with the comic, but was a box office hit. Directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa, Black Panther made over $1 billion worldwide and was the highest grossing film of the year in Canada and the U.S. 

Academy Award nominations: Black Panther is nominated for seven Academy Awards, including best picture, best original score and best original song.

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

Glenn Close plays the wife in the film adaptation of Meg Wolitzer's 2003 novel. (Pocket Books, Sony Pictures Classics )

Wolitzer's 2003 novel begins 35,000 feet in the air, as Joan Castleman sits on a plane on the way to Helinski and contemplates leaving her husband. Joseph Castleman is a preeminent American novelist, and the couple are bound for Europe in order for Joseph to receive a prestigious literary award. As Joan examines their 40 years of marriage, she ruminates over the sacrifices she's made to help shape her husband's reputation.

The film adaptation of The Wife is directed by Björn Runge and stars Glenn Close.

Academy Award nominations: Glenn Close is nominated for best actress, her seventh Oscar nomination.

Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth

The film adaptation of Ron Stallworth's memoir came out in 2018. (Penguin, Focus Features )

In 1978, Ron Stallworth was the first black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. After sending an enquiry to the Ku Klux Klan, who had an advertisement in the local paper, he receives a phone call asking him to join the KKK. He takes up this opportunity to launch an undercover investigation, with his partner Chuck playing the "white" Ron Stallworth. In his gripping, months-long investigation, Stallworth even managed to deceive the KKK "Grand Wizard" David Duke.

Stallworth's memoir was published in 2014. Spike Lee adapted the book for the film BlacKkKlansman, which starred John David Washington and Adam Driver.

Academy Award nominations: BlacKkKlansman is nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture, best director, best supporting actor and best adapted screenplay.

Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency by Barton Gellman

Barton Gellman won a Pultizer Prize in 2008 for his Dick Cheney bio, Angler. (Penguin, Annapurna Pictures )

One of the many books that inspired 2018's Vice, Gellman's look at Dick Cheney's years in the White House is a must-read for investigative journalism enthusiasts. Gellman's account speaks to the influence of the infamous vice president, who paved the way for an aggressive foreign policy in the 2000s. Gellman won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Angler.

Christian Bale portrays Dick Cheney in the film Vice, which was written and directed by Adam McKay.

Academy Award nominations: Vice is nominated for eight Academy Awards, including best picture, best director, best actor, best supporting actress and best original screenplay.

Queen of Scots by John Guy

John Guy's biography of Mary, Queen of Scots inspired the film starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Focus Features and Universal Pictures)

John Guy's bestselling account of Mary Stuart brings together his esteemed historical work with a compelling narrative. Mary first's reign over Scotland started when she was just six days old, and the drama of her early demise is brought to life vividly by Guy's rich insights. The biography, which came out in 2004, won the Whitbread Award for biography, a prize now known as the Costa Book Award for biography.

The film adaptation, Mary Queen of Scots, was written by Beau Willimon, directed by Josie Rourke and stars Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I.

Academy Award nominations: Mary Queen of Scots is nominated for best costume design, as well as best makeup and hairstyling.

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, illustrated by Genevieve Godbout

Québec artist Genevieve Godbout has illustrated a new edition of the 1934 classic by Travers. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Walt Disney Studios )

This picture book is based on the original 1934 novel by P.L. Travers and features brand-new illustrations by Québec artist Genevieve Godbout. The classic tale follows the Banks family, whose lives change after they are visited by their mystical new nanny Mary Poppins. In light of this revitalised franchise, this is an essential for readers young and old.

Mary Poppins Returns, which stars Emily Blunt as the titular character, is a sequel to Travers's classic story and the original 1964 film. Canadian animator Chris Sauve worked on the film.

Academy Award nominations:  Mary Poppins Returns is nominated for four Oscars, including best original score and best original song.


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