Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

The recipient of the award for the top literary work that served as inspiration for a nominee for the best picture category is...

The recipient of the award for the top literary work that served as inspiration for a nominee for the best picture category is…


A 721-page biography covering the life of the man known as the father of the atomic bomb, a satire of how the publishing industry oversimplifies black experiences, and a story set in Glasgow about a grown woman with the mind of an infant: these are the books that served as inspiration for this year’s Oscar-nominated best pictures. This leaves us wondering: if there were an award for the “best book that influenced a best picture nominee,” what would the top contenders be?

David Grann’s book, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

David Grann’s 2017 inquiry into the killing of affluent Osage Native Americans, who were targeted for their valuable oil resources, is an extraordinary read. Although Martin Scorsese’s lengthy film adaptation primarily covers the initial two parts, Grann’s investigation delves deeper, revealing the chilling plot that unfolded in 1920s Oklahoma and resulted in the Osage people becoming the most murdered group of people in the world, based on their individual wealth.

The book “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J Robert Oppenheimer” was written by Kai Bird and Martin J Sherwin.

The American Prometheus book is just as grandiose and comprehensive as Christopher Nolan’s top contender for best picture. This extensive 721-page biography has all the qualities one would expect: meticulous research (spanning 25 years and thousands of documents), skillful writing, and impactful visuals. While Nolan’s film covers a broad overview of Oppenheimer’s life leading up to his security clearance hearing in 1954, Bird and Sherwin’s authoritative biography leaves no unanswered questions. The filmmaker’s adaptation is noteworthy, but the authors’ ability to condense years of research into a captivating page-turner that never feels tedious is even more noteworthy.

The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis

The book and film adaptations of The Zone of Interest have different stories, but they both delve into the theme of identity. While the book is mainly a dark comedy, the film focuses on the domestic life of real-life Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss. The story is told from three perspectives: Paul Doll, an SS commandant, Angelus Thomsen, a soldier seeking an affair with Doll’s wife, and Szmul Zacharias, a member of the camp’s prisoner work unit. Despite their different plots, both the book and the film explore the idea of identity and how it is shaped by the events in the Auschwitz concentration camp. As the novel states, “Who are you? You don’t know. Then you come to the Zone of Interest, and it tells you who you are.”

Ignore the advertisement for the newsletter

The book “Poor Things” written by

Alasdair Gray is about a girl named Bella who is transformed into a woman with superhuman abilities by Dr. Godwin Baxter, who then falls in love with her.

Emma Stone as Bella Baxter in Poor Things

Display the image in full screen.

One may contemplate how acclaimed Scottish author Alasdair Gray would react to Yorgos Lanthimos’s lively adaptation of his 1992 novel Poor Things, considering he passed away at age 85 in 2019. We can only assume he would be delighted by it, although it may disregard his Scottish background. According to Gray, the novel, titled Poor Things: Episodes from the Early Life of Archibald McCandless MD, Scottish Public Health Officer, was discovered as a Victorian memoir among discarded rubbish, with Gray only credited as the editor. However, the lengthy title would not fit on movie listings. The book includes the author’s own illustrations (he was known for designing his own covers and writing his own blurbs), as well as letters, journal entries, and maps. Poor Things follows the peculiar tale of Bella Baxter, a woman whose brain was exchanged with that of her unborn child. Quirky and perplexing, the novel is an excellent introduction for readers unfamiliar with the eccentric worlds of Alasdair Gray.

Percival Everett’s novel, “Erasure”, explores issues of race, identity, and the publishing industry through the story of a black author, Thelonious “Monk” Ellison.

“Erasure” by Percival Everett delves into themes of ethnicity, self-discovery, and the world of publishing, following the experiences of Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, a black writer.

In the beginning of Percival Everett’s twelfth novel, Erasure, the narrator represents their physical appearance and their personal history as a way of explaining their identity. They mention having dark skin, curly hair, a wide nose, and a heritage tied to slavery. The narrator also shares instances of being detained by white police officers in New Hampshire, Arizona, and Georgia, ultimately leading to society categorizing them as black. This sets the stage for the novel, which critiques the publishing industry’s fixation on stories about stereotypical African American life in nameless ghettos in America. The protagonist, Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, is a writer whose obscure and difficult work is rejected by publishers for not conforming to their defined expectations of what constitutes “black literature”. In response, Monk writes a satirical novel called My Pafology (later renamed Fuck), which unexpectedly gains widespread acclaim. The rest of the novel follows Monk as he navigates through the chaos of his newfound fame, including spelling errors in chapter titles, child support issues, and a thinly veiled parody of a popular American talk show. While the film adaptation, American Fiction, stays close to the novel’s plot, it fails to capture the rawness and experimentation of Everett’s writing. The use of alternative formats such as resumes, academic papers, and a full 80 pages of Fuck, adds depth and complexity to the story that the film lacks. In my opinion, if the Academy Award for Best Picture was based solely on the source material, Erasure should be the clear winner.

Source: theguardian.com