Book-to-screen adaptations didn’t fare very well at the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony last night, winning only four Oscars out of 27 total nominations.
Director Martin Scorsese’s crime epic The Irishman, which is based on the 2004 nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, had been nominated for an impressive 10 awards, including best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, and best cinematography; two of its actors, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, were up for best supporting actor. However, the film ended the night with zero Oscars to its credit. (It also recently came up empty at the Golden Globe Awards, where it had received five nominations.) How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, which is loosely based on a series of children’s novels by Cressida Cowell, lost the Oscar for best animated feature film to Toy Story 4.
Three other adaptations did receive Oscars, however. The highest-profile award went to writer/director Taika Waititi for his adapted screenplay for Jojo Rabbit, which is somewhat loosely based on Christine Leunens’ 2008 novel Caging Skies. (Kirkus published a column on Jojo Rabbit last October.) The film had been nominated for five other awards, which it didn’t win—including best picture and best supporting actress for Scarlett Johansson. Here’s Waititi’s acceptance speech, in which he thanks Leunens, as well as his mother for giving him the novel:
Writer/director Greta Gerwig’s film version of the 1868 Louisa May Alcott classic Little Women had also been nominated for six awards—including best picture, best adapted screenplay, best actress for Saoirse Ronan, and best supporting actress for Florence Pugh—and it only took home a single trophy. (Here’s Kirkus’ column on the Little Women film.) Jacqueline Durran accepted the Oscar for best costume design:
The biggest winner among book adaptations was director James Mangold’s car-racing film Ford v Ferrari, which won Oscars for best film editing and best sound editing. (Like The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, and Little Women, it also didn’t win best picture, which went to writer/director Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite.) Ford v Ferrari is based on A.J. Baime’s 2009 nonfiction book, Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans. Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland won the Oscar for best film editing:
And Donald Sylvester took home the trophy for best sound editing:
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.