5 Oscar-Nominated Films That Were Actually Based on Books

Another year, another fashionable, funny and familial Oscars. You saw all of the films—and watched the ceremony on the edge of your seat (hey, Bradley and Gaga)—but did you know that some of them started out as books? Here are five to pick up once those post-awards season blues kick in.

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cover: vintage; background: plan b entertainment

if Beale Street Could Talk

James Baldwin wrote If Beale Street Could Talk all the way back in 1974, but the film adaptation directed by Moonlight's Barry Jenkins actually feels super-relevant today. It's the story of a 19-year-old girl in love with a young sculptor who’s the father of her child, and it's set against the backdrop of New York City in a time when most landlords were refusing to rent apartments to black people. The movie is up for three Academy Awards, including a Supporting Actress nod for Regina King, Adapted Screenplay and Original Score.  

cover: flatiron books; background: blumhouse productions


Based on Ron Stallworth's 2014 memoir, Black Klansman: Race, Hate and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime, this Spike Lee-directed flick is up for six awards, including Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Adam Driver), Director (Lee), Adapted Screeplay, Film Editing and Original Score. Both the book and the movie tell the incredible story of Stallworth, the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, who went undercover in the KKK. 

cover: scribner; background: anonymous content

the Wife

Meg Wolitzer's 2004 novel The Wife charts the tempestuous marriage between a world-famous novelist, his wife and the secret they’ve kept for decades. The film adaption stars Glenn Close as the titular wife, and earned the actress her seventh Oscar nomination, this time for Lead Actress.  

cover: simon & Schuster; background: fox searchlight pictures

can You Ever Forgive Me?

For almost two years, celebrity biographer Lee Israel tried to revitalize her failing writing career by forging letters from deceased authors and playwrights, later chronicling the caper in a 2008 memoir. The film version nabbed three Oscar noms, for Lead Actress (Melissa McCarthy as Israel), Supporting Actor (Richard E. Grant) and Adapted Screenplay. 

cover: simon & schuster; background: universal pictures

first Man

Published in 2005, James R. Hansen’s official biography of Neil Armstrong describes the famed astronaut’s involvement in the U.S. space program, culminating with the historic Apollo 11 mission, as well as his personal life and upbringing. The movie version, which stars Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, is nominated for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Production Design and Visual Effects.