Every year, the staff of Literary Traveler has a lot of fun watching and discussing the year’s best (and not-so-great) literary adaptations. From contemporary fiction favorites such as Gone Girl to non-fiction juggernauts like American Sniper, it has been an exceptional year for adaptation.
While The Imitation Game took home Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, besting American Sniper, Inherent Vice, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash*, how will it fare with our own LT Academy?
We rolled out the red carpet and donned our most elegant sweatpants for the occasion. Join us as we toast to this year’s winners!
Best Character Portrayal by an Actor:
Nominees: Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing (The Imitation Game), Philip Seymour Hoffman as Günther Bachmann (A Most Wanted Man), Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle (American Sniper), Joaquin Phoenix as Larry “Doc” Sportello (Inherent Vice), Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking (The Theory of Everything), Jake Gyllenhaal as Adam Bell and Anthony Claire (Enemy)
And the Fauxscar goes too… Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
“Eddie Redmayne captures Stephen Hawking’s mannerisms perfectly, while also providing an emotionally nuanced performance. He is not impersonating Hawking, but actually stepping into his person.” Alex Nicoll, Contributor — Read the review
Best Character Portrayal by an Actress:
Nominees: Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne (Gone Girl), Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke (The Imitation Game), Shailene Woodley as Hazel Grace Lancaster (The Fault in Our Stars), Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed (Wild), Julianne Moore as Alice Howland (Still Alice), Scarlett Johansson as The Female (Under the Skin)
And the Fauxscar goes too… Julianne Moore, Still Alice
“Julianne Moore gives an impressive and emotional performance as Alice Howland. The film (and book on which it is based) handles a delicate subject in beautiful and brave ways. Moore was extremely deserving of the Oscar — and, of course, the Fauxscar.” Francis McGovern, Founder
Best Portrayal of a Literary Love Story:
Nominees: Peter Lake and Beverly Penn, Winter’s Tale, Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster, The Fault in Our Stars, Tris and Four, Divergent, Stephen Hawking and Jane Wilde, The Theory of Everything, Larry “Doc” Sportello and Shasta Fay Hepworth, Inherent Vice
And the Fauxscar goes to… Stephen Hawking and Jane Wilde, The Theory of Everything
“If you pay any attention to cosmology, it isn’t a spoiler that the perfect equation to marry the two disparate strands of physics was never found. In the same way, it shouldn’t be a spoiler for a movie so focused on real people that Jane and Steven don’t find an absolutely perfect love. Yet, in their search for perfection, they find a sort of real love that’s all the more precious for its reality.” Alex Nicoll, Contributer — Read the review
Best Cinematography & Production Design:
Nominees: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I, Guardians of the Galaxy, Noah, Divergent, X-Men: Days of Future Past
And the Fauxscar goes to… The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
“Making full use of the new variety of optics available to filmmakers, the theater experience was impressive and deserving of recognition. With this sixth and final installment of Peter Jackson’s devoted Tolkien adaptions, the franchise was given a grand send off by its enthusiastic fans, outselling all other Lord of The Rings and Hobbit installments at the box office. ” Haley Houseman, Contributor
Best “Young Adult” Adaptation:
Nominees: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I, The Maze Runner, The Giver, Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars
And the Fauxscar goes to… The Fault in Our Stars
“I don’t usually go for sappy movies. The Fault in Our Stars is just such a great book. The romance is believable and sweet—filled with teenage earnestness and adult lessons.” Katy Kelleher, Editor
Best Non-Fiction Adaptation:
And the Fauxscar goes to… American Sniper
“Overall, the issues raised in this movie are worth thinking and talking about, and the film brings them up in thoughtful and powerful ways.” Antoinette Weil, Contributor — Read the review
Best “Guilty Pleasure” Adaptation:
Nominees: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, The Best of Me, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I, Frankenstein, Guardians of the Galaxy
And the Fauxscar goes to… Guardians of the Galaxy
“Quite possibly the most fun movie I saw last year. I went into Guardians of the Galaxy expecting to be bored (I admit, my boyfriend convinced me to see it) and left with a stomachache from laughing so much. I don’t really even consider this a guilty pleasure. The characters are smartly done.” Katy Kelleher, Editor
Best “Stand Alone” Film:
And the Fauxscar goes to… It’s tie!
“The book and the movie are different entities, and whether you like one or the other more, they both work individually, as well as together. Coming into the film with knowledge of the characters from the novel will give you a different experience than someone who hasn’t met them yet. However, whether met on page or screen, Nick and Amy captivate us by taking on a complex and disturbingly provocative life of their own.” Wesley Sharer, Contributor — Read the review
“Anderson’s film is a spot-on visual representation of Pynchon’s novel, successfully translating the mood and tone of Pynchon’s unique writing style while maintaining the dreamy illogical plotting of his narrative structure. Joaquin Phoenix’s Doc plays the accidental hero perfectly, his expressions capturing the unfettered nature of the stoner PI and translating Pynchon’s humor onto the big screen with ease. Inherent Vice is a must-see for anyone looking for contradiction. It’s an escapist film that makes you think – although your thoughts will take the shapeless, illogical form of dreaming.” Amanda Festa, Editor — Read the review
Most Anticipated Adaptation of 2015:
Nominees: Dark Places, Fifty Shades of Grey, Macbeth, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, The Martian
And the Fauxscar goes to… Fifty Shades of Grey
Prepare with this look at the mainstream appeal of Fifty Shades and the history of erotica in literature.
“When looking for hints of what the film Fifty Shades of Grey might hold, we can look at the many erotica film adaptations that came before. Fanny Hill, which began the fine tradition of writing pornography in English, was made into at least five adaptations. The lascivious The History of Tom Jones was made into four films and an opera. Roughly 300 year later, they fail to titillate in quite the same way as the books (probably because no one give NC-17 ratings to literature, however smutty).” Haley Houseman, Contributor — Read the article
That wraps this year’s Fauxscars! What was your favorite adaptation of 2014? Let us know in the comments!
*Whiplash was not nominated for a Fauxscar since it was adapted from a short film, not a literary work.