[19 February 2008]
It’s five days until show time, when Hollywood picks its best and brightest, and tells this is the best no matter what you think! I love my Oscars, even though I can’t remember a time I’ve entirely agreed with more than a handful of winners in any given year. Still, it’s the one time of year when I choose to ignore the pomp and the politics behind the big golden curtain and just let the glamour sweep me away.
I’m looking forward to this year’s ceremony for a few reasons. Mainly, I want to see Casey Affleck win for his role in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, because he was good, and because he was even better as private detective Patrick Kenzie in another great film this year, Gone Baby Gone.
I’m also eagerly anticipating the show because of just how literary the whole thing feels this year. Atonement, There Will Be Blood, The Assassination of Jesse James, No Country for Old Men, Charlie Wilson’s War, Into the Wild, Gone Baby Gone—these works are becoming synonymous with great cinema as well as great literature. I can’t remember a time when books so diverse and from such varied eras were so prominent at the Oscars, or at least that the audience were so aware of it. I’m struggling, too, to remember a time when so many big-time actors’ faces stared back at me so somberly from bookstore shelves.
It’s a phenomenal year for books at the Oscars. In the days leading up to the ceremony, Re:Print will take a look at the nominated texts, discuss their transition to the screen, and look at other works about the ceremony and its history. We’ll also be taking a look at the media buzz surrounding Oscar’s new role as literary expert, no doubt single-handedly filling up Book Club itineraries across the globe.
Re:Print‘s road to the Oscars today looks a little bit further forward than this Sunday’s events. We’re looking specifically at a Radar Online report from this past week that discusses uber-producer Scott Rudin, behind No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, and the number of famed literary works in his possession that he is developing for the big screen as we speak.
Rudin produced the film versions of Pulitzer Prize winning books The Hours and Angela’s Ashes, and helped turn Joe Connelly’s amazing Bringing Out the Dead into a superb film, so he’s already in our good books. Rudin, it would seem, knows the reader’s thirst for big-screen representations of our favourite novels and memoirs. The future looks very bright with the following works apparently in his hands:
William Monahan, screenwriter of The Departed, looks to be working on this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s 1985 book about a runaway mixed up with a group of scalp hunters called the Glanton Gang. Ridley Scott is attached as director.
Based on Jonathan Franzen’s book about an offbeat family getting together for a final Christmas together, no information is available yet on this one. Rudin is behind it, according to Radar.
Special Topics in Calamity Physics
Same again—no details, but Rudin is in control of turning Marisha Pessl’s first novel into a movie.
I’m too excited for this one, mainly because Kate Winslet has taken over from Nicole Kidman as Hannah Schmitz. It’s a role much better suited to Kate, and just a brilliant piece of work all ‘round. It’s great to hear the quality of the names attached from Kate and Ralph Fiennes, to director Stephen Daldry and screenwriter David Hare, who worked together on The Hours.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Also to be directed by Stephen Daldry, little is known about this adaptation. Author Michael Chabon has written the screenplay. The story is about the creators of a globe-trotting, tyranny-ruining comic book hero, The Escapist.
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Whoever thought of this is now on my list of favourite people. Wes Anderson is directing an animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book, which is about three farmers who decide to do away with their ultra-wily chicken-stealing nemesis and his family. Great list of names attached, including Cate Blanchett and Bill Murray.
Rudin is attached to the film version of Brad Land’s 2005 memoir about his experiences with fraternity hazing rituals.
Correction: I mistakenly referred to Joe Connelly as John Connolly.