I’m feeling a bit sluggish this morning as I stayed up watching the Oscars last night.  I didn’t set out to watch them in their entirety (they are long and the winners are never a surprise – save, maybe for Marion Cotillard’s win last year for La Vie En Rose) but nonetheless I found myself awake as Steven Spielberg announced the best picture win at close to 11pm (that’s late for me on a school night). Tina Fey and Steve Martin were awesome and I found the presentation of the acting awards by five previous winners a really nice idea for this year’s gala, as I imagine that the next best thing to actually winning an Oscar is being told how awesome you are by Shirley MacLaine but I do have to ask: what was with all the montage?  Did we really need a montage of how Hollywood did romance in 2008, even if it was introduced by Robert Pattinson and Amanda Seyfried? Or a musical medley featuring Beyoncé, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens justified by the vague idea that “musicals are back”? But I digress….

 

As we were watching the show, my friends couldn’t help but make fun of the “Best Adapted Screenplay” category in an attempt to get a rise out of me, the lone “book person” in the room, by saying things like “How hard can it really be to write a screenplay based on a book?” So in honor of them, here are my Top 5 Adapted Screenplays (these are in no particular order):

 

1. The World According to Garp  – I devoured John Irving’s novel in first year biology (I tried to tell my parents I wouldn’t make a good doctor) and was amazed to discover how wonderful the movie was! John Lithgow’s turn as Roberta Muldoon is particularly memorable.

2. Pride and Prejudice, the 2005 version –  I don’t love reading Jane Austen (I know, I know, it’s a sin) but I so love watching her characters come to life on the big screen. And this version, adapted by Deborah Moggach and directed by Joe Wright, with its compact running time that doesn’t compromise any of the loving and losing and angst, is a winner. There was a rumor that the Moggach-Wright team was up for consideration for one of the upcoming Harry Potter films. If they could do wonders for Austen, imagine what they could do for Harry!

 

3. The Constant Gardener – Jeffrey Caine adapted this John le Carré novel for acclaimed director Fernando Meirelles.  This stellar script married political intrigue with an emotional tale of personal loss and inspired some amazing performances from Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes.

 

4. Lord of the Rings   – A predictable choice? Maybe. But there’s a reason that Lord of the Rings movie marathons happen at least once a year at my house (in addition to the fact that I am a big dork). Side note: Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh (who adapted the LOTR books) are currently in post-production on Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380510/fullcredits#writers)

 

5. To Kill A Mockingbird  – One of the first books that helped cement my love affair with writing and one of the first films that cemented my love of the movies.

I realize I missed a lot of classics here, like Ben-Hur, It Happened One Night and Gone With The Wind, so feel free to add your faves to this list!

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