Oscar winners 2013 are dominated by literary adaptations

Among the biggest Oscar winners of 2013 were five movies that were adapted from books or articles, including 'Argo,' 'Life of Pi,' and 'Lincoln.'

John Shearer/Invision/AP
Three of the Oscar winners for 2013 were Ben Affleck (center), Grant Heslov (l.) and George Clooney (r.), who served as producers for the film 'Argo.' The movie was based on a magazine article first published in 2007.

The Oscars didn’t just honor achievements in filmmaking in 2013. With five of the six winners of the big prizes going to movies that started as books, the Oscars also honored great writing. 

The Best Picture winner of the night, the movie “Argo,” was originally based on an article for Wired magazine by writer Joshuah Berman. The original piece was titled “How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans From Tehran” and was published in 2007.

Meanwhile, of the four top acting awards, three went to stars who appeared in movies based on books. Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who won the Best Actor prize, had starred in the movie “Lincoln,” which was based on the 2005 Doris Kearns Goodwin biography “Team of Rivals.” Jennifer Lawrence, who won the Best Actress award, appeared in the film “Silver Linings Playbook,” which was adapted from the 2008 novel of the same name by Matthew Quick. Best Supporting Actress winner Anne Hathaway starred in “Les Miserables,” a musical adaptation of the 1862 Victor Hugo classic.

In addition, director Ang Lee took the statuette for his movie “Life of Pi,” which was based on the 2001 novel of the same title. The movie “Django Unchained,” for which Christoph Waltz won a Best Supporting Actor statuette, was an original work, though the film paid homages to many classic stories, including the 1936 novel “Gone with the Wind.”

Last year, it was a different story. In 2012, only one out of the six winners in the top Oscar categories was awarded to a film adapted from a book. That one was Octavia Spencer, who won a Best Supporting Actress award for her role in the film adaptation of the 2009 Kathryn Stockett novel “The Help.” 

Literary films that took other 2013 Oscars included “Anna Karenina,” based on the 1873 Tolstoy classic, which won Best Costumes, and “Skyfall,” which was based on the character of James Bond first written about in Ian Fleming’s novels, which won Best Original Song and tied for Sound Editing.

“Argo” also won Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing, while “Lincoln” won Best Production Design. “Les Miserables” took home Best Sound Mixing and Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and “Life of Pi” snagged the Best Visual Effects award as well as Best Original Score and Best Cinematography.

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