The 2021 Academy Awards are just around the corner! On April 25th the Oscars ceremony will begin at 8pm. This month, the Piscataway Public Library book displays are filled with popular titles that inspired a number of Oscar-nominated films. Whether you’re looking for an older title like Gone with the Wind or one of this year’s nominees The Trial of the Chicago 7, the library has everything you need!
J. D. Vance’s memoir is an eye-opening portrayal of America’s white working middle class and his family’s struggles with breaking the cycle of abuse, poverty, and trauma. Vance recounts his poor upbringing and how he was able to graduate from Yale Law School, despite the obstacles. Hillbilly Elegy was adapted into a film this year and is currently nominated for a 2021 Academy Award. This title is also available as a downloadable ebook and it is available to stream on Netflix.
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 : The Official Transcript by Mark L. Levine (2021 – Nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Original Song, and Best Original Screenplay)
In 1969 seven men were put on trial for conspiring to incite violence at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. The trial attracted media attention as a result of the constant outbursts and interruptions from the defendants. Highlights from the trial testimony are included, as well as information on what happened to the seven prominent figures from the trial, including Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Arlo Guthrie, Judy Collins, and Norman Mailer. Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed the 2021 Oscar-nominated film. The film is available to stream on Netflix.
Black Power Afterlifes: The Enduring Significance of the Black Panther Party by Diane Fujino (2021 Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song, and Best Original Screenplay)
Fujino and Harmachis deliver a comprehensive examination of the history and significance of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and 1970s. Not only does the book take a look at the prominent time period of the Black Panther’s activism, but the book examines how the actions of the party continues to impact modern Black activism. This year the Academy nominated the film Judas and the Black Messiah, which focuses on the leader of the Black Panther Party, Fred Hampton, in a powerful film starring Daniel Kaluuya. The film is in theaters now.
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin (2019 – Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Score, and Best Adapted Screenplay)
Nineteen year old Tish and her boyfriend Fonny discover that Tish is expecting their first child, despite Fonny’s families uncertainty about the two becoming parents so young. However, when Fonny is convicted of a crime and thrown into prison, Tish and her family set out to prove Fonny’s innocence in a story that examines the justice system’s treatment of African Americans and a hope for change. This title is also available as a downloadable ebook and the film is available to here.
When Elio’s family takes in Oliver, a summer guest, at their mansion on the Italian Riviera, a sudden romance blossoms between the two. The passion, desire, and fascination the two share leads to a conclusion that will alter their perspective on love and longing. Characterized as one of the greatest love stories of all time, Call Me by Your Name was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 2018 starring Timothee Chalamet. The film is available here.
A Long Way Home by Larry Buttrose and Saroo Brierley (2017 – Nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress)
Saroo Brierley was only five years old when he was separated from his family and his hometown after getting lost on a train in India. Now a young man, Saroo sets out to discover his origins and to find his family. After using Google Earth to try to pinpoint his hometown, Saroo goes on an inspiring journey to rediscover his past and reclaim his identity. Saroo’s story inspired the 2017 film Lion starring Dev Patel and was nominated for a number of Oscars. This film is available here.
The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort (2014 – Nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director)
The book that inspired the Oscar-nominated 2014 film, The Wolf of Wall Street, readers can now get an inside perspective on the events that occurred on Wall Street from the man himself, Jordan Belfort. In the 1990s, “Belfort became one of the most infamous kingpins in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper” consumed by greed and power, which led to his eventual downfall. This title is also available as a downloadable ebook and the film is available here.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (1976 – Nominated for 9 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director)
Randle Patrick McMurphy, a rebellious and spirited man, arrives at a mental hospital where he quickly befriends the other patients at the facility. Constantly breaking the rules, Randle finds himself at odds with Nurse Ratched, who’s power and authority causes Randle and the rest of the men to fight for their rights as patients and human beings. The classic novel was adapted into a 1976 film that won the Academy Award for Best Picture. This title is also available as a downloadable ebook and the film is available here.
Q & A by Vikas Swarup (2009 – Nominated for 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay)
Q & A inspired the 2009 Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, which won the hearts of audiences everywhere. The story begins with Ram Mohammad Thomas in an Indian prison, locked up after answering the first twelve questions correctly on the popular Indian game show “Who Will Win a Billion?” Being accused of cheating his way to the top, Ram tells his remarkable story and how various events in his life gave him the answers to each question. The film is available here.
Foxcatcher : The True Story Of My Brother’s Murder, John Du Pont’s Madness, And The Quest For Olympic Gold by Mark Schultz (2015 – Nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay)
Mark Schultz provides the inside story surrounding the murder of Olympic gold metal winner, Dave Schultz, at the Foxcatcher Farms estate in 1996. The heir of the du Pont family, John E. du Pont, shot him three times. He was considered the wealthiest convicted murderer of all time. Mark Schultz tells the true story of what happened that day and the effect it had on his family. The book was adopted into a 2015 Oscar-nominated film starring Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo. The film is available here.