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Your 2023 Oscars Reading List

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • February 09, 2023

The 2023 Oscar nominations have been announced and, as usual, several of the nominated films have their roots in literature. Learn about the source material behind this year's top films. You can pick up the related reads and a handful of the nominated movies before the ceremony on March 12.

All Quiet on the Western Front

Based on the powerful anti-war novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German WWI veteran, this German adaptation has been nominated for nine awards including Best Picture, International Film, Cinematography, and Adapted Screenplay. This is the third adaptation of the 1929 book. The 1930 movie version was the first Best Picture winner to be based on a novel. And a 1979 TV film starred Richard Thomas and Ernest Borgnine.

Women Talking

The 2018 novel behind Sarah Polley's Best Picture-nominated film was inspired by the true story of a Mennonite colony where a group of men were accused of drugging and raping the community's women and girls. The pensive story by Miriam Toews depicts the conversations of a group of the affected women who are discussing what to do about the situation. This film is also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.


Directed and cowritten by Baz Luhrmann, this biopic starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks could be inspired by Alanna Nash's 2001 nonfiction book, The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley, chronicling the life of Elvis Presley's notorious manager. The film is nominated for eight awards including Best Picture, Actor, and Cinematography.


Ana de Armas is nominated for Best Actress for her performance in this film based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates that boldly reimagines the life of Marilyn Monroe. It's a provocative account based on a heady mix of Hollywood myth and heartbreaking reality.


Japanese-British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for this movie inspired by a 1952 Japanese film Ikiru, which is, itself, based on the novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy. It's sort of like a set of British-Japanese-Russian nesting dolls. The story concerns a man who tries to change his life after learning he's dying.

The Quiet Girl

Claire Keegan's radiant novel, Foster, inspired this Irish film, nominated for Best International Feature Film. It tells the story of a young girl sent by her father to live with relatives on a farm, not knowing when, or if, she will ever return. But in this new household, she finds an affection and warmth she's never known.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The sequel to 2018's Black Panther received nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Angela Bassett), Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Song, and Visual Effects. Bassett's nod made history as she is the first woman and the first POC to be nominated for a performance in a comic book adaptation. The Black Panther franchise stands as an icon of Afrofuturism.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Fittingly nominated for Best Costume Design, this is the third adaptation of the lighthearted 1958 novel by Paul Gallico about an irrepressible British cleaning woman on a quest for couture.


Nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Brian Tyree Henry), this is a story about a soldier struggling to adjust to life while recovering from injuries she sustained during a tour in Afghanistan. Although it is not an adaptation, the screenplay was cowritten by celebrated novelist Ottessa Moshfegh, the author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation.

A few more Oscar-nominated movies you can enjoy

Not many of the nominated films are available on DVD yet, but here are a couple that we have on hand.

An in case you missed it

Here are some of the great books that have inspired Best Picture winners during the last quarter century.

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Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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