Screenwriters for The Dig, Nomadland, White Tiger, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Queen’s Gambit, The Father, One Night in Miami and News of the World are possible award contenders for their adaptations of books and plays. They also provide a welcome array of reading possibilities. As COVID has affected the library's in-person services for almost a year now, the original sources for adapted screenplays constitute a de facto browsing shelf.
Books and Plays for Award Contenders
The following works are the basis for films that have been nominated or are likely to be nominated for Adapted Screenplay awards.
Blues singer Ma Rainey joins her band in a Chicago music studio for a tense recording session. This is one of the playwright’s ten Century Cycle or Pittsburgh plays that document the African American experience decade by decade during the twentieth century.
Beth Harmon learns to play chess from the janitor at her Kentucky orphanage where habit forming sedatives are doled out to all of the children. Beth’s brilliance at the game permit her to compete internationally at the highest level, an unheard-of accomplishment for a female chess player in the 1960s.
The Father, available together with the play The Mother, is a powerfully disorienting story of dementia that involves a father and his daughter.
This play brings to life a conversation on February 25, 1964 between Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Singer Sam Cooke, and football star Jim Brown. The four friends met in a hotel room to discuss segregation on the night that the boxer won the heavyweight championship.
A widower who reads news stories to gatherings of people is asked to deliver a ten year-old orphan from Wichita Falls to her relatives near San Antonio. Living with Kiowa who raised her as their own after killing her parents and sister, the girl she has no interest in travelling with this man who speaks a language she doesn’t understand.
Original Sources for Television Shows
Emmy Awards for television screenwriters honor those who write either for a comedy series, for a drama series, or for a limited series, movie or dramatic special. Individual episodes are highlighted, but there is no category specifying adaptation from existing material. Nonetheless, there is an abundance of new television series inspired by written sources.
Marriage prospects for debutants in 19th century Britain is the focus of this purely fictional romance series. The popular TV series, unlike the novels, casts Black actors as members of the royalty and aristocrats.
A 30-something list-making record store owner examines his previously failed relationships.
Sally Rooney’s immensely popular novel, Normal People, is a tale of deep friendship and irresistible love. Connell and Marianne are unlikely friends but the popular boy and the wallflower find an unexpected connection when they first talk. When they head to Trinity College together, their roles reverse and their profound connection is tested. At the root of their mutual fascination lies an intense friendship, but will that be enough to overcome their vast differences? The Hulu show Normal People is a limited series based on Rooney’s book.
Screenplays by Another Name
JoJo Rabbit, recipient of the 2020 Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, is based on the novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens. The TV show Killing Eve was inspired by Luke Jennings’ novel originally entitled Codename Villanelle. The following books are the inspiration for movies and a TV mini-series with a different title.
First Cow is adapted from this novel and focuses on two men in the Pacific Northwest, a cook for fur trappers and a Chinese immigrant, who form a business together. In the book, two female friends come across the remains of the men one hundred fifty years later.