Goodreads Blog

Can We Use Book Data to Call the Oscar Best Actor and Actress Race?

Posted by Hayley on February 22, 2016


From Room to The Revenant, Oscar voters can't get enough of book adaptations. Nowhere is this trend more obvious than in the Best Actor and Best Actress categories.



Yes, movies have been based on books and true stories since the silent film era, but this year represents a notable spike: While true story adaptations remain relatively flat, the number of best actor or actress nominees who starred in movies based on books have reached a new peak this year.



An even bigger indicator? Movies in which book and true story adaptation overlap. That has been a clear path to Oscar glory in the Best Actor category.



All of this year's Best Actor nominees are from movies based on books and true stories, except for one: Matt Damon's turn as a stranded astronaut in the science fiction thriller The Martian.

However, Oscar voters don't seem to favor true stories as much in the Best Actress category. While two out of the past three Best Actress winners have been from films based on books—Julianne Moore in Still Alice and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook, you have to go back to 2011 to find a true story adaptation taking home the award.

But let's get back to this year. The nine book-to-film adaptations nominated for a Best Actor or Best Actress Oscar fall into two very distinct groups: Based on a blockbuster book OR based on a book most people have never heard of (let alone read).





Book popularity isn't everything—but it does matter, especially in the Best Actress category. The last two book-to-film adaptations to take home the Best Actress award (Julianne Moore in Still Alice and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook) were based on books with over 100k ratings on Goodreads. The opposite seems to be true for the Best Actor category. You have to go all the way back to 2003 (Sean Penn in Mystic River) to find a book with over 50k ratings on Goodreads taking home the prize.

When we combine our Goodreads book data with current Oscar trends, we're left with two predictions for the big award night:

OUR PREDICTIONS
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
A performance in a movie based on a true story and a less popular book

Best Actress: Brie Larson in Room
A performance in a movie based on a very popular book and not on a true story


Add the books that inspired the Oscar-nominated films to your Want to Read shelf!
Brooklyn
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The Price of Salt (Adapted as Carol)
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The Danish Girl
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The Martian
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The Revenant
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Room
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Steve Jobs
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Trumbo
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The Kite Runner
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What was your favorite book-to-film adaptation of 2015? Tell us in the comments!

Comments (showing 1-33 of 33) (33 new)

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message 1: by Iris (new)

Iris I think that Matt Damon should win for The Martian. He carries the entire film with his brains, sarcasm and wit. You root for his victory and it's inspiring and not in the least depressing. (As many of the others.)

Best picture, for me, would be either Brooklyn, The Martian, Carol or Room. (Not that Carol was nominated.) Room is a shoo in to win it though...


message 2: by Caroline (new)

Caroline I hope Leonardo DiCaprio wins an Oscar for his role in The Revenant. A truly outstanding performance.
I had not heard of the book until the film was released but it is definitely on my to read list now
One of my favourite book to film adaptations (not in 2015 however) is"The House of Sand and Fog" by Andre Dubas. "Gone With the Wind" is another!!


message 3: by Kristy (new)

Kristy Miller Iris wrote: "I think that Matt Damon should win for The Martian. He carries the entire film with his brains, sarcasm and wit. You root for his victory and it's inspiring and not in the least depressing. (As man..."

I don't think there are any shoo-ins this year, Iris. I've seen 6 of the 8 nominated best pictures so far, with The Revenant and Brooklyn scheduled for Saturday. They are all strong, great films, and very different. I don't see any run-away film this year.


message 4: by Aja: (new)

Aja: The Narcoleptic Ninja Iris wrote: "I think that Matt Damon should win for The Martian. He carries the entire film with his brains, sarcasm and wit. You root for his victory and it's inspiring and not in the least depressing. (As man..."

I completely agree. As much as I can appreciate Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor, I think Matt Damon really carried that film and played his role as Mark Watney extremely well.


♥ Sandi ❣	without a doubt - The Revenant


message 6: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Bašić The Martian and great Andy Weir!


message 7: by GypsyBookworm (new)

GypsyBookworm Caroline wrote: "I hope Leonardo DiCaprio wins an Oscar for his role in The Revenant. A truly outstanding performance.
I had not heard of the book until the film was released but it is definitely on my to read lis..."


I agree that dicaprio needs an Oscar. He is overdue for one.


Latanya (CraftyScribbles) I hope The Reverent wins it all. Also, Brie Larson has it locked for Room, which was good.


message 9: by Joshie (new)

Joshie I am Carol Team all the way.


message 10: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Hannah wrote: "Caroline wrote: "I hope Leonardo DiCaprio wins an Oscar for his role in The Revenant. A truly outstanding performance.
I had not heard of the book until the film was released but it is definitely ..."


He certainly is Hannah!!


message 11: by Jeanette (new)

Jeanette Iris wrote: "I think that Matt Damon should win for The Martian. He carries the entire film with his brains, sarcasm and wit. You root for his victory and it's inspiring and not in the least depressing. (As man..."

My sentiments exactly! One of the things I absolutely love about The Martian (both novel and film) is how in the face of everything going wrong, and being alone on another world with no hope of survival, Watney as well as the rest of the characters are so positive and unrelenting. It's a great testament to human spirit, and refreshing not to have such a gloomy approach to something as terrifying as losing an astronaut on Mars.

Currently, I'm torn between Leonardo and Matt; will be interesting to see who grabs the statue.


message 12: by Melissa (new)

Melissa  I I'm going by author on this one because this blog 'really' caught my attention and as an extreme movie lover (acting dreams) and of course a major book lover (writer dreams) the one I'm most familiar with from here on Goodreads, having the book on my must read it asap, wishlist, seeing the awesomeness of the Golden Globes and the red carpet excitement to the announcements of nominees and winners, then onto the Oscars.....the book and movie I'm always talking about wanting to read and see the movie is hands down The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff by the awesome David Ebershoff

So, I haven't had the chance to read the book or see the movie due to personal circumstances of I'm broke and I have zero means to go anywhere, I'm going by gut instinct, observation, the author and the intuition rarely steers me wrong. It has winner written all over it, in my humble opinion. I look forward to coming back here after I've read and watched, to say.......I Loved them both!!

~*Happy Reading and Movie Watching, Everyone*~


message 13: by Helen (new)

Helen Caroline wrote: "I hope Leonardo DiCaprio wins an Oscar for his role in The Revenant. A truly outstanding performance.
I had not heard of the book until the film was released but it is definitely on my to read lis..."

Yes House of Sand and Fog is outstanding!


message 14: by My Abdellah (new)

My Abdellah Still bummed that Sorkin incredible work wasn't nominated... the rest doesn't matter that much to me


message 15: by Carrie (new)

Carrie ♥ Sandi wrote: "without a doubt - The Revenant"

YES!


message 16: by Vanessa (last edited Feb 23, 2016 11:05AM) (new)

Vanessa Gillatly I've read the book The Revenant as well as seen the movie, and they are insanely different! That being said, both we're great in their own ways and I hope Leonardo wins!


message 17: by Crazyforbooks (new)

Crazyforbooks I loved "Room" film adaptation (I've read the book some time ago). It's a great movie, and Jacob Tremblay is simply amazing! I think Brie Larson will win Best Actress.


Nidah (SleepDreamWrite) Vanessa wrote: "I've read the book The Revenant as well as seen the movie, and they are insanely different! That being said, both we're great in their own ways and I hope Leonardo wins!"

Agreed. I'm hoping the same for Tom Hardy. Even if he doesn't win, its nice that he at least got nominated.


message 19: by Iris (new)

Iris Hannah wrote: "Caroline wrote: "I hope Leonardo DiCaprio wins an Oscar for his role in The Revenant. A truly outstanding performance.
I had not heard of the book until the film was released but it is definitely ..."


He is overdue for one, but I don't think he should win for The Revenant. He is excellent, but I believe Damon to be more deserving this year. Dicaprio should have won for The Wolf of Wall Street but was stiffed.


message 20: by Laura (new)

Laura LVD The "book popularity" is not a very good indicator in my opinion. Most people read the book after the movie is out. So in most cases it´s actually the movie that makes a book popular, not the other way around.


message 21: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Gillatly Nidah (SleepDreamWrite) wrote: "Vanessa wrote: "I've read the book The Revenant as well as seen the movie, and they are insanely different! That being said, both we're great in their own ways and I hope Leonardo wins!"

Agreed. I..."


Me too! He was the perfect Fitzgerald, exactly what I pictured when I read the book.


message 22: by Mikey (new)

Mikey Iris wrote: "I think that Matt Damon should win for The Martian. He carries the entire film with his brains, sarcasm and wit. You root for his victory and it's inspiring and not in the least depressing. (As man..."

I really loved The Martian, Room, Mad Max, and Spotlight. I could watch all of these multiple times. I thought The Revenant was a great single watch and The Big Short completely forgettable. I want to see Brooklyn, but viewing opportunities are limited. Anyway, I agree with you about Matt Damon carrying that film. I would absolutely love to see him win for that role.


message 23: by Iris (new)

Iris Mikey wrote: "Iris wrote: "I think that Matt Damon should win for The Martian. He carries the entire film with his brains, sarcasm and wit. You root for his victory and it's inspiring and not in the least depres..."

Brooklyn is great!! Its sweet, subtle, and very re-watchable.


message 24: by Erma (new)

Erma Talamante I must be living under a rock again... (It happens...)

I have not seen any of the movies listed, nor read any of the books they were based on. Will be interesting to see if the predictions ring true though... If so, I vote that this becomes an annual feature!


message 25: by Laura (new)

Laura LVD Erma wrote: "I must be living under a rock again... (It happens...)

I have not seen any of the movies listed, nor read any of the books they were based on. Will be interesting to see if the predictions ring tr..."


Neither do i. But i don´t usually pay much attention to best sellers list or blockbuster movies. I tend to read on a whim, in no particular order, or when i find something that seems too good to miss. I pay attention to what my friends read as well as we have similar tastes.
Last year I saw The Martian at the bookshop and thought it might be interesting, but in the end bought something else. It is in my TBR list.


message 26: by Nidah (SleepDreamWrite) (last edited Feb 24, 2016 05:29PM) (new)

Nidah (SleepDreamWrite) Erma wrote: "I must be living under a rock again... (It happens...)

I have not seen any of the movies listed, nor read any of the books they were based on. Will be interesting to see if the predictions ring tr..."


The only one I read was the Revenant. Movie was good too. Though I hear good things about the Martian and Room. Might read those.


message 27: by Anna (new)

Anna "All of this year's Best Actor nominees are from movies based on books and true stories, except for one: Matt Damon's turn as a stranded astronaut in the science fiction thriller The Martian."

Can this be reworded? It sounds like you're saying that The Martian is not a book.


message 28: by Melissa (new)

Melissa  I ~*Congraulations*~ Alicia Vikander for her win as Best actress in supporting role for The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff and for all the nominations this movie received. Huge Congratulations to David Ebershoff for the success his book and this movie have received!


message 29: by Drishti (last edited Feb 28, 2016 11:00PM) (new)

Drishti Gosh! These predictions were so true! Are you sure you aren't an Oracle or something? Just kidding, lol! XD


message 30: by D.G. (new)

D.G. Oh Lord! You were right! Hahahaha!


message 31: by Erma (new)

Erma Talamante Would love to see this feature again next year!


Nidah (SleepDreamWrite) Erma wrote: "Would love to see this feature again next year!"

Same here.


message 33: by Drishti (new)

Drishti Erma wrote: "I must be living under a rock again... (It happens...)

I have not seen any of the movies listed, nor read any of the books they were based on. Will be interesting to see if the predictions ring tr..."


We're in the same boat then! :)


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