Readersforum's Blog

February 3, 2012

Oscars’ big winners will be books

Oscars on the shelf … Jennifer Lawrence and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Tom Sherak at this week's nominations. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Literary adaptations look set to sweep the board in Hollywood this year.

ByJohn Dugdale

Six of the nine nominations announced this week for Best Picture are based on books, reflecting a recent pattern in which the Oscar lists have consistently and gratifyingly affirmed cinema’s dependence on literature. Apart from a modest lurch towards originality in 2010, the previous five years saw line-ups in which half or more of the shortlistees were adaptations, including the winners No Country for Old Men (2008), Slumdog Millionaire (2009) and The King’s Speech (2011).

It’s not classic novels that attract movie-makers. Of the books turned into nominated films this time, only Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse (1982) was not published in the noughties. The others are Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret (filmed as Hugo), Jonathan Safran Foer’s 9/11 novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Moneyball by Michael Lewis (the second non-fiction sports title by him in three years to generate a Best Picture nominee, as he also wrote the source of Blind Side), and two debuts, Kaui Hart Hemmings’s The Descendants and Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. It’s the first time for quite a while – conceivably since 1940, when Gone with the Wind won and Wuthering Heights was among the nominees – that versions of two novels by women have been listed for the most coveted Oscar.

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January 31, 2012

The Help triumphs at SAG film awards

Filed under: film adaptations — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 3:29 pm

The Help takes top honours at the Screen Actors Guild awards

Civil rights drama The Help has won three prizes at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards, including best cast and best actress for Viola Davis.

Another of the film’s stars, Octavia Spencer, was named best supporting actress.

“Dream big and dream fierce,” Davis told the audience at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium on Sunday.

Silent movie The Artist, tipped for Oscar glory, could only manage one win, a best actor prize for Jean Dujardin.

The SAG awards are seen as a key indicator of which films and stars may come out on top at the Oscars.

Actors make up the biggest voting group in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which picks the Oscar recipients.

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December 28, 2011

Movies based on books a hit at Golden Globe Awards

Movies based on books a hit at Golden Globe Awards

Indian filmmakers may stay away from literature, but it seems the international film fraternity simply loves to sift through books, novels, short stories and plays for inspiration. A case in point is the nomination list for the 69th Golden Globe Awards where six movies vying for “best film” are inspired by literary works.

Be it the story of a father trying to reconnect with his daughter in The Descendants or the journey of African maids in The Help or political thriller The Ides of March, directors from different countries decided to adapt beautiful stories to connect with the audience.

The other three in the best film category are Hugo, Moneyball and War Horse – all with a literary connection. The awards will be presented Jan 15 in Los Angeles.

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August 19, 2011

‘The Help': Judge Tosses Lawsuit Claiming Character Stolen From Real-Life Maid

Ablene Cooper, a maid in Jackson, Miss., claimed the character Aibileen (played by Viola Davis in the film) was based on her.

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By Matthew Belloni

The Help author just got a little assistance from a Mississippi judge.

Katherine Stockett, who wrote the book on which the hit movie about maids and their employers in the1960s South is based, on Tuesday was granted summary judgment in a lawsuit brought by a woman who claimed Stockett used her likeness without permission.

Ablene Cooper, a maid in Jackson, Miss., claimed the character Aibileen (played by Viola Davis in the film) was based on her. But Judge Tomie Green has dismissed the case based on a one-year statute of limitations that elapsed between when Stockett gave Cooper a copy of the book and when the lawsuit was filed. Cooper had sought $75,000 in damages.

The case is somewhat ironic given that the plot of The Help centers around a controversial book written by a young white woman about a group of anonymous black maids who are mistreated in white homes.

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August 14, 2011

The ghosts of Mississippi still haunt Hollywood

Filed under: film adaptations — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 4:03 pm

A film adaptation of a bestselling book about Civil Rights-era America has polarised critics. Sarah Hughes goes South.

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For the millions of devoted fans who devoured the book on which it is based, The Help, which opened in the US this week and comes to the UK in late October, is one of the most anticipated films of 2011. It is also one of the most controversial. Directed by the little-known Tate Taylor (whose biggest credit is as an actor on indie hit Winter’s Bone), the adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel tells the story of a young white woman, Skeeter Phelan, and her relationship with two black maids in Civil Rights-era America.

Early reviews have been largely positive and even generated some early Oscar buzz with Variety’s Peter Debruge hailing its “Southern sass and feel-good sensitivity”, and David Germain of Associated Press describing it as “a class act” and “popular big-screen entertainment at its best.”

Even those reviewers who were less convinced, such as The Hollywood Reporter’s Kurt Honeycutt, who acerbically pointed out that “the film seems as if it were made in a void of cinematic ignorance as if no motion picture of that or any other era ever tackled this topic”, admitted that the acting (in particular the performances of Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, who play the two maids) were “magnificent”.

Nor was he the only one to single out the cast, with a number of US critics and bloggers predicting nominations for Davis (the stoic Aibileen), Spencer (the more defiant Minnie) and rising star Emma Stone (Skeeter) and even talk of a nod for Bryce Dallas Howard’s turn as the film’s villain.

On paper The Help, with its strong cast (it also features Allison Janney and Jessica Chastain), and story of triumph over adversity and friendship across the colour divide, screams Oscar-friendly fare. Hollywood loves to pat itself on the back and The Help is the sort of sentimental, broadly told and unchallenging take on race relations that you would expect to appeal to the people who named Crash best picture in 2006, and a year ago nominated The Blind Side for best film.

It helps also that it is certain to be a box-office hit: Stockett’s novel, which took five years to write and was rejected by more than 45 agents, has sold more than five million copies worldwide since its publication in 2009 and, having spent 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in hardback form, is currently the No 1 bestselling paperback in America. It dominates book clubs (and was chosen by Channel 4 for its TV Book Club in 2010) and was one of the two most inescapable books of last year if you happen to be a woman who reads (the other being David Nicholls’s One Day).

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August 10, 2011

Book Buzz: ‘The Help’ jumps to No. 1

Filed under: Lists — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 11:01 am

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USA TODAY

‘Help’ arrives: It took some help from Hollywood, but The Help has hit No. 1 on USA Today’s Best-Selling Books list for the first time after spending 111 weeks on the list. Kathryn Stockett’s debut novel about black maids in 1960s Mississippi made it as high as No. 2 for two weeks in June, but anticipation over the the movie version with Emma Stone and Viola Davis (due Wednesday) has sent the book to the top. First published in February 2009, The Help made its debut at No. 142 on May 28, 2009. It has since has sold more than 3 million copies in hardcover. Two paperback editions are in stores, including the movie tie-in, released on June 28. More than 2 million paperback copies are in print, and the e-book also is selling well.

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July 14, 2011

The Help’ hits No. 1 on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list

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By Deirdre Donahue

‘Help’ arrives: It took some help from Hollywood, but The Help has hit No. 1 on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list for the first time, after spending 111 weeks on the list.

Kathryn Stockett’s debut novel about black maids in 1960s Mississippi made it as high as No. 2 for two weeks in June, but anticipation over the movie version with Emma Stone and Viola Davis (due Aug. 10) has sent the book to the top.

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February 24, 2011

The dirty secrets of “The Help”

Filed under: Lawsuits — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:50 am

A black maid sues a white author for stealing her story, but is that what’s really going on?

 By Laura Miller

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It’s inevitable, apparently: Any writer lucky enough to produce a book that  spends months on the bestseller list will be sued. So, Kathryn Stockett, come on down!

Stockett is the author of “The Help,” a debut novel, first published in 2009, that went on to sell well over 2 million copies. Earlier this month, Ablene Cooper, an African-American maid and baby sitter working in Jackson, Miss., where “The Help” is set, filed suit against Stockett. Cooper accused Stockett of causing her to “experience severe emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation and outrage” by appropriating “her identity for an unpermitted use and holding her to the public eye in a false light.”

At issue is Aibileen Clark, a character in “The Help.”              …read more

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