As a huge nerd, the Oscar category I anticipate most each year is Best Adapted Screenplay. There’s something uniquely creative and scholarly about deconstructing a book line-by-line, condensing several scenes into one, inventing devices to lend greater truth to the narrative, and building with images the unspoken words that authors have the luxury of telling readers outright. I like imagining how beaten, dog-eared, and annotated the screenwriter’s copy of the source material must be, and the adapter’s inevitable hours of turmoil of having to sacrifice beautiful scenes for the ruthless economy required of a good film.
It bothers me when people say, “The book is always better than the movie.” It’s a blanket statement I think people say to sound smart, but it’s simply not true (unless you’re talking about Harry Potter). The Devil Wears Prada the movie was leagues better than the charmless book by Lauren Weisberger. The Godfather films will long outlast Mario Puzo’s pulpy potboiler. In the hands of screenwriters and directors who aren’t afraid to take risks, a film adaptation can elevate the source material into a new stratosphere. READ FULL STORY