As we enter the final weekend before the 86th Academy Awards on Monday night, I am struck by the fact most of the Best Picture nominees, screenplay nominees, directing nominees, acting nominees, and film editing nominees are based on real-life events and people. It’s a year dominated by true stories, most of which performed well at the box office, and most of which were adaptations.
Seven of this year’s nine Best Picture nominees —American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, andThe Wolf of Wall Street are based on true stories. In addition, six of the screenplay nominees, four of the five directing nominees, all of the lead actor and supporting actor nominees, five of the lead and supporting actress nominees, and four of the five film editing nominees are all from movies based on or inspired by real events. Only two nominees —Gravity and Her — are original fictional stories (and notice, both are science fiction of some sort, which is a cool win for that genre).
Additionally, four of the nine Best Picture nominees — Captain Phillips,Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, and The Wolf of Wall Street — are adapted from books. And ten of the twenty acting nominees are from films adapted from books or plays, with another (Blue Jasmine) seeming strongly inspired by a play (A Streetcar Named Desire).