It has been a general trend in Hollywood to adapt novels into movies. While various books are adapted into movies, I believe that it is a safer bet for movie makers to target a novel which is already highly acclaimed. A best selling book which has won the Pulitzer prize thus becomes an ideal candidate. While various Pulitzer prize winning novels are adapted into movies, here I have listed down some of the best novels which when made into movies were also recipients of the Academy Awards. This is not a complete list of all such books but just a few which I intended to mention. So, here is a list of Pulitzer Prize Winning novels to Academy Award Winning Movies.
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton won the Pulitzer prize for best novel in the year 1921 for ‘The Age of Innocence’ published in 1920. 73 years later, the novel was adapted into a movie directed by none other than Martin Scorsese. While the movie just won one Academy Award by Gabriella Pescucci for Best Costume Design, it was nominated in four other categories including Martin Scorsese’s nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Also, Edith Wharton was the first woman to win the Pulitzer prize with this novel.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The potential of this 1937 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Margaret Mitchell was realized very early and made into a movie in 1939. The movie won a total of 10 Academy Awards including major awards like Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. Just to add to the magnonimity of the novel let me put forward an interesting information. According to a Harris poll done in 2014, this novel has been found as the second most popular book among American readers only behind The Bible.
To read more about the awards and nominations for Gone with the Wind refer the article Books made into Academy Award winning movies for Best Picture from 1927 to 1950.
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The Yearling first published in 1938 won Marjorie Rawlings the Pulitzer prize in the consecutive year. Eight years later the book was made into a movie with the same name. This 1946 movie directed by Clarence Brown and produced by Sidney Franklin won two Academy Awards. Cedric Gibbons and Paul Groesse won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction and Charles Rosher, Leonard Smith and Arthur Arling were conferred the award for Best Cinematography. The movie was also nominated in major categories like that of Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Film Editing.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck won the 1940 Pulitzer prize for his highly acclaimed novel The Grapes of Wrath. In the same year John Ford decided to make a movie on this novel. He adapted the story and retained the name. The movie was produced by Darry F. Zanuck and Nunnally Johnson. The protagonist of the story Tom Joad was played by Henry Fonda. John Ford for his brilliant direction won the Academy Award for Best Director while Jane Darwell who played the role of Tom Joad’s mother, Ma Joad won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The movie was also nominated in other important categories like Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound Recording.
All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
All the King’s Men a 1946 novel, garnered Robert Penn Warren the Pulitzer prize in 1947. Robert Rossen saw the potential of the novel to be adapted into a movie. He not only adapted the screenplay of the movie, but also decided to produce and direct it. The movie under the same name released in 1949 won three major Academy Awards - Academy Award for Best Picture to Robert Rossen Production, Academy Award for Best Actor to Broderick Crawford and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress to Mercedes McCambridge.
Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener
James A. Michener wrote a series of sequentially related short stories about the Pacific campaign in World War II in Tales of the South Pacific. The book was first published in 1947 and James Michener won the Pulitzer prize for the same in 1948. Ten years after it won the Pulitzer prize, the movie under the same name was released. It was made into a romantic musical film directed by Joshua Logan and produced by Buddy Adler. For this movie Fred Hynes won the Academy Award for Best Sound and it also had a nomination for Best Cinematography.
Every bibliophile when reading a novel visualizes the story at the back of his head. The author’s description of the characters and the setting of each episode makes us see the world he has created in the books. When a book or a novel is adapted into a movie, what is interesting to see is if our imagination of the world created by the author matches those of others. But then movie makers add their own elements of imagination to the same and editing becomes a very important task for a successful interpretation. How many of these Pulitzer prize winning novels have you read? If yes, then have you watched the Academy Award winning Movies made on them and do you believe that the movie makers did justify the setting of the novel? Nevertheless, even if you have not watched the movies, these Pulitzer prize winning novels are some of the greatest books you got to read.