Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscars For Novelists?


Michael and I have seen more than our share of movies this year on the big screen so I’m paying closer attention to the Oscars than usual. But it got me to thinking, why isn’t there an award show for writers? Just for writers.

As a writer, do I dare approach that question without sounding childish?

I can’t help it though. Think about it.

What books or stories have you read recently, or years ago, that you remember vividly? What characters still linger and come to your mind at the strangest times?

What novel, if any, has had the capacity to haunt you for days, weeks, and years?

What author consistently moves you like few others?

What in their voice gives them the edge?

What common thread weaves their unforgettable stories to the cloak of your memory?

And what happens when that book is made into a movie? Are you one of the many who say, "... yeah, but the book was better."

The majority of movies produced are a direct result of the novel. Though some films are retitled, many producers use the book's title. I remember watching old news footage of Margaret Mitchell appearing at the Oscars—a moment of inspiration from my youth. But since, I can’t recall a novelist at the Oscars. I think if they go, they’re seated way in the back somewhere. Perhaps I’m wrong. I hope that I am.

Still, I don’t remember J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Pat Conroy, or even Jodi Picoult appearing at an awards show. When the cast of The Help walked the Red Carpet last year, was Kathryn Stockett among them? Does anyone know?

Sometimes an actor, when making an acceptance speech, will acknowledge the author. I recall Queen Latifah thanking Sue Monk Kidd for writing The Secret Life of Bees. Quite possibly I’m wrong to think the author should have anything to do with the film once the story is in the hands of Steven Spielberg. Maybe that's awards enough. But when a book is optioned and the rights sold, should the author disappear into oblivion? If not for the book … would the academy-award winning film have been made?

Writers who give breath and blood to create, publish, and promote are not guaranteed success to any degree. No more than any other artist. But if their novel is lucky enough to have made it to the big time--developed into a hugely successful film and recognized by the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Oscars, should there not be something more than a nod to the author?

Just sayin’.

Blessings to you and yours.


B. J. Robinson said...

I agree. Writing a novel is not an easy task, though people who have never tried it might think it is. It's sad that the author created it and disappears from the credits. Without the author's imagination and creativity, it never would have been. Blessings for success with your great and wonderful work. I find that common thread in your writing, one I can identify with from being from the South, and I love it.

Lynn said...

Great post Pam, and oh so timely! However, you've got me thinking now and I do believe you've ruined a dream. I've had my "acceptance speech" penned and ready since I was ten LOL. I've never given it thought that I've never seen the "writer" accept the award for best picture. Even the screenwriting award is usually a gang of people crowding the stage giving their speech during a commercial break. I remember reading a story about a writer who actually got to be on set in a movie staring Brando. Brando didn't know the person was the writer and asked for a coffee refill. When the person was introduced as the writer, Brando looked them up and down and then held out his coffee cup. I giggle.