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    If they gave Oscars to books, our 2022 nominees.

    Emily Temple

    February 8, 2023, 12:35pm

    The Academy Awards approach. And so, as we’ve done in the past, we have been preparing for the Fake Oscars by thinking about the Real Oscars: that’s right, the Book Oscars. Er, the Book Oscars that aren’t the National Book Awards. You can wear a gown to the National Book Awards. But you know what, you can also wear a gown to this blog post. It’s 2023—you do you.

    So what would the categories look like if they applied to books and not films? And which books would win under said invented circumstances? Those burning questions and more are answered below. Be warned in advance that this list will be just as incomplete as any, but at least here you can add on your own missing favorites in the comments.

    Best Novel (Best Picture)

    Hernan Diaz, Trust
    Jennifer Egan, The Candy House
    Tess Gunty, The Rabbit Hutch
    Gayl Jones, The Birdcatcher
    Namwali Serpell, The Furrows
    Yiyun Li, The Book of Goose
    Gabrielle Zevin, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow


    Best Real-Life Main Character (Actor in a Leading Role)

    Joan Didion’s Sunglasses
    Markus Dohle
    Prince Harry
    The HarperCollins Union
    Heather Havrilesky’s Marriage
    Colleen Hoover
    Art Spiegelman


    Best Debut Novel (Actor in a Supporting Role)

    Jane Campbell, Cat Brushing
    Jessamine Chan, The School for Good Mothers
    Xochitl Gonzalez, Olga Dies Dreaming
    Julia May Jonas, Vladimir
    Zain Khalid, Brother Alive
    Sarah Thankham Mathews, All This Could be Different
    Vauhini Vara, The Immortal King Rao


    Best YA Novel (Animated Feature Film)

    Jas Hammonds, We Deserve Monuments
    Tahereh Mafi, This Woven Kingdom
    Casey McQuiston, I Kissed Shara Wheeler
    Lio Min, Beating Heart Baby
    Sonora Reyes, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School
    Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage
    Emily J. Taylor, Hotel Magnifique


    Best Setting (Cinematography)

    Jessamine Chan, The School for Good Mothers : the terrifying titular “school”
    John Darnielle, Devil House : Milpitas, California
    Barbara Kingsolver, Demon Copperhead : Appalachia
    R.F. Kuang, Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution : Oxford
    Emily St. John Mandel, Sea of Tranquility : steamship, wilderness, the moon, etc.
    Joanna Quinn, The Whalebone Theatre : a theatre built from a whale skeleton
    Nghi Vo, Siren Queen : fantastical pre-Code Hollywood


    Best Book Jacket Design (Costume Design)

    Ling Ma, Bliss Montage, design by Rodrigo Corral
    Charles Simic, No Land in Sight, design by John Gall
    Selma Blair, Mean Baby, design by Janet Hansen
    Tess Gunty, The Rabbit Hutch, design by Linda Huang
    Fernando A. Flores, Valleyesque, design and illustration by Na Kim
    Sheila Heti, Pure Colour, design by Na Kim
    Elias Canetti, I Want to Keep Smashing Myself Until I Am Whole, design by Alex Merto, illustration by Ian Woods
    Fernanda Melchor, tr. Sophie Hughes, Paradais, design by Oliver Munday
    Gwen E. Kirby, Shit Cassandra Saw, design and illustration by Lydia Ortiz
    Lidia Yuknavitch, Thrust, design by Lauren Peters-Collaer


    Best Work of Nonfiction (Documentary—Feature)

    Rachel Aviv, Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us
    Jazmina Barrera, tr. Christina McSweeney, Linea Nigra: An Essay on Pregnancy and Earthquakes
    Ada Calhoun, Also a Poet: Frank O’Hara, My Father, and Me
    Hua Hsu, Stay True: A Memoir
    Margo Jefferson, Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir
    Chloé Cooper Jones, Easy Beauty: A Memoir
    Ed Yong, An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us


    Best Essay Collection (Documentary—Short Subject)

    Elaine Castillo, How to Read Now
    Melissa Febos, Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative
    Raquel Gutiérrez, Brown Neon
    Zora Neale Hurston, You Don’t Know Us Negroes
    Sabrina Imbler, How Far the Light Reaches
    Jhumpa Lahiri, Translating Myself and Others
    Dorthe Nors, tr. Caroline Waight, A Line in the World: A Year on the North Sea Coast
    Judith Thurman, A Left-Handed Woman


    Best Work of Experimental Literature (Film Editing)

    NoViolet Bulawayo, Glory
    Mircea Cartarescu, tr. Sean Cotter, Solenoid
    Jennifer Egan, The Candy House
    Kathryn Davis, Aurelia, Aurélia
    Mark Haber, Saint Sebastian’s Abyss
    Michelle de Kretser, Scary Monsters
    Ann Quin, Tripticks (reissue)
    Kathryn Scanlan, Kick the Latch


    Best Book in Translation (Foreign Language Film)

    Jazmina Barrera, tr. Christina McSweeney, Linea Nigra: An Essay on Pregnancy and Earthquakes
    Annie Ernaux, tr. Alison L. Strayer, Getting Lost
    Olivier Guez, tr. Georgia de Chamberet, The Disappearance of Josef Mengele
    Fernanda Melchor, tr. Sophie Hughes, Paradais
    Scholastique Mukasonga, tr. Mark Polizzotti, Kibogo
    Hiroko Oyamada, tr. David Boyd, Weasels in the Attic
    Olga Togarczuk, tr. Jennifer Croft, The Books of Jacob
    Emi Yagi, tr. David Boyd and Lucy North, Diary of a Void


    Best Meme Account (Production Design)



    Best Picture Book (Short Film—Animated)

    Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen, The Three Billy Goats Gruff
    Sophie Blackall, Farmhouse
    Michaela Goade, Berry Song
    Pablo Neruda, tr. Sara Lissa Paulson, illustrated by Paloma Valdivia, Book of Questions
    Derick Wilder, illustrated by K-Fai Steele, Does a Bulldozer Have a Butt?
    Kevin Young, illustrated by Chioma Ebinama, Emile and the Field


    Best Short Story Collection (Short Film—Live Action)

    Colin Barrett, Homesickness
    Jonathan Escoffery, If I Survive You
    Kim Fu, Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century
    Jamil Jan Kochai, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories
    Ling Ma, Bliss Montage: Stories
    George Saunders, Liberation Day
    Morgan Tatly, Night of the Living Rez


    Best Graphic Novel or Work of Graphic Nonfiction (Visual Effects)

    Kate Beaton, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands
    Jordan Crane, Keeping Two
    Michael DeForge, Birds of Maine
    Nick Drnaso, Acting Class
    James Spooner, The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere


    Best Work of SF/Fantasy/Horror/Speculative Fiction (Makeup and Hairstyling)

    Gretchen Felker-Martin, Manhunt
    Gabino Iglesias, The Devil Takes You Home
    Marlon James, Moon Witch, Spider King
    R.F. Kuang,Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution
    Emily St. John Mandel, Sea of Tranquility
    Sequoia Nagamatsu, How High We Go In the Dark
    Mónica Ojeda, tr. Sarah Booker, Jawbone
    Peng Shepherd, The Cartographers
    Erika T. Wurth, White Horse


    Best Book of Poetry (Sound Editing and Sound Mixing)

    Zeina Hashem Beck, O
    John Keene, Punks: New & Selected Poems
    Ada Limón, The Hurting Kind
    Bernadette Mayer, Milkweed Smithereens
    Sharon Olds, Balladz
    Solmaz Sharif, Customs
    Brian Tierney, Rise and Float
    Ocean Vuong, Time is a Mother
    Jenny Xie, The Rupture Tense

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