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Will there be overdue Oscar love for 'Anna Karenina'?

March 18, 2011 |  2:44 pm

William Faulkner considered Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" to be the greatest book ever written, but screen adaptations have never been appreciated at the Oscars. Greta Garbo was voted best actress by the New York Film Critics Circle for her 1935 rendition of the lead role, but she wasn't even nominated at the Academy Awards. The 1948 screen version starring Vivien Leigh was snubbed too.

Now Deadline reports Keira Knightley will assume the role in an update by Joe Wright, who directed Knightley in "Atonement" (Oscar best picture nominee of 2007). Knightley wasn't nominated for starring in "Atonement," but she did make the lead actress list for "Pride and Prejudice" (2005). The new script will be penned by Tom Stoppard, who won an Oscar for penning "Shakespeare in Love," best picture champ of 1999. Stoppard holds two records at the Tonys: most awards won by a play (seven for "The Coast of Utopia") and most victories for best play (four -- "Coast of Utopia," "The Real Thing," "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" and "Travesties").

"Anna Karenina" will be a challenge to update in modern times considering its central theme is not so shocking today: A married woman falls in love with a count, but her husband won't grant her a divorce. Below, a peek at the 1935 version starring Garbo opposite Frederic March.

-- Tom O'Neil