‘Barbie’ Will Compete at the Oscars as an Adapted Screenplay

The billion-dollar blockbuster had previously appealed to be considered in the Original Screenplay category

Barbie
Warner Bros.

Apparently screenwriters Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach didn’t do quite Ken-ough to get “Barbie” considered as an original work for this year’s Oscars, as the candy-colored saga will hereforth only be considered by voters in Adapted Screenplay category, in a decision confirmed Wednesday by the Academy.

The determination was made by the Writers Branch executive committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and when Oscar nomination voting begins on Jan. 11, voters will only be permitted to consider “Barbie” in the set category.

The film will join a fairly crowded field of strong contenders of adapted works, including “Oppenheimer,” “American Fiction,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Poor Things,” and “All of Us Strangers” just for starters. It is assumed that Warner Bros., the studio behind “Barbie,” assumed the Original Screenplay would be less competitive and the property is based more on IP than a previously-produced work.

The category petition by the filmmakers is not the first of its kind; in 2016, the creators of “Loving” and eventual Best Picture winner “Moonlight” saw their films become eligible in the Adapted Screenplay category after the former had access to public records and a documentary in existence about the subject, and the latter an adaptation of an unproduced screenplay by writer Tarell Alvin McCraney, being enough to make it ineligible as an original piece. “Moonlight” went on to win the Adapted Screenplay Oscar that season.

There have been some other head-scratchers over the years in the consideration of adaptations, notably the 2000 Joel and Ethan Coen comedy “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, which very loosely draws from Homer’s “Odyssey,” and one of the most egregious, Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 “Hamlet,” which famously kept all of the Bard’s verse completely intact. Both films ended up becoming Adapted Screenplay Oscar nominees.

Comments

One response to “‘Barbie’ Will Compete at the Oscars as an Adapted Screenplay”

  1. cadavra Avatar
    cadavra

    Thank God sanity has prevailed! “Glass Onion” was considered Adapted because ONE character had appeared in a previous movie, but “Barbie” was going to be Original despite 42 previous animated features and countless appearances in other movies and on TV? Kudos to the Academy for avoiding yet another egregious example of category fraud.

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