Date: February 21, 2024 2:02 am
Filmmaker Judd Apatow (Freaks and Geeks, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) has spoken out about the categorization of the Barbie movie as an “Adapted Screenplay” this awards season. The movie is poised to sweep the awards, but Apatow believes it has been misplaced, saying that it is fully original, and not adapted.
Apatow said in an X post over the weekend:
“It’s insulting to the writers to say they were working off of existing material. There was no existing material or story. There was a clear box.”
It was announced last week that “Barbie” will compete for a best adapted screenplay nomination in the Oscar race, despite campaigning for original screenplay. Each awards body and voting group has its own subset of rules for movies in terms of which screenplay category they can submit or ultimately be nominated. Many films about pre-existing characters — such as previous Oscar nominees “Toy Story 3,” “Borat 2,” “Before Sunset” and “Before Midnight” — were ultimately classified as adapted screenplays.
This is a unique situation though, as the movie is based on a doll, with clothes, a house, and accessories, but the story is completely original.
The Writers Branch executive committee of AMPAS most likely moved the dramedy to adapted screenplay because Barbie and Ken were pre-existing dolls from Mattel. Meanwhile, the Writers Guild of America has designated “Barbie” an original work, and it will remain in that category for the upcoming WGA Awards.
Barbie director Greta Gerwig co-wrote the film with partner Noah Baumbach, and became the first woman to helm a billion-dollar movie. This will be her fourth career Oscar nomination, which began with “Lady Bird” (2016) for original screenplay and directing, and “Little Women” (2019) in adapted screenplay.