Judd Apatow disagrees with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ decision to classify Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” as an adapted screenplay rather than original.
“It’s insulting to the writers to say they were working off of existing material,” the “Knocked Up” and “This Is 40” director wrote on X/Twitter on Saturday. “There was no existing material or story. There was a clear box.”
Variety exclusively reported on Wednesday 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.
The Writers Branch executive committee of AMPAS most likely moved the hot-pink comedy 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.
Gerwig, who became the first woman to helm a billion-dollar movie, has been nominated for three Oscars in her career: “Lady Bird” (2016) for original screenplay and directing and “Little Women” (2019) in adapted.
Eligible voting members of the branch will only be able to cast votes for the “Barbie” script, which Gerwig co-wrote with husband and fellow Oscar nominee Noah Baumbach, in adapted screenplay. The official Oscar nomination voting will take place on Jan. 11.