Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ hit a minor roadblock in its race to the Oscars. The film that is tipped to be up for the night’s biggest awards, including Best Picture, will not be up for an award for Best Original Screenplay, but rather Best Adapted Screenplay.
Variety reported that this contradicts the film’s initial campaign in the Best Original Screenplay category. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) had classified the film as an original work, a classification that will remain for the upcoming WGA Awards. However, the Academy’s executive committee has exercised its discretion to categorize the screenplay as adapted, leading to a change in the Oscars’ consideration ahead of voting which opens on January 11.

‘Barbie’, features characters deeply rooted in Mattel dolls’ history, and joins a list of films about pre-existing characters categorized as adapted screenplays at the Oscars. Previous nominees in this category include ‘Toy Story 3’, ‘Borat 2’, ‘Before Sunset’, and ‘Before Midnight’.

This is not the first time that an Oscar favourite had to switch categories. Barry Jenkins’ ‘Moonlight’ (2016), saw movies campaigned as “original” by the WGA but moved to the adapted category by the Academy committee. Other such notable examples include ‘Syriana’ (2005), ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ (2018), among others.

‘Barbie’ follows the journey of Barbie, portrayed by Margot Robbie, as she grapples with an identity crisis, prompting her and Ken (Ryan Gosling) to venture into the real world to seek answers about her existence.

With ‘Barbie’ now in the adapted screenplay category, the landscape for the original screenplay Oscar race has shifted. Films like Celine Song’s ‘Past Lives’ and Alexander Payne’s ‘The Holdovers’ are emerging as potential frontrunners, while Todd Haynes’ ‘May December’ and Justine Triet’s ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ have garnered attention in the precursor circuit.

The unexpected move sets the stage for an intriguing competition as the awards season progresses.

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