Greta Gerwig Receives Academy Award Nomination for Adapted Screenplay

This morning, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie received 8 Academy Award nominations, including Gerwig and her husband Noah Baumbach in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. The film was also nominated for Best Picture. See the full list of nominees here.

Previously, Gerwig’s screenplays for Lady Bird and Little Women also received Academy Award nominations. And both films were also nominated for Best Picture.

Next up, Gerwig is set to write and direct two Chronicles of Narnia movies for Netflix.

11 Responses

  1. Icarus says:

    Three movies directed. Three screenplay nominations at the Academy Awards. Three Best Picture nominations. That’s an incredibly impressive track record.

  2. Col Klink says:

    I get that they have to put it in the adapted screenplay category because of all the Barbie brand names the script uses but I really think it would make more sense as best original screenplay because it’s really a parody of the franchise. Calling it an adaptation strikes me as akin to calling Galaxy Quest an adaptation of Star Trek. 🙂

    Actually, I don’t think it should be up for best original screenplay either because I don’t think it’s actually that good. Don’t get me wrong! It’s hardly the worst script ever. I wouldn’t award it a Razzie or anything. There are some really funny jokes in it and some clever concepts. (There’s a pretty cool metaphor in one scene for how celebrities can be trapped by having to maintain their public image. Sadly, the story goes in a different direction and doesn’t have time to develop the metaphor at all. A lot of things in the movie are like that.) But there are also some jokes that fall quite flat and I really don’t think the movie’s ideas are as original as its fans claim. The whole idealized-fictional-characters-collide-with-unidealized-reality thing has been done by comedies like Last Action Hero, Pleasantville, Enchanted and even a couple of Disney Channel Original Movies, Teen Beach Movie and Teen Beach 2. I repeat: Greta Gerwig and Noach Baumbach are ripping off Disney Channel Original Movies! I feel like the people who praise The Barbie Movie (I know it’s just called Barbie but The Barbie Movie is a funnier title) for being original are really making a comment on how unoriginal Hollywood movies are nowadays, not on The Barbie Movie’s creativity.

    The movie also has some really rocky tone shifts in the second act. (The parts I just described as having been before by other fantasy-comedies are actually what I’d call its best parts.) Most of the dialogue is written in a deliberately flippant style, implying that we’re not supposed to really care about any of the characters, no matter how upset they themselves get, but just laugh at all of them. To be honest, this in itself probably keeps the movie from ever being a big favorite of mine since most of my favorite comedies do have me caring about the characters as well as laughing at them. But the farcical tone really was working for me for most of The Barbie Movie and then all of a sudden, we get this big dramatic monologue, one that’s very well written and doubtless relatable to many but also written in a style totally different from 90% of the script. (I have a theory it was originally written for a film Gerwig and Baumbach couldn’t get greenlit and they hated to have it go to waste. That’s honestly the vibe it gives me.) I’d honestly thought the film expected me to point at the character of Barbie and go, “ha, ha, let’s laugh at the entitled bimbo!” But, no, apparently it then wanted me to see her as a symbol of women collapsing under unreasonable social expectations. Huh? And then it instantly goes back into parody mode. (I really hope it was parody mode anyway. To put it spoilerifically, a character makes a big dramatic speech and then all of the relevant characters agree with the speech, fixing the story’s main problem. I thought only dumb kids’ movies used that ridiculous trope and I don’t even consider it acceptable when they do so. I’m embarrassed that academy award nominated screenwriters would use it in a somewhat philosophically minded movie for adults. Given the strong elements of parody in the film though, I’m hoping that scene was intended as a parody of dumb kids’ movies. That still wouldn’t make it a good scene though as it begs the question of why the movie would choose to make fun of its longest and seemingly most sincere attempt at social criticism. But if the screenwriters aren’t poking fun at themselves, they must be insufferably vain, implying they can save the world with their sheer eloquence. I can interpret the scene different ways but no way that makes it good.)

    If this wins Best Adapted Screenplay after Gerwig’s Little Women lost that award, it will prove that there’s no justice in the Academy IMO. Or maybe it’ll just prove how few great movie scripts there were in 2023. LOL.

  3. Impending Doom says:

    Congrats to Greta!

    I really enjoyed Barbie so I’m happy to see it rewarded by the Academy in this way — even if it probably should’ve been considered an original screenplay…

  4. Col Klink says:

    (This is a continuation of my previous comment. I realized I still had more to say.) I know some fans are also praising the movie for discussing Big Ideas in a comedy, but I don’t think it does a very good job of it. There are so many ideas it brings up that it barely has time to develop any of them and it doesn’t help that some of them are rather contradictory. It wants to end with the message that all of the hardships of the real world are worth it, sort of a Nietzschean “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” message. But so much of its runtime is devoted to discussing how terrible those hardships are and how if there were any justice, they wouldn’t exist that it can’t really build a great case for life being worthwhile anyway, let alone because of them on some level. That description makes it sound like the movie wants viewers to be angry about social issues, yet the flippant tone of the comedy (see my previous comment) makes it feel like we’re really not supposed to get seriously angry or saddened by anything in the movie. Except then it does want to us to do so. Except then it doesn’t. Except then it does. (See my previous comment.) There are also attempts at nuance, such as giving characters who take positions the movie is against sympathetic reasons for doing so and having characters whom you’d expect to be bad guys, given the film’s politics, turn out to be good guys. But these elements clash horribly with the overall broad, cartoony, distinctly unnuanced tone of the piece, rendering it downright incoherent. Maybe this is being too cynical, but they also strike me as attempts to give the illusion that the movie is offering some happy medium between two sides when it’s really partisan. (I don’t necessarily think it’s wrong to be partisan in your politics BTW. I mean, if you agree with one particular party on every issue, why pretend otherwise?) In summary, the movie talks a lot, but it doesn’t really much interesting to say. I’d describe its themes as pretentious.

  5. Pete says:

    Hi, sorry this is not relevant to the article, but I’m having trouble accessing my NarniaWeb forum account, as it appears to have been updated since I last logged on. I’ve tried the “Lost my password” prompts, but haven’t received any emails to help me fix the problem.

    If anyone could help me regain access to my account would be appreciated. Thanks!

  6. Col Klink says:

    You know, I feel kind of bad that I posted a bunch of negative stuff about the movie the other night. While I don’t love the whole thing, I don’t hate it either. It’s just that (a) this article was about the writing and directing which I thought were of mixed quality and (b) I was in the mood to rant about something or other. LOL. What I really did enjoy were the actors’ performances in the movie. (Since she’s not super famous, I’d particularly like to mention that I thought the actress playing the young girl character made a great “straight man.” I hope she goes on to do more comedies.) It felt like they were all having fun with the material and that made them fun to watch. I guess the script and direction do deserve credit for that since (a) the writing was a big reason why the actors were enjoying themselves and (b) the director was the one who approved and coached them. Still, don’t think the screenplay deserves to win. I feel like if it does, it’ll be because people felt bad about Gerwig (and Baumbach?) not winning previous years.

    For me, what made the movie kind of a headache (besides its bright colors and hammy performances) was that it tried to balance too many contradictory goals and impulses, which is ironic because its most sincere attempt at social commentary was a speech about society laying too many contradictory expectations on women. Maybe the whole thing was a big meta joke about that. LOL.

  7. EJH says:

    I’m glad to hear of the nominations! Hopefully Greta Gerwig will not be overworked… I can see studios overbooking her on projects because of the nominations.

    I also finally saw Barbie (2023). I feel there are lots of complicated messages in the movie… contrasts between things in society into which audiences presume interpretations. But the Barbies and Kens are seeing things from such a limited perspective and I think this may be forgotten. They are not human characters. I know there are lots of comments that say that Gerwig won’t be able to write Narnian characters because of Barbie, but we don’t know that. The movies are different genres: comedy versus fantasy. The audience is different: adults versus children. Barbie had characters with very different views and contrasts and that was what propelled the plot. It is the “man-versus-man and society” plot whereas Narnia is usually under threat from an external source or person with unusual powers. Although Prince Caspian is really a classic “man-versus-man” style plot too.

  8. Col Klink says:

    @EHJ, I really agree with you that the movie wants us to see the POV of the doll characters, Barbies and Kens, as severely limited and not what it’s endorsing. I’d argue however that this ends up backfiring on the story. (Spoiler Alert!) You see, both the Ken dolls and the Barbie dolls, at different points, are supposed to represent oppressed/repressed women in male dominated societies. But at the beginning all the Kens (except for the main Ken character) are totally content and happy with the Barbies having all positions of power until someone tells them they shouldn’t be happy with it. Then when the Kens have all the positions of power, the Barbies (except for the main Barbie character) are all content and happy with that until somebody else tells them they shouldn’t be so. Basically, whatever personality someone suggests to them is the one they adopt. I’m sure that was deliberate since it reflects them being dolls who are always being given new identities by the kids playing with them. It sets up the ending where Barbie decides she wants to be the person having the ideas for a change. But if we apply that to the gender metaphor, the implication is that women are actually totally fine living in patriarchal societies and it’s only agitators that make them unhappy. That’s…kind of the opposite message they were going for. LOL.

    So I really can’t say the film has a technically great script when it does something that clumsy.

  9. Bolton says:

    If this keeps up, Narnia will be winning Oscars in a couple of years time!

  10. EJH says:

    Col Klink, yes, the movie does portray most of the Barbies a being happy to live in the Kendom, but the dolls are portrayed as being under some sort of trance. And it’s ultimately based on the decisions of the humans. So, Barbie becoming a human is a message to make our own decisions… But it does make us question how powerful groupthink is and in the end the society is still unfair to the Kens.
    Which makes it appear that discrimination is justifiable in some cases and I agree with you that this backfires. Like, take Qatar where women can’t go to school, the doctor, or travel without getting a male relative’s permission… This movie would not sway the beliefs of these people because it advocates for taking power, not for enforcing equal rights.

    I think the Barbie movie was a way to deflect the criticisms against the Barbie doll, ultimately. That’s why so many views can be inferred in the movie because Mattel wants a broad appeal. So, I suspect Mattel told Gerwig to have these themes. This makes the movie plot very meta because the Barbies Mattel makes are based on consumer demand, so “Barbie” will never have her own life anyway.

    So, because of the wildly different premises, I don’t think Narnia is necessarily in danger. I do wish it had a Christian director, because I think certain things are missed when they don’t do this, but I also am hoping and praying the Narnia adaptation will go well and also happy that Gerwig has the skills to direct blockbusters.

  11. Col Klink says:

    @EJH, I’m sorry if it sounded like I was saying that “Narnia was in danger.” I was just writing about how The Barbie Movie works (for me) on its own merits. (I don’t think it makes much sense to look to it for clues about how Gerwig will adapt the Narnia books because it’s actually a pretty unusual movie for her and Baumbach; they usually write dramas.) I’ll admit I was saying that I think Gerwig might be overrated by some people but there’s a big difference between overrated and terrible. I’d describe Barbie as a movie that works better if you turn off your brain to watch it except it kind of wants you to think about it so that’s kind of annoying. But I don’t think her other movies could be described as having that problem.