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Controversy over ‘Barbie’ screenplay origins sparks debate

EntertainmentControversy over ‘Barbie’ screenplay origins sparks debate

**Controversy Over the ‘Barbie’ Screenplay Origins**

The decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to categorize the script for the blockbuster movie “Barbie” as an adapted screenplay for the Oscars voting has ignited a heated debate among fans and industry insiders. This move has raised questions about the criteria used to determine screenplay origins and has implications for the film’s recognition in various award shows.

**The Academy’s Determination and Industry Response**
The Writers Branch executive committee’s decision to consider the “Barbie” script as an adapted screenplay stems from the film being based on preexisting characters and intellectual property, with legal billing crediting Mattel. However, Warner Bros. lobbied for the movie’s script, authored by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, to be recognized as an original screenplay at the Oscars. This prompted a discussion about the interpretation of what constitutes an original screenplay in the context of adaptations of existing characters and intellectual property.

**The Plot and Success of “Barbie”**
“Barbie” portrays the journey of Stereotypical Barbie, portrayed by Margot Robbie, as she transitions from Barbie Land to the real world and grapples with existential challenges while facing the emergence of Kens led by Ryan Gosling. Despite not being derived from a specific Barbie-based source, the film’s narrative is rooted in the iconic doll’s consumer product and intellectual property. With a box office earnings surpassing $1.4 billion, the movie has garnered significant commercial success and captured the attention of audiences worldwide.

**Debating the Adaptation Designation**
The Academy’s decision to classify “Barbie” as an adapted screenplay has sparked controversy on social media, with many fans and critics querying the rationale behind this designation. Comparisons have been drawn to other films with preexisting characters, such as “Toy Story 3” and “Borat 2,” whose scripts were also categorized as adapted, despite being sequels based on original screenplays featuring familiar characters. The inclusion of the credit “based on ‘Barbie’ by Mattel” in the film’s credits further complicates the determination of its screenplay origins.

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**Implications for Other Awards and Industry Recognition**
While the Academy has designated “Barbie” as an adapted screenplay, it remains uncertain whether other award shows and associations will align with this classification. The Writers Guild of America and the British Film Academy Awards hold the authority to independently determine the screenplay’s categorization for their respective awards. The Critics Choice Awards have nominated “Barbie” for best original screenplay, indicating varying perspectives within the industry regarding the screenplay’s originality.

**The Script’s Impact and Public Reception**
Despite the controversy surrounding its classification, the “Barbie” screenplay has received widespread acclaim and attention. The script has been made available for purchase in the form of a 138-page book titled “Barbie: The Screenplay,” which includes visual content from the film and an introduction by Gerwig and Baumbach. Actress Margot Robbie expressed initial skepticism about the film’s prospects based on the screenplay, highlighting the surprise and delight at its eventual realization.

In conclusion, the controversy over the origins of the “Barbie” screenplay has prompted a critical examination of screenplay categorizations in the film industry, shedding light on the complexities surrounding the adaptation of existing characters and intellectual property. The debates and discussions surrounding this issue exemplify the evolving landscape of storytelling and creativity within the cinematic realm.

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