‘Barbie’ Sets Oscar Campaign for Original Screenplay — Will the Academy Agree? (EXCLUSIVE)

It’s officially an original Barbie World.

Greta Gerwig’s smash hit “Barbie,” which she co-wrote with Noah Baumbach, is a box office smash that has so far grossed more than $1.4 billion. Its awards prospects also continue to increase by the day. Warner Bros. has officially confirmed to Variety that the film will be campaigned for this year’s Academy Awards for best original screenplay and other categories.

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The film tells the story of Barbie (Margot Robbie), who suffers a crisis in Barbie World, leading her on a quest with her beau Ken (Ryan Gosling) to the real world to seek the answers regarding her existence.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.

As Variety had previously reported, there was speculation regarding which screenplay category “Barbie” would compete in at the Oscars. The official on-screen credits in the movie read “based on ‘Barbie’ by Mattel,” which is a doll made by a toy company, and not “previously published material,” as the category defines an eligible submission. Nonetheless, its original and creative story has been one of the film’s most acclaimed elements, almost certainly putting Gerwig and Baumbach at the forefront of the original screenplay race where films such as Focus Features’ “The Holdovers” and A24’s “Past Lives” are expected to be competitive. The original designation will stick for the crucial WGA Awards precursors in January, but when it comes to the Academy, we won’t know the answer until voting begins.

Within the Writer’s Branch, a committee determines the eligibility of movies in their submitted categorizations and isn’t bound to follow what the WGA decides. In years past, films including “Moonlight” (2016) were campaigned and labeled as “original” by the WGA, due to the play it was based on never being published, but were moved to adapted by the committee. It went on to win the category, along with two other Oscars, including best picture. Other switched scripts over the years include nominees “Syriana” (2005) and “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (2018) and non-nominated films like “Loving” (2016).

Gerwig, who is the first woman to helm a billion-dollar movie, has been nominated for three Oscars – “Little Women” (2019) in adapted and “Lady Bird” (2016) for original screenplay and directing. She’s one of seven women ever nominated for directing. If nominated this year, she would be the second to be recognized a second time following winner Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog” (2021).

Gerwig’s writing and life partner Baumbach, also has three nods to his credit – two for original for “The Squid and the Whale” (2005) and “Marriage Story” (2018), and a best picture nod for the latter. This could be a great way to give two overdue and beloved filmmakers their due.


We won’t know whether the Academy officially accepts the designation until nomination ballots open for voting, currently scheduled for Jan. 11.

Variety also confirms that star Ryan Gosling, who plays the hilarious scene-stealing Ken will be officially submitted for best supporting actor. A two-time nominee for “Half Nelson” (2006) and “La La Land” (2016) in best actor, the Canadian star is one of the standouts from the comedy, in addition to America Ferrera (also terrific in Sony’s “Dumb Money”) and star and producer Margot Robbie (who could become the second woman nominated for best picture and acting in the same year).

The move also sets the framework for a “Barbenheimer”-themed Oscar ceremony. The WB film will likely face Universal’s “Oppenheimer” from Christopher Nolan in multiple categories. “Barbie” could potentially contend in best picture (Tom Ackerley, Robbie Brenner, David Heyman, Robbie), directing, production design (Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer), cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto), costume design (Jacqueline Durran), film editing (Nick Houy), makeup and hairstyling (TBD), sound (TBD), visual effects (TBD) and original score (Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt).

“Barbie” also has the potential to land up to two song noms, as per Academy rules. The studio can submit up to three, with the favorites being “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish and “I’m Just Ken by Wyatt and Ronson. Additionally, notable songs include “Pink” (by Lizzo), “Dance the Night” (by Dua Lipa) and “Barbie World” (by Nicki Minaj, Ice Spice and Aqua.

“Barbie” is still playing in theaters.

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