Hey, I just heard the funniest thing the other day. Apparently, not only are the majority of nominations in this category written by women, but there’s even a former stripper competing for the Oscar. How ’bout that? Okay, unless you actually live in a strip club, you’ve been informed time and again about Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody’s zesty résumé (even if you haven’t been informed of the fact that most strippers in Minneapolis still hold a vicious grudge against her over this). While it was a canny selling point initially to the extent that it was the only thing that gave the entire opportunistic project a slightly edgy veneer, we can’t be the only ones who feel like tucking five bucks into Cody’s voluptuous ream of salmon-colored draft pages just to make her and her (man-)handlers shut up already about it. Still, there’s no question she’s going to win by one of the evening’s most surgically-enhanced margins, especially considering Judd Apatow (once considered the writer to beat in this category before a woman writer stated her “Papa Don’t Preach” case) is not among her competition. That leaves the category’s other two, much dowdier sistas (ironically including the one who wrote the Capra knockoff about a sex toy) eating their hearts out. If Ratatouille still retains a viable contender as a spoiler, it’s not because audiences continue to drink whatever Pixar puts in the Kool-Aid that gets, as Laurie Anderson would say, “ah-dults” hailing each of their new movies as the studio’s everlasting masterpiece of classic filmmaking (making it simply a matter of time before one of them actually wins an award outside the best animated feature playpen), but rather because its presence in this category might remind voters that one or two of the striking writers aren’t just trying to feed their own mouths. As it stands, the only one who actually stands a real chance at pulling an Elizabeth Berkeley on Cody is Tony Gilroy, whose double-dip on Michael Clayton and status as a lost cause over in best director ensure a few votes from those who feel pity and from those who have apparently seen none of the myriad law-and-order TV dramas from which the film’s ruinously clichéd plot resolution was lifted.
Will Win: Juno
Should Win: Ratatouille
This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.