Friday, February 27, 2009

Diablo Cody Frosts My Mitten

Last year, the Oscars were a bitter pill for me. I railed against the nomination and win of Diablo Cody and “Juno” for best screenplay. They say we writers are vicious bunch of haters when it comes to our fellow writers’ success. And, well, it’s true. But sometimes it’s also merited.

I had many issues with the film from a feminist perspective as well as the overall, gag-me cuteness factor. She was lauded for the quirkiness of her characters while I felt she shorthanded quirkiness with an unusual phone and other props. Isn’t real character more than props?

“Oooooh, look how funky her kids talk! How natural. She captured the 16 year old,” people said. Um, no, that’s a 35 year old putting the quirk and construction of 35 year old speak into the mouth of a 16 year old. I was a damn funky 16 year old and I didn’t speak like that. I speak like that now.

Even more annoying was her hipper-than-thou musical references. That’s my gig. I wrote a screenplay four years ago featuring a character who wore a “your favorite band sucks” t-shirt and bring my years of bona-fide college radio DJ experience to everything I write.

People were amazed that Diablo “discovered” the Moldy Peaches. “New indie rock darlings” the heralds blasted. Thank the gods Diablo, our hipness prophet, delivered them unto us. I hated the Peaches eight years ago when I saw them play a little club in Denver. They sucked then and they still suck.

My ire spun out of control.

“But she’s a woman. And she won,” my producing partner gently reminded me. It’s a well-worn fact that as women in the industry we are fighting an uphill battle with a miniscule percentage of films directed or written by women, let alone nominated. She had a point. I felt a pang of guilt about not supporting our sister.

Then I got it. My script with the “your favorite band sucks” t-shirt. The random game my friends and I used to play defining our quirkiness by who could come up with the best non-sequitor. Breaking the best indie bands. The thrill of writing the little script that could… I was pissed because Diablo Cody stole my shtick. And she won a freakin’ Oscar for it. So now, what were the odds my quirky girl script could win anything? Or even be made?

All my issues with the Juno script aside, I was really insanely jealous. Which I guess is a form of flattery – if somewhat twisted. I finally saw Diablo with kindness and solidarity.

This year I missed her up there on the stage bereft of female nominees, not to mention wins. I don’t dig her style per se but I hope she’s up there again next year along with every other woman making upward progress in Hollywood.

If begrudging another’s success initiated me into real writer-hood, all that remains is the other part of the initiation: actually having one of my scripts sold and made.

Hello, Hollywood? It’s ready. It’s quirky. Call me. Love you. Mean it.

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