The critically acclaimed indie comedy Juno, which has been nominated in four major Oscar categories (Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director), is facing a backlash from critics who feel that the movie is being overhyped and doesn't deserve its nominations. The film, which was directed by Jason Reitman and written by first-time screenwriter Diablo Cody, has grossed over $100 million so far, more than any of the other four films nominated for Best Picture this year.
What the commentators said
Juno is “unique in its ability to get on people’s nerves,” said Dana Stevens in Slate, “especially now that its Oscar momentum is building.” The movie itself is likeable and “sweet.” But “it’s difficult to separate Juno hatred itself from a more general ennui inspired by the film’s marketing campaign.” All everyone seems to talk about is “the movie’s pseudonymous author” Diablo Cody—“say it with me now: stripper turned blogger turned Oscar-nominated screenwriter!”
Not to mention all the effort to “hustle” Juno “as a little picture that could,” said Ted Zee in the blog Big Screen Little Screen. “With Fox’s ubiquitous marketing and major box-office performance, it’s anything but the little guy.” Although Juno deserves some accolades, it’s “the Academy’s $100 million earning, demographic-sweet-spot-hitting crowd pleaser that will keep the average household interested in the telecast—nothing more.”
All of this “sounds familiar,” said the blog The American Scene. Last year, people thought that Little Miss Sunshine “somehow cheapened the Best Picture category.” But the truth is, that category is “already so thoroughly debased by the films that are typically nominated and awarded in it.” This year, it’s a little different, “in that two fine and serious films”—No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood—“have somehow stumbled into Oscars’ purview.” These movies “elevate the Best Picture category,” and although “Juno is not as good as those films,” it’s much “better than that ripe bladder of Haggis, Crash,” which won in 2006.