The Juno Debate

Since its release last year, Juno, the little movie that could and recipient of the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award, has been the subject of a highly contested debate. Does the film glorify teenage pregnancy? It doesn’t help that in December tween star Jamie Lynn Spears, age 16, announced she was expecting her own little bundle of joy.

I never saw Juno as a celebration of teenage pregnancy. Yes, Juno got pregnant at 16. But her story is both atypical and typical. She has this overwhelming support system but at the same time, the stigma of Juno being a pregnant teen still exists and in some scenes, it overwhelms the narrative.

Yet Juno, as the title indicates, is about Juno. That’s why the communities reception and most likely disapproval of her pregnancy is barely mentioned throughout the film. It’s about her relationship with her parents, her best friend, Paulie Bleeker, and the adoptive parents. But most importantly it is about her growth, maturation, and much-needed reality check. The difficult decisions Juno makes (and we, the audience, see her make plenty of them) help her transition from an overly sarcastic teenager to a slightly less sarcastic young adult.

One last thing which this article completely ignores. I think the increase of teenage pregnancies in the US has more to do with the fact that more teenagers are having sex. And what do you expect will happen when sex is so stigmatized and is not discussed as openly as it should be. Clearly no one told Juno to use a condom and maybe if someone had, we wouldn’t be stuck having this debate in first place.

But like the article says: everyone isn’t going to be satisfied and the issues that Juno raises will be debated forever.

The Winners: 2008 Film Independent Awards

The last big award show before the Academy Awards was today. And apparently Brangelina “announced” that they’re expecting baby number 5.

For some great pictures from the event including this one of Julian Schnabel and Javier Bardem, follow the link.
A beautiful bromance

Here are the winners:

Best Feature

Best Director

Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Male Lead

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages

Best Female Lead

Ellen Page, Juno

Best Supporting Male

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Talk to Me

Best Supporting Female

Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There

Best Screenplay

Tamara Jenkins, The Savages

Best Cinematography

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Foreign Film

Once (Ireland)

Best Documentary

Crazy Love

Best First Feature

The Lookout

Best First Screenplay

Diablo Cody, ‘Juno’

Robert Altman Award

I’m Not There
Director: Todd Haynes

Casting Director: Laura Rosenthal
Ensemble Cast: Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, Marcus Carl Franklin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Bruce Greenwood, David Cross, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams

John Cassavetes Award

August Evening

IFC Truer Than Fiction Award

Laura Dunn, Director of ‘The Unforeseen

IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award
Ramin Bahrani, Director of Chop Shop

Axium Producers Award
Neil Kopp, Producer of Paranoid Park and Old Joy