Artists of the Year

Diablo Cody

By Matthew Smith

So what are we to make of the Diablo Cody media frenzy? In the last two months, she may have received more press than any screenwriter in movie history. From the New York Times to the L.A. Times, from NPR to Entertainment Weekly, she and her film Juno were hard to escape.

That's not supposed to happen to screenwriters. They're supposed to toil in obscurity. They don't get asked for interviews. They don't make TV appearances. Even when they win Oscars, they're usually the pasty, sweaty recipients that signal it's time to get more Doritos.

So why Cody? She did write a smart, funny movie, but Lord, it wasn't Citizen Kane. She is a very talented writer, but Fitzgerald wrote movies, too, and he didn't get nearly this much ink.

One reason, of course, is that Cody's impossibly colorful back story—the whole stripper thing—makes good copy. And she's a charming free spirit, with the oversized personality to pull it all off.

It's that, for sure, but that doesn't quite answer it.

Maybe we like Cody's story because it reminds us that the dream is alive for us, too. It tells us that with some talent and a bit of luck, the planets can align, angels can alight, our fairy godmother can whack us with her magic stick. One day we can be puttering on our novel/screenplay/website/business plan, and the next day we can be accepting our Pulitzer/Oscar/Google buyout/IPO stock.

Hey, it happens. Not so long ago, Diablo Cody was working as an insurance adjuster. Now she's a Hollywood superstar.

Good for you, Diablo. And thanks.

Matthew Smith is the managing editor of City Pages.

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