Teen pregnancy comedy "Juno" delivers Oscar goods

Tue Jan 22, 2008 5:32pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Juno is sarcastic, 16, and pregnant and has already won the hearts of millions of fans.

On Tuesday, the quirky comedy "Juno" won four coveted Oscar nominations. Not bad for a movie that cost less than $10 million to make, and whose subject -- teen pregnancy -- would appear more likely to divide than unite U.S. moviegoers.

Instead "Juno" has managed to disarm both sides of the emotional and divisive debate over teen sexuality and abortion, gaining cult status and a healthy $85 million at the box office -- more than the combined totals of Oscar front-runners "No Country For Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood."

Juno MacGuff, an independent-minded geek played by relative newcomer Ellen Page of Canada, gets pregnant, considers abortion, but then decides to have the baby and give it up for adoption to a childless couple.

For Juno, the unwanted pregnancy from one sexual encounter with a bewildered friend is like "being in a fat suit I can't take off."

"If I could just have the thing and give it to you now, I totally would. But I'm guessing it looks probably like a sea monkey right now and we should let it get a little cuter," Juno tells the would-be adoptive parents in one of the character's typically acerbic lines.

Page, 20, was nominated on Tuesday for a best actress Oscar, while the movie made the most heart-warming entry on a somber list of best picture nominations.

Director Jason Reitman, 30, and writer Diablo Cody, 29, a former stripper making her first movie venture, brought the Oscar nominations to four.   Continued...

<p>Canadian actress Ellen Page attends a news conference presenting her film "Juno" at the Rome International Film Festival in this October 26, 2007 file photo. Page was nominated for best actress for her role in 'Juno' for the 80th annual Academy Awards, announced in Beverly Hills January 22, 2008. The Oscars will be presented February 24, 2008 in Hollywood, California. REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli</p>