Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner Put On Oscar-Ready Happy Face

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In the week and a half since Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner's conspicuous, Cold War-ish hostilities at the Golden Globes, pundits and awards-season observers haven't hesitated in taking sides in the duel over which writer deserves the most credit for Up in the Air. But at a recent Writers Guild screening, the accidental writing partners -- who apparently hadn't even met until well after Reitman finished shooting the film -- sought to protect their Oscar luster with a "Kumbaya" moment of unity, togetherness and some long-overdue transparency. Or damage control -- you decide.

Awardsologist Pete Hammond filed the dispatch from a post-screening Q&A he moderated himself, and which -- as per his usual restraint and taste -- he introduced as a "WGA Sunday Afternoon Smackdown." But neither Reitman nor Turner took the bait, instead invoking the carefully cultivated Paramount talking points they hope will finally settle the minor controversy over which writer really wrote the bulk of the Oscar darling favored to win Best Adapted Screenplay. For his part, Turner downplayed any animosity between him and the director. "I think the source of the speculation comes from the fact that maybe there was the assumption that we did in fact write together," he told his peers. "I met Jason for the first time after the movie was done. Now that we've been sort of through this (awards) 'circuit,' which Jason is a lot more familiar with than I am, we've become friends. It's a unique situation."

Meanwhile Reitman -- never really known for his modesty -- offered his own controversy-squashing olive branch:

"When our credits went up the first time and they say you're sharing credit with this other guy, you go 'who's Sheldon Turner?' [...] But then I meet him, and he's a great guy, and beyond that we were actually drawn to this book for the same reason and we both sat down to write the same screenplay. Even though we never sat in the same room or shared a keyboard, we actually did write this movie together in a way, and because of that I'm very proud to share the credit with him."

Aw! The only thing left is to determine who'll be the first to speak if and/or when the pair wins an Oscar -- which I think we all know is to say: Build up your voice, Sheldon! You'll probably be shouting over the Kodak Theater orchestra.

· Up in the Air writers answer rumors about rift [LAT]



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