Gerwig and Robbie Oscar Snub: Why It’s Such A Big Deal

Alex Broadhurst

Last week the 96th Academy Award nominations were announced and the world was shocked to learn that neither Margot Robbie nor Greta Gerwig received nominations in the best actress and director categories for their work in Barbie. Despite failing to recognise the two women responsible for this movie, the academy nominated Ryan Gosling in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role as Ken. Impact’s Alex Broadhurst explores.

Following the snub, the media was quick to erupt, with Gosling releasing a statement in which he said it was an “understatement” to say he was “disappointed.” He then went on to say, “There is no Ken without Barbie, and there is no Barbie movie without Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie, the two people most responsible for this history-making, globally-celebrated film.”  This came after many fans turned to social media to express their frustration that a film celebrating women was only celebrated for its male lead. 

In July, Barbie took the world by storm in more ways than one. It was praised for its exposition of the patriarchy and its exploration of what it means to be a woman. But the film was more than that. The Barbie movie took a staple from so many women’s childhoods and brought it to life for those same women who have now grown up and had experience in the world. Women went to the cinema with their mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends dressed in pink clothes and left feeling emotional, nostalgic, and closer to the people they shared this experience with. 

The fact that Gosling, then, received an Oscar nomination when neither Gerwig nor Robbie did felt like a betrayal

The movie gave women a place to be women, to like pink and dolls and fashion, and not be made to feel silly or childish for liking these things. It’s often the case that in the media women’s interests are dismissed or criticised, leaving them feeling guilty for liking the things they do. The fact that Gosling, then, received an Oscar nomination when neither Gerwig nor Robbie did felt like a betrayal. A film that meant so much to so many women and made them feel seen in a way a film hasn’t been able to do before was not acknowledged; the women who were behind this ignored. It seems the nominations not only missed the whole point of Barbie but also missed who this movie was for. 

Gosling was able to sum up the magnitude of what Robbie and Gerwig were able to accomplish when he said, “They made us laugh, they broke our hearts, they pushed the culture and they made history” all with “nothing but a couple of soulless, scantily clad, and thankfully crotchless dolls.” It is an incredible feat that a film about a toy was able to spark so many debates and discussions about what it is like to be a woman in our society. 

That being said, Barbie did; however, receive several nominations in the major categories, including Best Picture in which Margot Robbie will be credited as a producer, Best Writing for an Adapted Screenplay accredited to Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach and America Ferrera for Best actress in a Supporting Role. Gerwig may not have been nominated for her directing, but she was praised for the story she wrote.

It seems in all the controversy surrounding the Academy’s decisions, news of Ferrera’s nomination has been lost. In her portrayal of Gloria, Ferrera serves as a representation of the audience, she too grew up with Barbie dolls encouraging her to be anything, but now as an adult she is challenged with coming to terms with the contradictions, hypocrisies, and imperfections that come with being a woman. Ferrera, therefore, perhaps had the most important role in the film, summed up in her heart-felt monologue: “I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us. And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don’t even know.”

This controversy surrounding the Academy’s decisions only serves to prove how highly regarded and respected the film is

Although Robbie and Gerwig did not receive nominations, that doesn’t mean their work wasn’t valued and they were unable to deliver their message. Ferrera’s nomination may serve as an indication that the Oscars did realise the significance of the film and the conversations it sparked. As Pamela Paul put it in her essay in The New York Times, “Every time a woman fails to win an accolade doesn’t mean a failure for womanhood,” and Barbie certainly wasn’t a failure. This controversy surrounding the Academy’s decisions only serves to prove how highly regarded and respected the film is. 

To conclude, Gosling released a necessary statement in support of the two women behind the making of the cultural phenomenon Barbie after he received an Academy Award nomination where they did not. Nevertheless, Barbie did receive many major nominations and the Best Picture and Best Actress in a Supporting Role nominations show that perhaps the Oscars really did understand the movie’s purpose and importance. 

Alexandra Broadhurst 

Featured image courtesy of Verne Ho via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image. 

In-article tweet courtesy of @VanityFair via X. No changes were made to this tweet.

In-article photos courtesy of @barbiethemovie, @bbcnews, @americaferrera via Instagram. No changes were made to these photos.

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