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Ever since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations for the 95th Academy Awards, colloquially known as the Oscars, much of the discussion has surrounded the lack of nominations for Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig in the Best Actress and Best Director categories, respectively for their work on the film “Barbie.” And, certainly, everyone reading this is clamoring for the thoughts of a heterosexual, Caucasian man with a major in film and television.
Now, if you remember, I ranked “Barbie” as my favorite film of summer 2023 at the start of the fall semester, ahead of Academy favorite “Oppenheimer,” which walked away with 13 nominations. And while I wholeheartedly stand by that ranking- I truly do prefer “Barbie” to “Oppenheimer-“ truth be told, I do not believe that Gerwig and Robbie were snubbed.
I know that is a bold claim. In fact, my knee-jerk reaction to the duo not getting nominated in those categories was to draw a comparison to Barbra Streisand’s lack of a Best Director nomination for her 1991 film “The Prince of Tides,” which was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture. But taking a close look at the films this year that actually did get nominated, it would be difficult to justify replacing any of them with Gerwig or Robbie.
On the director side, things were absolutely stacked. Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese both directed career-defining epics this year. Yorgos Lanthimos delivered a film that was equal parts experimental, hilarious and heartfelt. Justine Triet is a rising filmmaker seeking to fight corruption in the French film industry. Jonathan Glazer is a bold director whose flowers are quite overdue.
All of these incredible filmmakers are deserving of their nominations, so while it is disappointing that a director as talented as Gerwig was not able to make the cut, she is also much younger than the nominees and has a hell of a career ahead of her and already has a nomination under her belt. Gerwig will get her gold.
Best Actress is a similar situation, but arguably, even more lopsided. Even if Robbie had walked away with a nomination, Best Actress is Lily Gladstone’s category to lose. In case you were not aware, Gladstone is the very first Native American Indian actress to get nominated in the category, and it is far from some “diversity” nomination- Gladstone carries “Killers of the Flower Moon” on her back and delivers, in my opinion, the best performance of the year by any metric. But their historic nomination has been completely overshadowed by Robbie’s lack of a nomination.
A similar overlook has crept into the Best Supporting Actress category, where “Barbie” actress America Ferrera has been nominated. Ferrera delivers the true knockout performance of “Barbie,” with her speech at the end of the film’s second act being the heart of the film and its message. And similar to Gladstone, Ferrera is the first Honduran woman to be nominated in the category, adding another level of history to her incredibly well-deserved nomination.
And, briefly, let’s talk about Ryan Gosling’s nomination. While it seemingly flies in the face of the film’s message for him to get a nomination for Best Supporting Actor while Gerwig and Robbie lost out on Director and Actress, Best Supporting Actor was a much thinner category than any of the other aforementioned categories. It really is difficult to think of a better actor to fill that fifth slot.
And if you have read this article closely, you will notice that I have been very specific about what catgories Gerwig and Robbie were not nominated in. Because Gerwig and Robbie have both walked away from this year with one nomination apiece. Robbie, as a producer of “Barbie,” is nominated for Best Picture. Gerwig is likewise nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for her work on the film.
And truly, at the end of the day, the Oscars is just an awards show. Do you remember when “Green Book” won Best Picture? Probably not, because “Green Book” is the exact film you would expect from the director of “Dumb and Dumber” tackling racism.
The true measure of “Barbie” is how broadly it has touched the hearts and minds of audiences across the globe. No snub can take away the fact that “Barbie” will continue to be remembered and regarded as one of the most iconic films of the decade thus far. Even if “Lady Bird” is Gerwig’s better film. Sorry.