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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Pros and cons: ‘Barbie’ Oscar nominations

There are two perspectives surrounding this issue, the pro, being that the focus should be on the people who were nominated, and, the con, being that this error should not be forgotten
Jack+Quaid+and+Zazie+Beetz+host+the+announcement+of+the+96th+Oscars%C2%AE+nominations%2C+on+Tuesday%2C+January+23%2C+2024.+Richard+Harbaugh+%2F+%C2%A9A.M.P.A.S.
Jack Quaid and Zazie Beetz host the announcement of the 96th Oscars® nominations, on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.

The Oscars — one of the most anticipated media awards events — inches closer, and this year, it brings along some controversy surrounding nominations for the film “Barbie.”

The film and those involved received eight nominations, including Best Picture, however, key players in the film’s makings were left out.

The film’s director, Greta Gerwig, and main protagonist, Margot Robbie, did not receive nominations for the Best Actress and Best Director categories, respectively.

There has been an uproar from fans — including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — surrounding this Oscars snub.

There are two perspectives surrounding this issue, the pro, being that the focus should be on the people who were nominated, and, the con, being that this error should not be forgotten.

Pros

The ordeal in its entirety is too ironic for comfort. However, the good news is the film still received a total of eight Oscar nominations, one of them including America Ferrera’s historic nomination. 

America Ferrera as Gloria in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BARBIE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. Copyright: © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ferrera shook audiences worldwide in “Barbie” with her iconic over two-minute monologue that verbalized the complexities of womanhood and the expectations that come with being a woman in a man’s world. Her monologue resonated with audiences worldwide as they went quiet, got goosebumps, and nodded their heads in agreement — landing her the first Oscar nomination of her career. 

Fortunately, the deep yet witty writing that surprised audiences and made Barbie a cultural phenomena still received the recognition it deserved. Despite Gerwig not receiving a nomination for Best Director, she is still up for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.

It was the writing that reinvented the idea of Barbie from being an outdated plastic doll that has contributed to unrealistic beauty standards, to a symbol of empowerment, while simultaneously serving as a commentary on women’s experiences in a patriarchal society. The appreciation and acknowledgment of the film’s message is a step forward for the Academy. 

Left to right, Ryan Gosling as Ken and Margot Robbie as Barbie in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BARBIE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures. Copyright: © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

While there may be frustration surrounding Gosling’s nomination for Best Actor among Robbie’s snub for Best Actress, one can’t ignore that he truly did shine, like plastic, in his role as Ken and deserves the nomination without a doubt. Many insist that it is the best role of his career.  His performance was unlike any other we have seen him in thus far, and it was delightful to watch him in all of Ken’s complexity, musical numbers and jokes that made audiences slap their knees and laugh out loud.

For Robbie herself, her focus is shifted to the overall success and cultural impact that the film has had. On a panel at a special Screen Actors Guild screening, Robbie stated  “There’s no way to feel sad when you know you’re this blessed.”  

She noted how ecstatic she is that the film has received eight Oscar nominations.

We set out to do something that would shift culture, affect culture, just make some sort of impact,” Robbie said. “And it’s already done that, and some way, more than we ever dreamed it would. And that is truly the biggest reward that could come out of all of this.”

Robbie not only starred in the film as Barbie herself, but her production company acquired the rights to “Barbie,” and asked Gerwig to write and direct the film, making Gerwig the first woman to solely direct a billion-dollar movie. 

Robbie may not have received proper recognition from the academy for her performance as Barbie, however she did receive recognition for her role in bringing “Barbie” to life as one of the film’s producers, as it is also up for Best Picture. This will be her first nomination as a producer. 

This marks the first time in the Academy Awards’ 96 years that three out of the 10 movies nominated for Best Picture, have been directed by women. Another overdue, yet still outstanding milestone for women in film.

Cons

Ferrera and Gosling’s Oscar nominations are a testament to “Barbie’s” impact not only on society, but the film world, and they should not be shamed for their achievements. However, Gerwig and Robbie’s nomination slights prove we failed the “Barbie” test, in more ways than one and should not be glanced over.

Despite the film’s major success worldwide, two of its most prominent creators were snubbed. Both Robbie and Gerwig were in the thick of the film’s making, as Robbie herself bought the rights to make the movie and asked Gerwig to write it, alongside her partner, Noah Baumbach, as stated in a “60 Minutes” interview and article.

Left to right, director/writer Greta Gerwig and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto on the set of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BARBIE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Dale Robinette. Copyright: © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

While Gerwig and Bambach were nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, that completely ignores the work and dedication she infused into the film through her directing.

The Oscar nominations are voted on by type, meaning actors vote for actors, directors vote for directors, and so on, with the exception of a few categories. 

Over 10,500 film industry artists and leaders are a part of the academy, which has a history of being a “Good Old Boys Club.”

Along with clear disclusion of racially diverse film artists and leaders, they’ve also left out women since the beginning of the Oscars, which reaches back to 1929. Only seven women have been nominated for Best Director in the history of the Oscars.

This makes Gerwig just one more woman forgotten by the academy, another way we failed the “Barbie” test.

Robbie was listed under the Best Picture nomination due to her role as one of “Barbie’s” producers, but this also negated the work and time she put into her acting role.

In an interview, Robbie was not worried about her own lack of nominations, but stated Gerwig should’ve been nominated as a director.

Additionally, Gosling and Ferrera, two of eight of “Barbie’s” Oscar nominations, have expressed their disappointment toward this lack of inclusion.

Ryan Gosling as Ken in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BARBIE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. Copyright: © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Gosling stated in a response to the nomination announcement that while he was honored by his inclusion, “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.”

Ferrera also released a statement expressing her disappointment.

This snub seems to be an echo of certain reactions following the film’s release in July 2023.

These certain reactions included a conservative boycott of the film and violent, over-the-top film reviews by people like Ben Shapiro who burned Ken and Barbie dolls in response to the premiere.

The combination of the Oscars snub and the mentioned reactions prove large parts of society still reflect the “Real World” depicted in the film, where misogynistic, sexist and self-entitled people still run the world.

These lack of nominations stand for something far more important than an awards ceremony, it represents the continuing disclusion of strong women present in the arts community. 

Barbie, in the film, represents real womens struggling to survive and find themselves in the real world. Gerwig and Robbie represent women in the film industry struggling to find their footing and rise through the ranks to become respected and powerful.

The academy needs to be defied and a nomination revision made to include both Gerwig and Robbie in their respective films. 

Change needs to occur not only at the academy but also in society. Women shouldn’t have to worry about their work being forgotten or being subject to objectification or being lost to history.

Emma Shipley can be reached at [email protected].

Ariana Powell can also be reached at [email protected], as well as [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Emma Shipley, Reporter
Emma Shipley is a junior studying journalism with a concentration in public relations. This is her first semester on The Orion and at Chico State. Outside of The Orion, Emma enjoys photography and has expanded her passion into Shipley Social Studio LLC, where she serves as the sole creative director and photographer, specializing in portraits and brand photography. Cinema, music, fashion, travel and art inspire her personal work as well as her career ambitions, and she is excited to bring her passion and skill sets to The Orion.
Ariana Powell, Editor-in-Chief
Ariana Powell is in her fourth year at Chico State as a media arts (criticism) and journalism (news) double-major. Now in her fourth semester on The Orion and having assumed the editor-in-chief position, she is prepared to continue helping upcoming journalists and endeavors to continue building her repertoire of multimedia and writing skills. In her free time, she enjoys writing, watching and analyzing films, reading and spending time with her loved ones.

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