When the 2024 Oscar nominations were announced this morning, the snubs of the two most prominent women involved in “Barbie” — the director, Greta Gerwig, and the lead actress, Margot Robbie — became the breakout story.
The top-grossing film of 2023, passing the $1 billion mark worldwide, is based on the imagined life and times of the iconic Mattel doll. A cultural phenomenon on its own terms, “Barbie,” along with “Oppenheimer,” became half of an unusually thoughtful summer blockbuster duo released on the same day in July (“Barbenheimer”): nothing to sneeze at.
As it turns out, the internet has strong opinions about today’s announcement.
“Let me see if I understand this: the Academy nominated ‘Barbie’ for Best Picture (eight nominations total) — a film about women being sidelined and rendered invisible in patriarchal structures — but not the woman who directed the film. Okay then,” read a viral X post by the writer Charlotte Clymer.
The film wasn’t completely shut out — it was nominated for best picture, while Ms. Gerwig picked up a nomination with Noah Baumbach for adapted screenplay, Ryan Gosling for supporting actor, and America Ferrera for supporting actress. But the fact that Mr. Gosling was tabbed for his towheaded Ken, who discovers the idea of patriarchy and then attempts to dominate Barbieland, before Ms. Robbie’s character destroys gender-based oppression, was too much for some to take.“We’re actually doing patriarchy very well,” the writer Jodi Lipper wrote in an Instagram story, quoting a Ken line from the film.
(In a statement released today, Mr. Gosling wrote, “To say that I’m disappointed that they are not nominated in their respective categories would be an understatement.”)
Indeed, because “Barbie” functions as a commentary on sexism and a metacommentary on its own place in feminist discourse, the movie itself was the first place some of its fans reached to express their outrage over the snubs.
“Nominating Ken but not Barbie is literally the plot of the movie,” the novelist Brad Meltzer wrote in a thread, above a gif of Ms. Robbie, as Barbie, dancing and saying, “Do you guys ever think about dying?”
“No but seriously…this could have been a storyline straight out of the Barbie movie,” reads the caption on a popular TikTok post from this morning.
Particularly galling for some were the awards garnered by Ms. Gerwig and Ms. Robbie’s “Barbenheimer” male counterparts, Christopher Nolan and Cillian Murphy, for their work on “Oppenheimer.”
“Greta gerwig & margot robbie were as crucial to barbie’s critical & commercial success as nolan & cillian murphy were to oppenheimer’s – imagine the uproar if one or both of those men had been snubbed! it’s wild how barbie is ‘oscar worthy,’ but not the women who made it so,” the writer Zoë Rose Bryant posted on X.
The snub comes after the Golden Globes host Jo Koy drew groans during his monologue for comparing the source material for “Oppenheimer” (“a 721-page Pulitzer Prize-winning book”) with that of “Barbie” (“a plastic doll with big boobies”).
For now, those hoping the director and star of “Barbie” will be recognized for their work will have to wish that the musical version of the film the two teased earlier this month comes to fruition. There’s always the Tonys.