Home » Exclusion of Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie from the Oscars did not go down well in Hollywood

Exclusion of Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie from the Oscars did not go down well in Hollywood

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Exclusion of Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie from the Oscars did not go down well in Hollywood

Lack of racial diversity and sexism continue to mark the Oscars, which this year left out the nominations for the director and protagonist of the film “Barbie”

It looked like a scene straight out of “Barbie” itself.

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 96th Academy Awards on Tuesday, Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie were excluded from the best director and best actress categories, respectively. To make matters worse, Ryan Gosling was nominated for best supporting actor for his role as Ken, the patriarchy-obsessed, humorless sidekick in the biggest box office hit of the year.

The Academy’s decision, which is no stranger to controversy and has faced an avalanche of criticism in recent years over issues related to diversity, left a good number of commentators astonished and shaking their heads. Gerwig, in particular, was expected to be nominated for best director, as she was the creative force behind the critically acclaimed billion-dollar sensation, which the Academy itself recognized by nominating her for best picture.

“Barbie” was distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, which is owned by CNN’s parent company.

For many, the fact that the pair were not named further validated the film’s message about how difficult it can be for women to succeed – and be recognized – for their contributions in a society dominated by sexism. Although Gerwig received a nomination for best adapted screenplay and Robbie was named as producer, the two will not compete for the year’s most prestigious awards.

“It’s still so easy for Hollywood to ignore and disregard the artistic contributions of women – EVEN WHEN IT’S THE POINT OF THE BIGGEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR!” lamented prominent political strategist Jennifer Palmieri, who served as communications director in the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. “Oh my God. It was nominated for best picture. It didn’t happen on its own, friends!”

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Needless to say, Palmieri was far from the only person to share such thoughts. The fact that the Academy rejected Gerwig and Robbie caused social media to immediately fill with news and criticism, and gave rise to a broader discussion about sexism on shows like “The View.”

In fact, it was not just limited to external observers who criticized the Academy. The controversy led to two of the film’s stars, Gosling and America Ferrera, speaking out and expressing their dismay at the Academy’s coldness.

In a statement, Gosling said he was “extremely honored” to have been nominated for best actor “alongside such notable artists.” He further added that he is also “proud to have been nominated for a best actor award for playing a plastic doll named Ken.”

“But 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 and globally celebrated film,” said Gosling. “No recognition would be possible for anyone in the film without their talent, drive and genius. To say I am disappointed that they were not nominated in their respective categories would be an understatement.”

“Against all odds, with nothing more than a pair of soulless, scantily clad and, thankfully, genitals-less dolls, they made us laugh, broke our hearts, boosted culture and made history,” the actor added. “His work should be recognized alongside the other very deserving nominees.”

Ferrera, who was greenlit for best supporting actress, told Deadline’s Matt Grobar that she was “a little in shock” after the nominations were announced — in both a good and bad way.

“They’re my girls and I want to see their incredible, amazing work celebrated. They made history, they set a new standard,” Ferrera told Grobar. “Not only did they break box office records, they did something that resonated around the world, and the impact of what they did is, and will continue to be, felt in our culture. I think I join a lot of people in wanting to see their work recognized for that.”

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In an interview with Variety’s Angelique Jackson and Clayton Davis, Ferrera was more direct: “I was incredibly disappointed that they weren’t nominated.”

In recent years, the Academy has made efforts to be more representative of society. But racial diversity and sexism continue to be problems that the Academy is trying to solve. At last year’s awards ceremony, host Jimmy Kimmel even joked, “How come the Academy doesn’t nominate the guy who directed ‘Avatar’? What do they think he is, a woman?”

There is empirical evidence to support the notion that women are ignored by Academia. A comprehensive 2020 study from Emerson College titled “Oscar is a Man: Sexism and the Academy Awards” concluded that best picture winners are almost twice as likely to have male leads. The study’s authors, Kenneth Grout and Owen Eagan, wrote that “one thing is historically certain” in Hollywood: “Women have had to work harder than men to achieve the same acclaim.”

Suffice to say, these words ring true across the industry today.

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