• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

The Snubbing of Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie

ByLily Brown

Feb 14, 2024
"GoslingBFI081223 (16 of 30) (53389077676)" by Raph_PH is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

With the release of Oscar nominations there is always controversy, however this year saw an unprecedented wave of backlash. Many online were up in arms over Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig not receiving nominations for their work on Barbie in the acting and directing categories respectively. This is despite the fact that Barbie received 8 nominations this year and Robbie and Gerwig both received nods in other categories. 

For many online, these so-called snubs symbolise a loss for feminism, especially as Ryan Gosling received an admittedly odd nomination for actor in a supporting role. That Gosling was nominated but not Robbie proves the point of Barbie is a commonly shared sentiment on social media platforms. However, while Gosling’s nod is a little out there, it does make more sense that he would receive an acting nomination as Ken had by far the more interesting and unique character arc in the movie. Robbie’s Barbie follows a basic hero’s journey, with a few well-timed comic beats and generic sad moments, while Gosling’s Ken gets a full-on villain arc and redemption, a zany musical number, and the most memorable lines. The attention given towards Ken is not a result of audiences misinterpreting the material, rather it is a result of the material itself. Then of course there is the assumption that Barbie is the pinnacle of feminism and any critique of it is a betrayal of the cause. To be blunt, Barbie is a glorified toy commercial with milquetoast feminist politics designed to make you forget about the abuses Mattel carries out against its factory workers, most of whom are women. Furthermore, the implication that Barbie should win awards because it was a ‘cultural moment’ and made a ridiculous amount of money implies awards should be given out not on the basis of artistic merit but on its profit margins.

The outrage over Barbie missing out on two awards also overshadows the very real achievements made this Oscar season. Firstly, Lily Gladstone became the first Native American and the first openly non-binary actor to be nominated for any Oscar for her stunning performance in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. This is a huge milestone, yet it is being ignored in the name of feminism in favour of Robbie’s ‘snub’ proving once again, that for many people, feminism begins and ends with white women. Robbie’s co-star America Ferrara, another woman of colour, was nominated for supporting actress, which again has gone almost entirely overlooked. In the directing category Justine Triet is nominated for her work on Anatomy of a Fall, a huge achievement given that France submitted The Taste of Things for consideration in the Best International Feature film category. According to insiders, France’s Oscar committee purposefully did not submit Triet’s Palme D’Or winning film due to her criticism of Emmanuel Macron and his handling of the pension reform protest movement. This is to name only a couple of the achievements made by marginalised creators this year.

The Barbie movie has dominated the Oscar conversation this year and has smothered any discussion of the other films and nominees. Barbie is not a typical Oscar movie, and its 8 nominations are surprising to anyone who follows the awards every year, however most people do not follow the Oscars closely and—as the mid-budget movie shrinks and the blockbuster dominates—more and more people don’t watch the films that win Oscars every year. Barbie ($1.44 billion) and Oppenheimer ($952.9 million) make up 90% of the global box office draw from all the best picture nominees combined. The next highest grossing film nominated is Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon which made $156.3 billion, a tenth of what Barbie made. In an exciting move, Disney has been shut out of the Best Animated Feature Film category (unless you count Pixar which they own), allowing more interesting voices to take the forefront and proving the profit incentive is not the route to great art. It is disappointing therefore to see so many online clamouring for one the most successful ad campaigns in recent memory to be recognised as high art.

GoslingBFI081223 (16 of 30) (53389077676)” by Raph_PH is licensed under CC BY 2.0.