There were a lot of snubs among the Oscar nominations, but none bigger than Barbie. Make no mistake: Barbie wasn’t conceived with the intention of making a run towards Oscar gold. It was supposed to be a fun summer movie with Margot Robbie bringing the world’s most famous doll into the realm of live-action. No one predicted that Barbie would be the blockbuster 0f 2023 and a hit with fans and critics alike. That’s why no one was shocked when the Academy Awards nominated Barbie for Best Picture of 2023.
The thing that surprised industry observers was that Robbie was shut out of the Best Actress category while her co-stars, Ryan Gosling and America Ferrera, were both nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Even Greta Gerwig was snubbed in the Best Director category despite her film landing a Best Picture nod.
Oscar snubs happen every year, and there are always popular films that don’t make the cut. This year’s Barbie snubs are different because they could come back to haunt the Academy Awards in a big way. And we’re going to tell you why.
Although the Academy Awards are ostensibly meant to honor the best movies of the year, the entire reason that the Oscars are on TV is so fans at home can watch the ceremony. At its height, the Oscars telecast commanded big ratings. And do you know why? It’s because movie fans enjoy seeing the films that they loved winning the top awards. That’s one of the big incentives to watch.
Barbie is still up for eight awards at this year’s Oscars, but Robbie and Gerwig’s respective snubs suggest that the academy didn’t take the film very seriously. So why should Barbie fans stay up late to watch the whole Oscars ceremony if they think there’s only a small chance that it will take home Best Picture?
There is a very real chance that Ryan Gosling could win Best Supporting Actor for his role as Ken in Barbie. Gosling is really hilarious in the part, and his character even gets to sing “I’m Just a Ken,” one of this year’s nominees for Best Song. Now, take a moment to think about the optics of Gosling winning an Oscar while Robbie or even Ferrera goes home empty-handed.
Barbie‘s plot involved Ken discovering the patriarchy and briefly using that to take over and dominate Barbie’s world. The film went out of its way to demonstrate why the patriarchy can be damaging to both women and men. And if the academy’s response to that message is to award the man and leave the women with nothing then it just means that Barbie was right all along.
Sometimes, success is the best revenge. Oppenheimer may be the frontrunner in the race for Best Picture, but there is a very real chance that the academy’s snub of Robbie and Gerwig could galvanize support for Barbie in the Best Picture category.
Picture for a moment an Oscar telecast that ends with Robbie and Gerwig taking the stage to accept Barbie‘s Best Picture award. There would be no sweeter payback than that.
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