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Oscars nominations regarding ‘Barbie’ causes controversy

An international shortage of the fluorescent shade of Rosco paint — this is the influence of the Barbie movie, the no. 1 box-office hit of 2023. Hence, some were confused by the Oscar nominations released on Jan. 24, when Margot Robbie was not nominated for Best Actress in a Lead Role and when Greta Gerwig was not nominated for Best Director. However, Ryan Gosling received nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Song. 

Similarly, many other actors in the “Barbie” cast such as America Ferrera and Ryan Gosling have stated that they found the lack of nominations for Robbie and Gerwig “incredibly disappointing.”

Some have opted into finding a secondary meaning within the nominations by looking into the movie’s storyline. Within the movie, Barbie is living a perfect life in the vibrant world of Barbie Land. However, when Barbie discovers a problem that has to be solved by going to the real world, she and Ken soon discover the underlying patriarchy by living among humans. While Barbie is horrified by this, Ken discovers a newfound confidence in himself and takes over Barbie Land with the rest of the “Kens.”

Therefore, the primary role of the movie was to address the social phenomenon of women seen as figures that must take care of others at the expense of giving up their own joys. As a movie made for the empowerment of women and their imaginations with the use of iconic toys such as Barbie, the movie spurred joy and evoked understanding in the hearts of many who tuned in. This message of the movie is why many have said the award nominations contrast with what was brought awareness to within the story. 

“In my opinion, I think that Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig not getting an Oscar nomination while Ryan Gosling [did] proved why we needed this movie in the first place. Greta Gerwig was the director of this movie and I think she deserves this award more than anyone and if one of the cast members is getting a nomination that should be her,” said Sarah Kim (10), viewer of the movie. “Barbie is about women being sidelined and going against the patriarchy. Ken was nominated but ‘Barbie’ was not in her own movie. To say that everyone is disappointed by this is an understatement.”

However, others choose not to read into the nominations as a reflection of society. 

“First of all, as a cinema fan (and a fan of the movie) I was delighted to see Barbie do so well but box office success has never had any connection to Oscar success. The Best Picture award very rarely goes to the biggest financial success of the year or even to the film with the biggest cultural impact. Two exceptions of the former that spring to mind are Titanic and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” said Iain Cowieson, Drama teacher. “Ryan Gosling’s nomination is not a reward of misogyny – his character is there to ridicule it as much as Robbie’s is. Gosling’s performance was a comedic triumph but I think Robert Downey Jr’s performance in Oppenheimer is better. And again America Ferrera is also nominated so the ‘Ken gets nominated but Barbie doesn’t’ narrative doesn’t really hold up. Of the three I think Ferrera’s is the best performance in the film.”

Similar opinions arose from other people.

“When you look at how many women were nominated and got awards at the Oscars, it’s not some sort of patriarchy. I think such accusations are absurd,” said Chris Blendheim, AP Lang teacher. “Feminism is going to be seen in a different way in America than in South Korea, or at least the ability to speak out vociferously about the issue. I’m curious to find why the movie didn’t take off in Korea where it seems like women are at a much greater disadvantage in South Korean society than in America.”

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About the Contributor
Jiah Hwang, Reporter
Jiah Hwang is a sophomore at Tiger Times Online. In her free time, she loves to read books, especially historical fiction and fantasy. She also enjoys listening to music, drawing, and watching old movies. Feel free to ask her about book recommendations!

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