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OPINION: The academy wrongfully snubbed the women of ‘Barbie’

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Carrie Dorean
“Barbie Movie Reception.” by Carrie Dorean

/Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig were both snubbed in their respective categories for an Oscar nomination despite the impact “Barbie” had on women and girls across the world. On the other hand, Robbie’s film counterpart Ryan Gosling was nominated for an Oscar in his feature role as Ken for Best Supporting Actor. 

The entire point of “Barbie” was to show men what it’s like to feel inferior, to be a woman in a man’s world. While these complex themes were represented in the simple fantasy of Barbie world, in the real world, misogyny is still very real and painful for women. 

Gerwig and Robbie’s lack of recognition ironically displays everything the “Barbie” movie was trying to exemplify; no matter how powerful you are as a woman, you still are just a woman, to many men in the same industry. 

“Barbie” connects generations of women and girls who not only played with dolls, but lived the not-so glamorous parts of womanhood: cat calling, diet culture, fear of aging, cellulite, the list could go on. 

Gosling released a statement showing his disappointment in the academy considering the two women’s vital role in the creation of the film. 

“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, globally-celebrated film,Gosling wrote in a statement.

He said it best, there is no Ken without Barbie. It’s really that simple.  

Although both Robbie and Gerwig were left out of the nominations, “Barbie” still stands a chance at claiming glory for its eight total nominations: Gosling’s nomination, America Ferrera’s nomination for Best Supporting Actress, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay,  Best Production Design, Best Costume Design and two separate nominations for best Best Original Song. 

Clearly, the academy understands a taste of the significance “Barbie” had on box offices this year with its other eight nominations, although you can’t help but wonder why there was a slight on arguably the two most important people who went into the creation of “Barbie”: Robbie and Gerwig. 

“Barbie” created over $1 billion in revenue, ranking alongside some of the most popular movies of all time, like, “Star Wars,” “Titanic” and “Jurassic World.” However, this is the first time that a film grossing $1 billion has a woman as the sole directing credit, according to the New York Times. It seems as though that’s worth some accolades. 

It’s not like these two are strangers to the academy. Gerwig has been up for Best Director for her movie “Lady Bird” in 2017, and Robbie was nominated for Best Actress for her role in “I, Tonya” as Tonya Harding in 2017 as well. 

The five women who were nominated for Best Actress this year are well renowned and deserving of their praise, no doubt. Although, these actresses’ roles were nowhere near as highlighted by the media as Robbie’s work in “Barbie.” Popularity of a movie does not mean the work is better. There are many incredible films that release each year and barely hear a peep of praise.

“Barbie” was more than just a popular movie for many people, myself included. 

“Barbie” takes a simple concept of “plastic dolls with big boobies,” (Jo Koy’s reduction of the film’s premise in a tasteless joke at the Golden Globes) and highlights the misogyny embedded in our society. Barbie, the doll, shows girls they can be more than just a mother; they can be career driven and succeed alongside their male counterparts. Well, not in Robbie’s case this year.

At the Golden Globes, “Barbie” won the first ever award for cinematic and box office achievement, due to the energy and ambiance viewers created at the theaters. Millions of young girls went to the movies wearing pink; girls so young they probably don’t understand the significance of being a part of this global phenomenon.   

Julian Shapiro-Barnum, known for his interviews with children on his social media account Recess Therapy, was a celebrity interviewer at the Golden Globes this year. During the Globes, he brought two young girls to stand alongside him as he talked with celebrities. In one clip of him and the girls talking with mermaid Barbie, aka Dua Lipa,  he asks which of the Barbie’s the two 7-year-olds would be. One of the girls responded with “I want to be […] the president!” referencing the Barbie who was played by Issa Rae. 

“Barbie” let’s young girls dream of being the president. “Barbie” allows young girls to see themselves represented in roles where society has fallen short. This is something that has never been done before so obviously yet tastefully in a movie, proving Gerwig and Robbie deserve real recognition and accolades for their innovation and empowerment of women. 

“To say that I’m disappointed that they are not nominated for their respective categories would be an understatement,” Gosling said. “Their work should be recognized along with the other very deserving nominees.”  

I think the snub despite the movie’s societal impact is wrong and offensive to women and girls everywhere who felt seen by Robbie and Gerwig’s work. But then again, to many like Koy, “Barbie” is just a movie about “plastic dolls with big boobies,” whereas other nominations, like “Oppenheimer,” are “based on a Pulitzer-Prize winning novel.”


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Annabel Lecky

Annabel is a University of Arizona student studying journalism and studio art. Outside of writing, her interests are music, art and photography. 

 

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