Opinion: Barbies Oscars Snub

Opinion: Barbie’s Oscars Snub

Cultural landmark isn’t just Ken

The Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars) is arguably one of the most prestigious award bodies for artists in the film industry. Barbie was nominated for a total of eight awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress. By the end of the award show on March 10, 2024, the film only won the Best Song cagegory for Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” Many viewers believe that the nominations themselves were snubs as well. Margot Robbie, who played Barbie herself, was not nominated for Best Actress, nor was Greta Gerwig nominated for Best Director. However, Ryan Gosling was nominated as Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Ken, the clumsy male counterpart to Barbie. Viewers cannot help but note the irony in this picture.

Barbie is a live-action film using Mattel’s fashion doll characters to comment on patriarchal views, resonating with many around the world.

“I think I was most touched by the scene when Barbie first comes to the Real World,”said LACES English teacher Ms. Audrey Hong. “She sits on that bench in the park and she starts to feel all the human emotions for the first time and doesn’t know why she’s crying. I really liked that.”

The film follows the protagonist Barbie on her journey of self-discovery while battling feelings of purposelessness and the Real World’s misogyny. Despite the film’s criticism of overarching patriarchy that made many women feel seen, one could argue it feels as if many of the award judges did not watch Barbie at all when Ken was the one receiving all of the attention.

“Ryan Gosling is doing a good job of recognizing that the film proved everything to be true,” said LACES history teacher Ms. Carmen Adler. “The fact that his song was awarded and Billie Eilish’s song didn’t get awarded [at the Critics Choice Awards]. And that he was nominated and the director and Margot Robbie were not nominated [at the Oscars]. I think he’s in a really tough spot, and he’s doing a really good job of navigating that. The Academy missed the whole point of the movie.”

Although the film clarified that Barbie does not need Ken as her counterpart, Gosling was the one to receive nominations instead of Robbie or Gerwig. In fact, Oscar nominations were not the only disappointments for Barbie this award season; the 29th Annual Critics Choice Awards on January 14, 2024 were just as discouraging. Gosling won the Best Song category for his satirical ballad “I’m Just Ken” over Billie Eilish’s heart-wrenching “What Was I Made For?” Eilish’s feature song questioned women’s purposes in life, correlating with Barbie’s on-screen identity crisis and emotional isolation. Nevertheless, the Academy and Critics Choice Awards prioritized Ken’s pursuit of validation from Barbie over her own issues. Even Gosling himself seemed to express confusion as the hosts announced his win and did not join the songwriters onstage to accept the award.

Not only has Barbie been snubbed by these award shows, but the film also seems to be inadequately respected by show hosts. When comedian Jo Koy hosted the 2024 Golden Globes ceremony on January 7, he made sexist remarks about Barbie, stating, “Oppenheimer is based on a 721-page, Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Manhattan Project. And Barbie is on a plastic doll with big boobies.” Although he later claimed the jokes were written by his comedy writing team, he completely failed to read the point of the film and left viewers disheartened.

These recent award shows in film have proved that no matter how seemingly aware the world is about issues of misogyny, no amount of this feminism has changed the way women have been treated by society.

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