The 2024 Oscar nominations were released on Tuesday after a long build up of speculation of which movies would take the top spots. “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie” have been pitted against each other since their release, breaking box office records and earning rave reviews, and were expected to win big.
Apart from being released on the same day, the two movies have very little in common. Notably, Christopher Nolan’s three hour blockbuster doesn’t include a hit Nicki Minaj song like Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie.” However, their statistics were watched closely and the two became a well known pair with “Barbenheimer” trending throughout the summer of 2023.
Regardless of their creative differences, one is very clear. The “Oppenheimer” team is majority male, while the “Barbie” team is majority female. “Oppenheimer” received thirteen nominations, including the highly sought after Best Director and Best Actor, while “Barbie” received eight nominations, with none in those two categories.
When Margot Robbie, who played the title character of a film that has been nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, is not nominated for an Oscar, but her male co-star is, it becomes extraordinarily clear that there is a problem. When Greta Gerwig who wrote and directed the film only receives a nomination for Adapted Screenplay, but not for Best Director, the problem becomes even more painfully obvious. Gerwig even set a new record for the highest-grossing female-directed film at the domestic box office, but that is clearly not enough to earn a top nomination.
Ryan Gosling, who played Ken, released a statement in response to the snub: “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. No recognition would be possible for anyone on the film without their talent, grit and genius. To say that I’m disappointed that they are not nominated in their respective categories would be an understatement.”
The Oscars have long received harsh criticism for their lack of diversity and, although some very welcome changes have been made over the years, there are still fundamental issues within the list of nominees year after year. In the award show’s 94-year history, only two women have ever been named Best Director.
The irony of the nomination saga is excruciating. With “Barbie” acting as a social commentary on misogyny, this snub was simply too on the nose for fans. The plot of “Barbie” is quite simple: Barbie discovers the patriarchy. Life imitates art.