Is it really a big award nomination announcement if there isn’t some drama anymore? The focus of the announced Oscar nominations is, of course, Barbie director Greta Gerwig and female lead Margot Robbie being seemingly skipped over when they’re the central part of how the movie happened. However, the film wasn’t entirely skipped over, with Ryan Gosling (who was also recently honored with the 16th Kirk Douglas Award) and America Ferrera getting well-deserved Oscar nominations for and the Best Picture nod, along with other things, so it wasn’t entirely skipped over. So, why is the focus there and not on who gets nominated?

Part of it is probably the effort it took to make such a weird movie in the first place. Over the past two decades, Hollywood has become extremely risk-averse as its focus has shifted to attempting to earn more money in the international market, where studios have found more success with reboots. Thus, it’s a fluke that Barbie got to happen (although, now, we will never see the end of it, as WB plans its Mattel Cinematic Universe). So, I think the novelty of Barbie is part of the shock.

But it’s also how easy it is to make comparisons between the movie itself and Gosling getting a nod while Robbie and Gerwig didn’t. If social media lives for anything, it’s for over-simplified comparisons. (Editor’s note: It’s almost as if people didn’t understand that the Great Ken War of 2023 wasn’t the climax movie. My oversimplified comparison is: once again, the female climax gets ignored.)

Margot Robbie as Barbie, a white woman with long blonde hair, wears a pink outfit and sits in a pink convertible with Ryan Gosling as Ken, a white man with white blonde hair wearing a pink and blue open shirt. The word Barbie is large, in pink and white, on a blue background.
Turns out Ken’s Kenough, all right.

#OscarsSoWhite, the 2024 Edition

In the meantime, the five actresses that did get Best Actress nominations are being pretty much forgotten. Some have to be wondering who people think shouldn’t have gotten the nomination, so Robbie did. 

What’s a real shame is that all of this hubbub over someone nominated before (Robbie) overshadows the fact that a Native American actress has been nominated as best actress for the first time. Robbie will have a multitude of other nomination opportunities, but when the best actress category is always mostly white women, how often will Lily Gladstone have this chance? 

Lily Gladstone, a Native American woman with shoulder-blade-length dark wavy hair, sits in a traditional Osage dress.
Lily must be the gladdest of stones.

One could also notice that the best director category is all white, with a single woman. Gerwig has also been nominated before, but we’re worried about two white people instead of talking about how, yet again, how white the Oscar nominations are. 

In 2015, the lack of diversity in Hollywood productions hit a tipping point. The social media movement #OscarsSoWhite was a compilation of decades of neglect and exclusion of underrepresented minorities in film, which finally erupted for the 87th annual Academy Awards. After The Woman King director Gina Prince-Bythewood was snubbed in 2023, multiple reports came out about the lack of diversity in Hollywood, including this one from the University of California, Berkley, and the University of Southern California Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

According to the research, Robbie and Gerwig will be fine. They’re talented, and they’re white. Sure, Greta has to face off against many men in the best director category when she does get that nod again, but again, she’s white. Her directing ability will get her another nomination before long.

Let’s celebrate Gladstone’s achievement, as well as the other nominees, like the Best Animated Feature nom for Nimona, based on the graphic novel of the same name by trans cartoonist ND Stevenson, and the VFX nom for Godzilla Minus One, the first one for the franchise. And if we’re going to ask about possibly equally deserving people, let’s wonder why all the attention is on white people yet again.


  1. Um… I think you mean Mattel Cinematic Universe. The Hasbro Cinematic Universe is what Paramount’s constantly threatening.

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