‘Barbie’ Oscars snubs prompt a backlash, even from Ken (and Hillary)

Jan 24, 2024, 3:07 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2024, 11:00 am

FILE: Writer/ director/executive producer Greta Gerwig poses for photographers upon arrival at the ...

FILE: Writer/ director/executive producer Greta Gerwig poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Barbie' on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, in London. (Scott Garfitt /Invision/AP)

(Scott Garfitt /Invision/AP)

Sound up for our interview with ABC News Entertainment on the Barbie snubs.


NEW YORK (AP) — “Barbie” was the biggest hit of 2023, the highest-grossing movie ever directed by a woman and a bona fide cultural sensation that turned movie theaters pink and left a still-going trail of think pieces in the wake of Greta Gerwig’s feminist fantasia.

But while “Barbie” received eight Academy Awards nominations on Tuesday, including best picture, it was easily bested by its unlikely double-feature partner at the box office, “Oppenheimer.” And when the

Academy Awards passed over Gerwig for best director and Margot Robbie for best actress, many saw some of the same patriarchy parodied in “Barbie” at work.

Even Ken was furious.

“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,” Ryan Gosling said.

“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.”

By Wednesday, the backlash had already passed into the political realm. Hillary Clinton, posting on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, wrote:

“Greta & Margot,
While it can sting to win the box office but not take home the gold, your millions of fans love you.
You’re both so much more than Kenough.

Clinton’s post sent the internet in a frenzy that, from afar, looked something like the beachfront warfare that breaks out in “Barbie.” The firestorm on the heels of nominations ensures that the runup to the March 10 Oscars — which had started to feel like a straightforward march to coronation for “Oppenheimer” and a handful of frontrunners — will have plenty of drama.

Jimmy Kimmel, who will host those awards, has already weighed in. On Tuesday night’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” he quipped that Gosling being nominated for Ken while Robbie and Gerwig were snubbed “was kind of the plot of the ‘Barbie’ movie.”

If the summer phenomenon of Barbenheimer was defined by a strange counter-programming synergy that lifted both films up, the same dual effect didn’t quite transfer to the Academy Award nominations. The disparity was striking, in part, not just because of the strong support for “Barbie,” but because the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has a long history of overlooking women behind the camera and female-led films.

Gerwig, herself, has already been in the middle of that history. When she was nominated for best director in 2018 for “Lady Bird,” she was just the fifth woman nominated in the category. At the time, only Kathryn Bigelow had previously won best director. Since then, both Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”) and Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”) have.

At the same time, Gerwig has been uniquely celebrated by the academy. Her first three films as a solo director — “Lady Bird,””Little Women” and “Barbie” — have all been nominated for best picture. On

Tuesday, Gerwig and her husband, Noah Baumbach, with whom she co-wrote the film, were nominated for best adapted screenplay. (In another twist that didn’t delight “Barbie” fans, the academy deemed the script would be categorized as adapted.) Robbie, as a producer, shared in the best picture nomination.

Neither Gerwig nor Robbie has commented publicly yet on either the nominations the movie received or the ones they didn’t. Representatives for Gerwig and Robbie didn’t respond Wednesday to queries.

Meanwhile, debates raged about the nature of the “Barbie” snubs. Mary McNamara, the cultural columnist for The Los Angeles Times, wrote: “Did too many people (particularly women) enjoy ‘Barbie’ for it to be considered ‘important’ enough for academy voters? Did Robbie’s Barbie not suffer enough? Did Gerwig simply make it look too effortless? Was it just too pink?”

Sexism might have played a role. Yet Justine Triet, the filmmaker of the Palme d’Or-winning French courtroom drama “Anatomy of the Fall,” was among the nominees for best director, along with Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”), Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”) and Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”). That left two Directors Guilds nominees — Gerwig and Alexander Payne (“The Holdovers”) — on the outside.

One likely factor: the increasingly international composition of the film academy. Partly to expand the diversity of Oscar voters, the academy is spread around the world more than ever; ballots were filed from a record 93 countries this year. Potentially, that may have favored Europe-based filmmakers like Triet, Lanthimos and Glazer.

The academy could also point to another record: For the first time, three movies directed by women were nominated for best picture: Gerwig’s “Barbie,” Triet’s “Anatomy of a Fall” and Celine Song’s “Past Lives.”

Still, the end result — with the creative brains and star of the year’s most-talked about movie left out — just felt wrong to many.

“Greta Gerwig: Made a critically acclaimed, culturally profound, feminist movie about Barbie and the patriarchy that made a billion dollars at the box office,” activist Shannon Watts tweeted. “Oscar nomination goes to … Ken.”

Sometimes, a glaring snub can boomerang a flagging awards campaign. After Ben Affleck went unnominated for directing 2012’s “Argo,” voters rallied around his movie, ultimately handing Affleck the Oscar for best picture. Whether the same effect could follow “Barbie” will be one of the biggest questions leading up the Academy Awards.

On Wednesday, Billie Jean King, who fought for and won equal pay for women in tennis, posted that she was “really upset” about the snubs.

“The movie is absolutely brilliant,” wrote King, “and Greta Gerwig is a genius.”
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle at:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Arts + Entertainment

taylor swift performing eras tour concert, a new class at weber state focuses on swift...


Weber State University to offer class on Taylor Swift this fall

The Weber State University Taylor Swift class was offered for the first time this spring and filled up quickly.

12 hours ago

Salt Lake City’s downtown skyline on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. Jazz owner Ryan Smith continues to d...

Mariah Maynes

Utah Jazz owner hypes potential “sports-centered” downtown Salt Lake

Ryan Smith, the owner of the Utah Jazz, is hyping up the possibility of bringing more professional sports teams to Utah. 

14 hours ago

Image of TV remote featuring Netflix button. Netflix may direct customers to stop paying for their ...

Samantha Delouya, CNN

You may lose access to your Netflix account if you’re paying through Apple

The update by Netflix comes after years of pushback from apps in Apples iOS App Store for taking a 30% cut of all in-app purchases.

19 hours ago

Kenneth Mitchell, here in 2018, has died....

Megan Thomas, CNN

Kenneth Mitchell, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Marvel’ actor, dead at 49

A native of Canada, Mitchell acquired more than 50 film and television credits over the course of his acting career. He was diagnosed with ALS in 2019.

2 days ago

kevin and michael bacon performing, they'll stop in utah in June...

Sam Herrera

Kevin Bacon to stop in Utah this summer with Bacon Brothers band

Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael will stop by Utah this June to take part in Lehi's Round-Up concert as the Bacon Brothers band.

4 days ago

KSL Movie Show Review of "Perfect Days." This is one of those “art house films” that mainstream...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show Review: ‘Perfect Days’ is an exceptional effort

"Perfect Days" is one of those “art house films” that mainstream audiences can’t understand why anyone would want to sit through -- I’ll try to explain why in this review. 

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

‘Barbie’ Oscars snubs prompt a backlash, even from Ken (and Hillary)