Award season is never complete without some controversy. This time, it comes with Margot Robbie. The actress’s snub in the Oscars’ Best Actress category had created a ruckus amongst her fans. Also axed from nominations is Greta Gerwig from the Best Director category. Barbie fans launched into a tirade of accusations against the Academy, centering them on feminism. But after a certain extent, the whole reaction seemed a little unnecessary. Rather, it exposed how selectively feminism works for this section of womenfolk.
Online, there was a lot of support for Robbie and Gerwig, which also came from co-stars and Oscar nominees Ryan Gosling and America Ferrera. Many drew parallels between the Academy’s decision and Barbie’s story, implying that the former furthers patriarchy. After all, the key people of the film did not receive the most coveted award nominations of the season. Robbie has no bad blood with the Academy despite her snubbing, and considers the movie’s success in impacting culture a greater “blessing.” There were also other notable people who missed out on nominations, but Barbie’s mammoth-like amount of loyalists singled it out as the victim. Amidst this huge wave of support, people have also completely overlooked Leonardo DiCaprio’s snub in the Best Actor category. It is understood why he misses out given the list of nominees. But any other year, that is the snub the world should be talking about.
Not many voices of support came for Greta Lee and Celine Song when they were snubbed from the same categories as their Barbie contemporaries. Past Lives is Song’s debut feature, and it is unlike a director to achieve such a response at their first go. The two have been nominated at every other award show this year. Robbie also expressed her support for the two women, and Gerwig. But ‘film lovers’ have seemingly forgotten about Past Lives, in the wake of overwhelming conversation around Barbie. The topic became one of the most talked-about online, with even Hillary Clinton joining the force.
But this year also has some notable people in the run for their respective awards. Lily Gladstone is the first Native-American woman to have been nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars. Danielle Brooks and Da’Vine Joy Randalph also have Best Supporting actress nods. America Ferrera, going without any nominations at other awards, is a nominee of the same award as well.
The Academy has its fair share of problems, often having to deal with racism and sexism allegations. In its Best Director category, most nominees are usually men. This year is no surprise as well, with Justine Triet being the only female nominee in the category. The only other category where women dominate nominations are Best Costume. But that does not always mean that the Academy prefers certain kind of people more than others. The Academy has an exhaustive number of members that churn out its nominations for the awards. Close to 9500 people vote every year, and a rigorous round of movie-watching is done to arrive at these lists of 6. No other award show has a panel as large as the Oscars. Members come from various parts of the world, and are reputed for the work they do.
Barbie fans call for feminism, but fail to see the point of awards. This year’s nominees for best actress include Emma Stone, Sandra Huller, Lily Gladstone, Annette Bening, and Carey Mulligan. Robbie’s performance might not have impressed the voting panel, when we see the full list. Moreover, Stone has already clinched Best Actress wins despite Robbie being nominated, in the Critics’ Choice Award and a Golden Globe. Gladstone won a Golden Globe in the Best Actress (Drama) category. The issue is not about feminism; it is about who outshone on screen with their performance. The support for Greta Gerwig is valid, but only on grounds of her work and not her gender. The movie wouldn’t have been the cultural phenomenon it is if she wasn’t behind it. Gerwig deserved a chance to run for the award, as did Celine Song. If you have to talk about snubs, talk about everyone that deserved a chance. Conversations about feminism cannot be justified if there are only particular women that are painted as victims.
The snubs are a big talking point, because each of those artists are big names in the industry. Robbie’s and Gerwig’s work alone couldn’t have propelled Barbie to its status today; there are lots of other factors at hand. The Academy honors excellence in Hollywood, and has done exactly that in its nominations this year. It might come as a bitter truth to digest for Barbie fans, but the pink fever has died down a little bit. Moreover, Robbie truly cemented herself as a producer with Barbie, and is even nominated for Best Picture for the same. Why aren’t people celebrating that feat, even on grounds of feminism?