The Oscars are known for their surprises and snubs, and this year, one of the most unexpected omissions has left the industry buzzing. Greta Gerwig, the acclaimed director of “Barbie,“ a colorful comedy that tackled patriarchy and shattered box office records, failed to secure a nomination for Best Director, raising questions about the selection process and gender bias within the Academy.
Despite receiving Best Director nominations from prestigious organizations like the Golden Globes and the Directors Guild of America, Gerwig was notably absent from the Oscars’ directorial lineup. This oversight left many in the film industry perplexed, especially since Gerwig had previously earned an Oscar nod for her directorial debut, “Lady Bird,” just six years ago.
Even Ryan Gosling, who portrayed Ken alongside Margot Robbie’s Barbie in the film, expressed his disappointment with the Academy’s decision, stating, “No recognition would be possible for anyone on the film without their talent, grit, and genius,” referring to both Gerwig and Robbie, who also missed out on a Best Actress nomination. Gosling’s remarks have ignited discussions about whether sexism played a role in Gerwig’s exclusion from the directorial category.
The presence of Justine Triet, the filmmaker behind “Anatomy of a Fall,” among the directing nominees, provides a slight reprieve for the Academy, as it diversifies the lineup. Still, the underrepresentation of female-led comedies in the Oscars continues to raise concerns. Comedies, in general, have historically faced difficulties in garnering Academy recognition.
It’s essential to note that “Barbie” successfully secured a nomination for Best Picture, a category that all Academy members can vote on. However, Gerwig’s surprising snub came from the Directors Branch, comprising just 587 voters, of which approximately 25% are women. This branch often leans toward appreciating more unconventional, non-mainstream studio films, potentially affecting “Barbie’s” chances due to its unique premise.
The Oscars have evolved over the past decade, with members hailing from 93 different countries. This international shift has notably impacted the Best Director category, with three of this year’s nominees primarily working in Europe. This change may have played a role in squeezing out directors like Alexander Payne, who, if nominated, would have become the most-nominated living filmmaker under 65.
Despite the Oscars snub, Gerwig has a lot to celebrate. She now holds the distinction of being the first filmmaker with her first three solo features, “Lady Bird,” “Little Women,” and “Barbie,” all nominated for Best Picture. Additionally, the sympathy generated by her exclusion may boost her chances in other categories, particularly the adapted screenplay race, where she and her husband, Noah Baumbach, are strong contenders.