“Barbie” (2023) may have received eight Oscar nominations, but that has not stopped movie-goers from criticizing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for failing to nominate the film’s star, Margot Robbie, and its director, Greta Gerwig.

Among those upset about the “snub” is former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) that, despite the failure to “take home the gold,” millions of fans love “Barbie.”

Additionally, Los Angeles Times Culture Columnist Mary McNamara expressed her displeasure that Gerwig and Robbie did not receive nominations and said the omissions proved the movie’s point: Women have to work harder to get the same recognition as men.

(Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Eva Rinaldi)

“If only Barbie had done a little time as a sex worker,” McNamara wrote. “Or barely survived becoming the next victim in a mass murder plot. Or stood accused of shoving Ken out of the Dream House’s top window.”

These three quips throw shade at three of the actresses who were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress: Emma Stone for “Poor Things” (2023), Lily Gladstone for “Killers of the Flower Moon” (2023) and Sandra Hüller for “Anatomy of a Fall” (2023). In her bizarre column, McNamara took aim at the feminist plot of “Poor Things,” the genocide of Native Americans in “Killers of the Flower Moon” and the intense and murderous courtroom drama at the center of “Anatomy of a Fall.”

However, in equivocating that Robbie did not get a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress, McNamara and internet users who are upset about “Barbie’s” snub are, in fact, going against the movie’s feminist message that explicitly states to that women should not tear each other down.

Due to the discourse around Ryan Gosling, who played Ken in “Barbie,” receiving an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination,  the actor put out a statement downplaying his own achievement. This comes as a response to those on social media who have criticized Gosling and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as they see his nomination — in the absence of Robbie’s or Gerwig’s — as contradicting the movie’s theme of female empowerment.

(Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / UKinUSA)

“But 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,” Gosling said in a public statement. “No recognition would be possible for anyone on the film without their talent, grit and genius.”

Gosling’s statement shows that, while Robbie was not nominated for what she did on screen, she was nominated for her crucial role as the film’s producer in the Academy Award for Best Picture category, arguably a bigger achievement. Robbie was pivotal in the making of “Barbie,” which others had been attempting for over a decade. She chose Gerwig as the writer and the director and convinced studios to produce the film, promising that it would earn $1 billion — and it did.

And, no, Gerwig was not an Academy Award for Best Director nominee. However, she and her partner Noah Baumbach were nominated for “Barbie’s” script in the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay category.

Gerwig is an extremely talented director, having made “Lady Bird” (2017) and “Little Women” (2019). Her best work, however, has always been her scripts. This is not to say that she’s a bad director but that Gerwig is one of the best screenwriters around. Nominating her for her screenplay is not a consolation prize; it is recognizing her for something in which she excels.

While Margot Robbie not being  nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role or Director may be disappointing, that is not an indictment of the film. Rather, it is a testament to what a great year 2023 was for film.

The Academy Award for Best Actress and Director categories are stronger than they have been in recent memory. In the directors’ category, Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer,” 2023) and Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) were nominated for historical epics that iterated and expanded on their legendary filmographies. Nolan brought his wide-sweeping cinematic flair to a more grounded, plot-heavy movie, and Scorsese used “Killers of the Flower Moon” to grapple with the notion that he has glorified crime and violence throughout his career.

The other nominees, Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest,” 2023) and Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”) are European auteur filmmakers whom no one else could have directed their films. Gerwig is one of the best directors alive, and she directed “Barbie” very well with a clear vision and incredible craftsmanship in every department — Warner Bros. Discovery simply released the film in a year when a multitude of uber-talented filmmakers were also releasing their work.

Robbie was great as Barbie, but 2023 was a year full of fantastic leading women. Many actresses vied for the top prize, with great performances from Natalie Portman, Greta Lee, Teyana Taylor and Fantasia Barrino also not making the cut. In a category with only five nomination slots, not every worthy performance could be included.

While missing out on some of the top categories is a tough blow for fans of “Barbie,” a movie that is arguably a commercial for a child’s toy becoming a billion-dollar-grossing film that deftly comments on modern feminism is still an extremely impressive achievement. This was a historic year for film, with auteur directors like Nolan, Scorsese and Yorgos Lanthimos adding to their excellent filmography and new directors like Triet and Celine Song making a name for themselves. Let us not mourn the losses for “Barbie” in the Academy Award for Best Actress and Director. Instead, let us celebrate what a fantastic year 2023 was for movies.

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Spencer Friedland (26cC is from Long Island, New York and is the Emory Wheel's News Editor. He is a Philosophy, Politics and Law major and has a secondary major in Film. Spencer is also apart of the Franklin Fellows program at Emory.

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Alex Gerson (he/him) (27C) is from Bethesda, Maryland. Outside of the Wheel, he's a member of eTV and hosts "Discography Discoveries" on WMRE. In his free time, Alex is probably watching TV and movies, listening to music or following the Washington Nationals.