The real world is forever and irrevocably messed up, Barbie said in the “Barbie” movie. And on Tuesday, the Oscar nominations and Ryan Gosling drove home her point in Ken’s GMC Hummer.
“Barbie” stars Ryan Gosling and America Ferrera also don’t think Kenough people recognized director-writer Greta Gerwig and star-producer Margot Robbie, the women behind the groundbreaking film that can now officially add “Oscar-nominated” as a lead-in to its title.
After the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday announced the 96th Academy Award nominees, Gosling and Ferrera celebrated their supporting acting nods. But they didn’t do it without giving credit to their bosses, who were left out of key categories.
“I am extremely honored to be nominated by my colleagues alongside such remarkable artists in a year of so many great films. And I never thought I’d be saying this, but I’m also incredibly honored and proud that it’s for portraying a plastic doll named Ken,” Gosling, who co-starred along Robbie’s titular doll, said in a statement to The Times.
“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,” the three-time nominee added.
Indeed, the “Barbie” juggernaut grossed more than $1.4 billion at the box office, earned glowing reviews (as well as extreme analysis) and renewed the Mattel toy’s place in the cultural zeitgeist. But those achievements seemed lost on the director’s branch of the film academy, which was likened to the film’s Will Ferrell-led corporate mob Tuesday on social media. The academy instead nominated directors Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”), Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”), Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”), Martin Scorsese, “Killers of the Flower Moon”) and Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”).
“No recognition would be possible for anyone on the film without their talent, grit and genius,” Gosling continued in his statement about Gerwig and Robbie. “To say that I’m disappointed that they are not nominated in their respective categories would be an understatement.”
“Against all odds with nothing but a couple of soulless, scantily clad, and thankfully crotchless dolls, they made us laugh, they broke our hearts, they pushed the culture and they made history. Their work should be recognized along with the other very deserving nominees,” the “La La Land” and “Half Nelson” star added.
“Having said that, I am so happy for America Ferrera and the other incredible artists who contributed their talents to making this such a groundbreaking film,” he said.
“Barbie” earned eight Oscar nominations this year, coming in second place for most nominations behind “Oppenheimer,” which nabbed 13 nods. Gerwig — who was previously nominated for 2017’s “Lady Bird” and infamously passed up just four years ago for directing “Little Women” — scored a nod for co-writing the screenplay with partner Noah Baumbach. Robbie, who was previously nominated for her performances in “Bombshell” and “I, Tonya,” is nominated as a producer on “Barbie” in the best picture category.
And several fans of the film agreed with Gosling on social media — and many echoed or championed his remarks, including former First Lady and Sen. Hillary Clinton.
“Greta & Margot, while it can sting to win the box office but not take home the gold, your millions of fans love you,” tweeted the former presidential hopeful. “You’re both so much more than Kenough. #HillaryBarbie.”
“Let me see if I understand this: the Academy nominated ‘Barbie’ for Best Picture (eight nominations total) — a film about women being sidelined and rendered invisible in patriarchal structures — but not the woman who directed the film. Okay then,” tweeted writer Charlotte Clymer in a now-viral X post.
“Nominating Ken but not Barbie is literally the plot of the movie,” wrote novelist Brad Meltzer.
“Ken getting nominated and not Barbie is honestly so fitting for a film about a man discovering the power of patriarchy in the Real World,” tweeted another.
“And in the end, to prove the kind of society we live in … ‘Just Ken’ got nominated for an Oscar, but Barbie didn’t. Says it all, doesn’t it?” wrote another.
“Barbie” actor Simu Liu, who played Gosling’s rival Ken in the film, also echoed Gosling’s sentiment.
“Being involved in a small way gave me a window into just how hard Greta and Margot had to fight to get Barbie made, and how flawlessly they executed,” the actor tweeted. “Together they started a movement, touched the world and reinvigorated the cinema. They deserve everything. They ARE everything.”
Ferrera, whose moving monologue about womanhood was the crux of the “Barbie” movie, was also let down by Gerwig and Robbie’s omissions in their respective categories.
“It’s really a disappointment,” she said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show.
“It’s just so undeniable what they created, how unprecedented, how unexpected,” the supporting actress nominee added. “Greta wrote this brilliant script with her partner, and then as a director created a whole world, and she is, to me, just an incredible, masterful filmmaker. And I think that’s what people are bummed about.
“It was such a brilliant, beautiful, world-building, unexpected achievement that happened to also be a global, cultural and box office phenomenon, and I think most people feel like that’s deserving,” she said.
While the “Ugly Betty” Emmy winner and first-time Oscar nominee celebrated her latest personal achievement, she was sure to name-check her “Barbie” co-star and director in her interviews.
“Greta has done just about everything that a director could do to deserve it,” Ferrera told Variety on Tuesday. “Creating this world, and taking something that didn’t have inherent value to most people and making it a global phenomenon. It feels disappointing to not see her on that list.”
Robbie — who would have earned her third Oscars acting nod if she had been nominated Tuesday — also delivered a complex performance that Ferrera believes should have been rewarded.
“What Margot achieved as an actress is truly unbelievable,” Ferrera said. “One of the things about Margot as an actress is how easy she makes everything look. And perhaps people got fooled into thinking that the work seems easy, but Margot is a magician as an actress in front of the screen, and it was one of the honors of my career to get to witness her pull off the amazing performance she did. She brings so much heart and humor and depth and joy and fun to the character. In my book, she’s a master.”
Also appearing Wednesday on the “Today” show was last year’s lead actress Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh, who reflected on Gerwig and Robbie’s snubs.
“You know, joy and disappointment, it seems to go hand in hand,” the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” star said when co-host Hoda Kotb asked about the omissions. “It’s just, for us, it’s like, it’s not enough nominations to go around.”
“The only take is like, it’s so competitive out there and there is no guarantee because you’re not the only voter, you know? It’s widespread,” Yeoh continued. “Thank God the movie got nominated for best picture. But you do think, ‘How do you get nominated for best picture but not best director and not best actress?’”