Following his Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Ryan Gosling issued a statement. Usually, these things are pretty standard—I’m so grateful, I’m so honored, yadda yadda. But Gosling broke with tradition, specifically mentioning Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie being overlooked in their respective, individual categories of directing and lead acting.
His statement read in part:
“…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. 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. […] 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.”
He also offered praise for America Ferrera and the “other incredible artists” who contributed to the film, but using his nomination statement to support Gerwig and Robbie is a bold move. (Mark Ronson also specifically mentioned Gerwig and Robbie as the driving forces of the film). He’s probably not going to win—RDJ almost has their category on lock at this point—so he really has nothing to lose by expressing his disappointment that Gerwig and Robbie weren’t recognized alongside him and Ferrera for individual achievements. If anything, it’s just gasoline on an already burning pyre of anger and resentment aimed at the Academy following yesterday’s high-profile exclusions from the nominations.
I heard from one Academy member who lamented that they nominated an “inclusive, international” group of filmmakers and actors, including the first Native American woman nominated for Best Actress and two Best Picture contenders not in the English language, and yet they’re STILL getting raked over the coals. It’s true! Step back and take the Barbie stuff out, and these nominations are solid, with 7 of 20 acting nominations going to non-white actors, and it’s the first year two out actors have been nominated for playing out characters (Colman Domingo and Jodie Foster).
And yet! These are the memes!
The director’s branch, especially, is probably going to have some in-fighting. Gerwig had broad support from her DGA peers, as the American-based guild is full of American filmmakers who understand exactly what it took for her to get a film like Barbie through the studio system. But in recent years the Academy’s membership has expanded, becoming more international, and the director’s branch feels that keenly with these nominations. The assumption is that the international members of the branch—who do the nominating for their own categories—either don’t understand or just don’t care about the politics of getting certain films made in the US. And that’s fair! But it doesn’t change the perception problem the Academy now has, for “snubbing” the women who drove the biggest film of the year.
There’s no solution, really. Unless and until the Academy is willing to just flat-out manipulate this sh-t for the headlines they want, they’re going to have to withstand criticisms like this, and we as the audience will just have to grow accustomed to the voting vagaries of a more expansive group of people. Everyone will just have to live with being not quite happy about any of it.
Live long and gossip,