Many were surprised by the "high-profile omissions," says Turner Classic Movies host and author of '50 Oscar Nights,' Dave Karger
"It's definitely not a good look that the Academy members left out Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie for directing and starring in a movie that's largely about how impressive women are often marginalized," says Dave Karger, Turner Classic Movies host and author of 50 Oscar Nights.
Karger is referring to Barbie, the box-office smash that became the highest-grossing film of 2023 following its July release. The comedy nabbed eight Academy Award nominations this year, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Ryan Gosling and Best Supporting Actress for America Ferrera.
But surprisingly, star and co-producer Robbie, 33, was not recognized in the Best Actress category, and Gerwig, 40, was left out among the Best Director nominees.
"Even though they both received nominations for their work on Barbie in other categories, these two high-profile omissions will be remembered — and they will sting — for a long time," Karger tells PEOPLE.
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The film's comedic nature may have also affected overall nominations, he adds.
"I do think that the Academy membership has a bit of a bias, unconscious or otherwise, against true comedies and towards heavier dramas," says Karger. "Greta and Margot surely made it on to thousands of ballots, but since those ballots are weighted towards voters’ No. 1 and No. 2 favorites, we can assume they simply didn’t earn enough of those top-tier votes."
Meanwhile, Robbie has secured numerous awards this year for her lead role in Barbie, including acting nominations at both the Golden Globe Awards and Critics Choice Awards. She is eligible for an Oscar this year as a co-producer of the film, since it is up for Best Picture.
In previous years, Gerwig — who co-wrote Barbie alongside her now-husband Noah Baumbach — landed a Best Director nod for 2017's Lady Bird, her debut, though she was not nominated for her other film, 2019's Little Women. She did earn writing nods for both of those films.
For Barbie, Gerwig earned directing nominations from the Directors Guild of America, Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards earlier this year. She and Baumbach, 54, are nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the upcoming Oscars.
However, there were many nominations Tuesday that showcased a notably diverse class of nominees. Among the history-making nods this year are Killers of the Flower Moon Best Actress hopeful Lily Gladstone, who is the the first Native American actress to be nominated for an Oscar. Many other stars are also marking their first-ever Oscar acting nods, including Ferrera, Emily Blunt, Jeffrey Wright, Sterling K. Brown and Cillian Murphy.
Triet, 45, is the eighth woman to be nominated in the category (only three have won: Jane Campion in 2021, Chloé Zhao in 2020 and Kathryn Bigelow in 2009). And one-third of nominees across all categories this year are women — higher than the last three years.
Following the nominations announcement on Tuesday, Gosling, who plays Ken in Barbie, issued a strong statement in support of Robbie and Gerwig.
“To say that I'm disappointed that they are not nominated in their respective categories would be an understatement," he said about the pair.
While Gosling, 43, added that he was “extremely honored to be nominated,” the dad of two added that there is “no Ken without Barbie. And there is no Barbie movie without Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie.”
He went on to call Gerwig and Robbie "the two people most responsible for this history-making globally celebrated film.”
Just hours after the nominations were announced on Tuesday, Ferrera, who played Gloria in the film, also revealed that she was “incredibly disappointed” her fellow female colleagues did not receive mentions.
The actress, 39, told Variety, “Greta has done just about everything that a director could do to deserve it. 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.”
As for Robbie, who has received two Oscar acting nominations in the past (Best Actress for I, Tonya in 2018 and Best Supporting Actress for Bombshell in 2019), Ferrera told the outlet that what she achieved as an actress is “truly unbelievable" in Barbie.
"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," the Ugly Betty alum said.
"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 added to Variety.
The 96th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air live on Sunday, March 10, from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
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