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When it comes to the ‘Barbie’ Oscar nominations, it’s OK to be furious and delighted at the same time

Barbie's Greta Gerwig, America Ferrera, and Margot Robbie
Monica Schipper/Getty

If you skimmed through the Oscar nominations after they were announced on Tuesday and thought to yourself, “Surely the director and lead of the highest-grossing movie of 2023 and one of the highest-grossing movies in film history were nominated in their respective categories” and wanted to set fire to the nearest dumpster when you saw that they weren’t, you’re far from alone. While ‘Barbie’ racked up its fair share of Academy Awards nominations, Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig—the two women responsible for the movie even existing—were not nominated for Best Actress or Best Director.

You know who was nominated though? America Ferrera, who brilliantly portrayed the character of Gloria and delivered a monologue for the history books, is up for Best Supporting Actress. Now that is a reason to celebrate indeed—Ferrera is only the 8th Latina ever nominated in the category (only two have won). She absolutely deserves her flowers and has every right to celebrate this week. (If you haven’t watched her fantastic speech at the Critic’s Choice Awards earlier this month, well, get ready to have your life change for the better.)

Ryan Gosling also received a Best Actor nomination for Ken—also well-deserved, in my opinion. Let’s not pretend he wasn’t absolutely perfect in the role.

“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,” Gosling said in a statement to People.

And the thing is, we can feel many feelings at once: anger, frustration, and disappointment coupled with happiness and pride for someone else. One feeling doesn’t abolish another.

You can also care about more than one thing at a time! I’ve seen some pretty hot takes that imply being miffed about the Oscar snubs must mean you surely don’t care about peace in the Middle East—which is just absolutely unhinged, if you ask me. Touching grass is free.

Gerwig, who also wrote ‘Barbie,’ did receive a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. And ‘Barbie’ was nominated for Best Picture and six other categories as well as the former two. So, is it a total loss? No. Is it OK to laugh-sob over the fact that Ken received a nom without his Barbie? Yes. Can we also feel so incredibly happy for America Ferrera right now? OF COURSE.

Being mad about the sexist snubs doesn’t cancel out the awesomeness of the movie’s achievements (despite what internet comment sections lead us to believe, multiple things can actually be true at the same time). And if you, like me, watched Margot Robbie’s beautiful subtlety as Barbie absorbed and endured the human experience for the first time and are now stunned that a group of esteemed Academy members can’t appreciate her work, that’s totally valid.

When she looked over at the old woman on the bus bench and felt the weight of what that meant before sweetly exclaiming, “You’re beautiful,” I mean, whew. What a gut punch. (I can’t even write about the montage of mothers and daughters set to Billie Eilish’s haunting song because I’ll just start crying for the millionth time.)

Good acting, writing, and directing don’t have to beat you over the head with their messaging; they just have to make you truly feel something. And that’s exactly what Margot and Greta did with their talent in writing, acting, directing, and producing. It’s supremely unfair that they weren’t nominated for Best Actress and Best Director for a movie that championed what it means to be a woman in a patriarchal world. Sadly, though, it’s not surprising that they didn’t get nominated because they’re two brilliant women working in a deeply problematic and patriarchal industry.

That being said, for many of us, watching America Ferrera’s Gloria felt like watching ourselves on screen. From how she conveyed the beautiful dynamic and complex relationship with her teen daughter to her spot-on monologue, Ferrera was one of the many wonderful components of “Barbie.”

And I’m sorry, but no one left the theater not utterly charmed by Ryan Gosling as he cast his Ken spell over us all. He’s a beloved actor who has shown us many, many times just how talented he is. Both Gosling and Ferrera have issued statements expressing their disappointment over Robbie and Gerwig’s snubs, and hopefully, the media won’t let those snubs overshadow Gloria and Ken’s achievements moving forward.

So yes, it’s possible to want to burn every Mojo Dojo Casa House to the ground in the name of Margot and Greta while also cheering for Ferrera and Gosling and every other nominee who earned their spot on the list.

As we learned from Barbie herself, that’s the great thing about being human. We can—and do, much to our chagrin at times—feel many things at once.