Barbie was the biggest hit of 2023, the highest-grossing movie ever directed by a woman and a bona fide cultural sensation that turned movie theaters pink and left a still-going trail of think pieces in the wake of Greta Gerwig’s feminist fantasia.
But while Barbie received eight Academy Awards nominations on Tuesday, including best picture, it was easily bested by its unlikely double-feature partner at the box office, Oppenheimer. And when the Academy Awards passed over Gerwig for best director and Margot Robbie for best actress, many saw some of the same patriarchy parodied in Barbie at work.
Even Ken was furious.
“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,” said Ryan Gosling, who played Ken in the movie. “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.”
By Wednesday, the backlash had already passed into the political realm. Hillary Clinton, posting on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, wrote: “Greta & Margot, while it can sting to win the box office but not take home the gold, your millions of fans love you. You’re both so much more than Kenough. #HillaryBarbie”
One likely factor for the snub: the increasingly international composition of the film academy. Partly to expand the diversity of Oscar voters, the academy is spread around the world more than ever; ballots were filed from a record 93 countries this year. Potentially, that may have favored Europe-based filmmakers like Triet, Lanthimos and Glazer.
The academy could also point to another record: For the first time, three movies directed by women were nominated for best picture: Gerwig’s Barbie, Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall and Celine Song’s Past Lives.
Still, the end result—with the creative brains and star of the year’s most-talked about movie left out—just felt wrong to many. AP