Should Barbie's Margot Robbie have gotten an Oscar nomination instead of Ryan Gosling?


Fact Box

  • Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, starring Margot Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, was released domestically on July 21, 2023, alongside Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, bringing in nearly $1.5 billion worldwide in box office gross. 
  • The Oscars announced its 2024 nominees for the 96th Academy Awards, with Gosling being nominated in the supporting actor category. Fans and the media noted the ‘snub,’ that Robbie was not nominated in the lead actress category, and neither was Gerwig nominated for best director.
  • Barbie was nominated for eight Academy Awards altogether: Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role (America Ferrera), Costume Design, two songs in Music (Original Song), Best Picture, Production Design, Writing (Adapted Screenplay).
  • Ryan Gosling reacted to the news by releasing a statement on January 23: “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. [...] To say that I’m disappointed that they are not nominated in their respective categories would be an understatement.”
  • The 95th Oscars drew in an audience of 19.9 million total viewers in 2023, up from 18.4 million in 2022.

Elisa (No)

According to Whoopi Goldberg, there are 'no snubs' and 'not everyone can win' when it comes to the Oscars. Only the best are chosen for nominations, the Oscars have a fair voting process, and 'not everyone can get a prize.' While Robbie's performance may have been good, it was nothing in comparison to others nominated in the same category. Jessica Cullen writes, 'But is Robbie's performance as the titular toy really worth an Oscar nomination? Perfectly cast? Yes. Sincere? Completely. But anyone who's seen Asteroid City knows that she can do a lot more with a lot less. Exposure is not equal to craft.' 

Unfortunately, Margot Robbie's acting could not keep up with the competition, and it was a 'highly competitive' year in acting. Similarly, although Ryan Gosling was nominated for his portrayal of Ken, the competition may not have been as intense in his category. Overall, the Barbie movie has eight Oscar nominations, making this not a 'feminist' or 'sexism' issue, as America Ferrara was nominated as best supporting actress. By the way, Robbie was still nominated—just not for best actress

Next, it's important to understand how Oscar voting works. With 10,000 members, it is pretty 'robust,' and it would be difficult, or even impossible, to work together to 'snub' someone purposely. Unfortunately, Oscar nominations are often 'controversial,' which means there will always be disappointed people.

The idea that Margot Robbie was 'snubbed' exemplifies the stereotype of modern celebrities always wanting more and never feeling they have 'enough.' Robbie made $12.5 million off of Barbie, and even if she was not nominated for the best actress, this is not really a losing situation for her. 

Emily (Yes)

It's soberly ironic that Barbie was an incredibly successful, female-produced movie centered around women, yet the male actor received an Oscar nomination instead of the lead female. Ryan Gosling, who was nominated for playing Ken, was also disappointed that the key females of this film were not recognized for their crucial roles. He greatly credits both Margot Robbie, who plays Barbie, and writer/director Greta Gerwig for being responsible for Barbie's great global success.

While Gosling is a great actor, his character, Ken, is significantly less complex than Barbie's. Throughout, Ken appeared lovesick as he sought any way to catch Barbie's attention. When he failed, he lashed out at her and tried to get her back until he realized he was 'Kenough' on his own. Conversely, Barbie experienced various emotions as she discovered who she was since she no longer had the key traits of 'Stereotypical Barbie.' Barbie embodied strength as she embarked on a literal voyage towards self-awareness following the unraveling of her life. Robbie flawlessly tapped into these different acting styles, creating a relatable and deeply moving character every woman can relate to.

Though Barbie was nominated for eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, voters did not give this creative film its deserved accolades. Gerwig added great depth to this film as it combatted sexism and female stereotypes while keeping things light-hearted and witty—Robbie's character is called 'Stereotypical Barbie,' after all. This film is not just another blockbuster that came out. Instead, it showed women they are worthy and valuable just as they are and can achieve anything they want. Unfortunately, society didn't recognize that in time for the awards.

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