Why Margot Robbie's Oscars snub has infuriated Aussies

Australians are fuming that "our" Margot Robbie was snubbed for the Best Actress nomination at the Oscars today.


As proven time and time again, being a crowd-pleasing, undeniably clever, box-office winner is absolutely no guarantee a film will win a coveted Academy Award.

The pop culture monolith Barbie, starring "our" Margot Robbie, is a certified blockbuster but the cinematic stand-out was snubbed for the big gongs - Best Director (Greta Gerwig) and Actress (Margot Robbie) - when the Oscar nominations were announced today.

And I find that unfair, odd and highly questionable. I mean, we’re not going to say "It’s a female thing" are we?

I thought we had well and truly moved on from judging things because of gender, but after this, I’m beginning to wonder.

Greta Gerwing and Margot Robbie speak on stage.
Both Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie were left out of nominations for the big gongs. Source: Getty Images

It seems awfully ironic that a hugely successful movie that showcased female empowerment, made by two incredibly empowered females, has been basically snubbed by the Academy members. It really makes you wonder what the percentage of males to females there are on the voting panel.

Like all films, Barbie had supporters and detractors (many, many more of the former I might add) but is this no-nom choice playing into that tired old cliche? The one where the Academy panel seems to ignore/snub/rebuff films and the stars who happen to make mega bucks at the box office too?


If you go waaay back to Stephen Speilberg’s 1975 mega hit Jaws, it was nominated for a stack of Oscars in 1976 ... but not for the director or the three main stars who were in it.

Sure, it was up against One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but considering "direction" and "acting" are two of the most important parts of a film, the exclusion of Jaws back then was a serious snub.

Barbie is unquestionably the biggest hit of 2023

With its polar opposite Oppenheimer, Barbie was unquestionably the biggest cinematic hit of 2023. In true blockbuster terms, it earned more than $1.38 billion worldwide to become the highest-grossing film in Warner Bros 100-year history. It was the highest-grossing film ever from a female filmmaker at the domestic box office and was the largest worldwide film release of 2023.

Margot Robbie at the Golden Globes.
Margot Robbie stared in the film which was the highest grossing in Warner Bros 100-year history. Source: Getty

And even better, it starred Australian actress Robbie whose brilliant Hollywood journey is one we, as Australians, continue to be a part of.

We are really invested in Robbie’s success because she is, seemingly, still "one of us". And that’s another reason we are collectively peeved she has not even been nominated for the big one.

Ok, Barbie is up for Best Picture. But doesn't that seem off considering the main protagonist, Barbie (played by Ms. Robbie), and director, Greta Gerwig, haven’t rated a nomination guernsey.

But it has garnered noms for Best Supporting actor in Ryan Gosling and Best Original Song (!) with I’m Just Ken, which are both up for a gold gong. Right, so is that supposed to keep Barbie-philes happy? I don’t think so.

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie.
Ryan Gosling stared with Margot Robbie in the hit film. Source: Getty

Even Mr. Gosling seems peeved about the snubbing of his Barbie, issuing a statement to say there "is no Ken without Barbie".

"I am extremely honoured to be nominated by my colleagues alongside such remarkable artists in a year of so many great films," Gosling said.

"And I never thought I’d be saying this, but I’m also incredibly honoured and proud that it’s for portraying a plastic doll named Ken.

"But 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."

And there’s the rub.

Without the starting point of Gerwig and Robbie wanting to portray their version of Barbie as a feminist figure, the film would not have been so universally applauded. It could have just been a feel-good, lightweight, pretty film, but it is much more than that. As its success and banging box office figures show that . . a billion-fold!

The whole thing feels like members of the Academy had to give Barbie a nod - sure, it has eight nominations - but not in the bug gun categories. And that is an odd place to be coming from.

Barbie is unquestionably a box office and pop culture phenomenon but the ambivalence the Academy looks to have toward it is sad. I’m also remembering back to Leonardo DiCaprio in 1998, who starred in that other mega Academy Award hit, Titanic.

He, too, wasn’t nominated for the Best Actor gong.

Barbie more nuanced character than expected

Barbie showed Robbie’s take on the one-time doll as a more complex, nuanced character than we may have suspected when she used to just live on toy shelves.

The film had humour; clever writing, empathy and was street-smart. It also happened to make a lot of money at the box office and was a marketing dream. (By the way, it continues to be boss when it comes to themed parties.)

With this kind of filmatic snubbery, it’s kind of like the Academy has no idea what to do with films that are populist, pretty, packed, punchy. Oh, and pink.

So, huge apologies Robbie and Barbie, you’ll always be winners to (most of) us.

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