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The Saber

OPINION: The 2024 Oscar nominations are disappointing

(Editor’s note: Caroline Brandes is Editor-in-Chief of The Saber.  Any opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Saber staff.)

Horrified. That’s one word to describe it.

It was Jan. 23 and, according to social media, the Oscar nominations had just been released. I did a quick Google search, quickly finding the full list. There were really only two categories I was interested in. Best Actress, and Best Director. Like most girls in the world, Barbie had been a life-changing experience for me. I saw it in theaters with my mom. It was one of those movies that changed the way you viewed life. The expert way it dissected and displayed world views on gender, the touch of satire, the thought it provoked, and the questions it asked. It was absolutely perfect, in every way. 

The world seemed to agree with me. Barbie smashed record after record, and grossed over one billion dollars in box office, the first and only female directed movie to do so. Almost immediately after its release, people were predicting numerous academy accolades in its future. In fact, I remember being in the car with my mom, driving home from the theater. I told her that I knew for a fact Barbie director Greta Gerwig would win the Oscar for Best Director. Margot Robbie, who played Barbie, would also be nominated for Best Actress. My mom wholeheartedly agreed, adding that Ryan Gosling (Ken) had done some of his best work yet, and deserved a nomination. 

Then, I made a joke. At least, it was supposed to be a joke. Who knows, maybe I jinxed it. 

Wouldn’t it be funny if Ryan Gosling was nominated, and Margot Robbie wasn’t?

It was the funniest thing I had ever said. What sort of dystopian world would we have to be living in for that to happen? Where the main actress in a movie about feminism, female empowerment, and breaking gender norms, doesn’t get recognized for her work. But the supporting actor, one of the only named men in the entire movie, does. Can you imagine the irony? The outrage? The tastelessness? Honestly, how could anyone be that tone deaf?

But on Jan. 23, 2024, my worst fears were confirmed. I opened the list of nominations, scrolling down to Best Director. I quickly scanned the list. I paused. I re-read it, slowly this time. Nothing. Greta Gerwig, who had broken records, who had poured her soul into the project, had not even been given a shred of recognition. With a sinking feeling, I scrolled down to Best Actress. The. Exact. Same. Thing. These two women, who were the heart and soul of the film, weren’t even given the honor of being recognized. But of course, Ryan Gosling was. Now, I have nothing against him. His performance was absolutely fantastic. He fully embodied the role of Ken: A lovable airhead, discovering for the first time that life might be a little more complicated than he thought, trying to make his place in  the world. He deserved the nomination, and possibly even deserves the win. But oh, the irony. It’s suffocating. I quite literally don’t know how else to describe it. I know I’m biased. And I am trying my best to not act like a sore loser, someone whose favorite team lost the big game. But it’s just. So. Frustrating. 

To some cynics however, Greta Gerwig’s lack of a nomination was no surprise. Over the course of 96 years, over 400 people have been nominated for Best Director. Only nine of them were women. Only three women have ever won, the first in 2009. So, I guess it should have been expected.

When I finally went through the rest of the list, the disappointment was only compounded. The category for Best Original Song was a surprise to most. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (ATSV) was released this past June, following an almost five year wait from the previous installment in the series. The movie leaned heavily into its musical soundtrack when telling the story. The soundtrack consisted of a 13 song album produced by popular musician Metro Boomin. The Academy has already deemed ATSV Oscar worthy, with a nomination for Best Animated Feature. So I have to ask, why not a nomination for Best Original Song? As I said above, the film’s music was an integral part of the story. It added depth and layers, and the entire soundtrack was, in my opinion, perfection. Many were confident that the film would receive a nomination for its lead single, “Am I Dreaming”.  But, as I should expect by now, it got nothing. 

There were some small victories. Lily Gladstone scored a Best Actress nomination for her spectacular performance in “Killers of the Flower Moon”, the first Native American to do so. Justine Triet was nominated in the Best Director category for “Anatomy of a Fall” making her the ninth woman to receive the honor. Both Annette Bening and Jodie Foster were nominated for their work in the movie “Nyad”, which I personally thought was fantastic. America Ferrera received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for “Barbie”, which was absolutely deserved. Finally, Cillian Murphy, the “Oppenheimer” star, received his first ever nomination for Best Actor, which was long overdue. 

At the end of the day, I know it doesn’t really matter. We’d all love it if our favorite celebrities won, but that can’t always happen. Additionally, as I said above, I know I’m biased. I also know I’m not a professional movie critic, so hey, who am I to judge? Still, most can come to a general consensus: The Academy needs to do better.

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About the Contributor
Caroline Brandes
Caroline Brandes, Editor-in-Chief
Caroline Brandes is a current sophomore at Richland Northeast High School, where she is involved in Convergence Media Program and the school's Mock Trial team. She acts as Editor-in-Chief of The Saber online publication, along with her co-editor Alyssa Amaker. In her free time, she does Girl Scouts, and enjoys cooking, reading, and writing. After graduation, she hopes to attend college, and possibly study law.

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