Barbie Takes Home Just One Oscar: Does The Academy Take Feminism Seriously?

And as for the actual performances, we had Billie Eilish deliver the stunning rendition of her aforementioned What Was I Made For and of course, Mr Gosling – joined by Slash from Guns and Roses plus at least 10 Kens from the film – bring the Dolby Theatre down with the most brilliant of all musical interludes: I’m Just Ken. An homage to Marilyn Monroe’s 1953 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, it was a clever nod to the gender role debunking that is the central to the film – and had Ryan and writer Mark Ronson get the entire auditorium to their feet for one almighty singalong. It was showbusiness gold at its very best.

Yet, awards? Any actual recognition for a film that clearly captured the world’s hearts and minds? (And smash $1.44billion in the box office in the process?) Nah. “Barbie, stay in your box,” was the deafening message. Only one golden statue was handed out for the film – to Billie Eilish for best song.

Feminism, it seems, in the Academy’s eyes is not something to actually be taken seriously. No no, the progression of women’s rights is not nearly as important as a film about men getting together to build a weapon that can destroy the world. For that (Oppenheimer), of course, is what is worthy of seven wins.

As my feminist boyfriend sitting beside me watching it observed: “It’s like the Oscars are trolling feminism”.

THE OSCARS – The 96th Oscars held on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at the Dolby® Theatre at Ovation Hollywood and televised live on ABC and in more than 200 territories worldwide. (Frank Micelotta/Disney via Getty Images)KATE MCKINNON, AMERICA FERRERAFrank Micelotta/Getty Images

Or maybe it was the Oscars production team who were trolling the Academy?

Perhaps, just perhaps, the love for Barbie that was so clearly displayed throughout the ceremony was actually a form of protest by the Oscars producers at the archaic and out-of-touch Academy – who decide the wins. Perhaps it was their way of showing some Barbie love when they knew it wasn’t going to win big on the night, especially following Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie’s snub for nominations for Best Director and Best Actress.

Lest we forget this is an Academy who have found themselves time and time again facing accusations of discrimination and sexism. For example, in the nearly 100 years of the Oscars history, only three women have won for directing: Chloe Zhao for Nomadland, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker and Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog. ‘Oscar is a man’ is a popular headline on the matter.

I’d like to think that when Barbie co-stars America Ferrera and Kate McKinnon took to the stage to present the Oscars for Best Documentary Short and Best Documentary Feature, and started reading the (random) Jurassic Park themed jokes about dinosaurs “being real”, they were in fact referring to members of the Academy. Because dinosaurs is what they so clearly are – and if they carry on like this, the Oscars may well become extinct.

For more from Emily Maddick, GLAMOUR’s Assistant Editor and Entertainment Director, follow her on @emilymaddick

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