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Oscar nominations 2024: Barbie's snubs and five more talking points

Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie attend the "Barbie" Celebration Party at Museum of Contemporary Art on June 30, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. "Barbie", directed by Greta Gerwig, stars Margot Robbie, America Ferrera and Issa Rae, and will be released in Australia on July 20 this year
Gerwig (left) missed out on a best director nomination, while Margot Robbie was absent from best actress

There was the usual mixture of snubs and surprises when the Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday - but Barbie's absence in some of the major categories prompted the most discussion.

Oppenheimer led the charge with 13 nominations, followed by Poor Things and Killers of the Flower Moon.

Although Barbie received eight nominations, Greta Gerwig missed out on best director while Margot Robbie failed to score a best actress nod.

Here are five talking points from the nominations, and more on those perceived Barbie snubs:

1. Golda and Maestro's 'Jewface' controversy

British actor Helen Mirren arrives for the 81st annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, USA, 07 January 2024
Golda, starring Dame Helen Mirren, and Maestro were the subject of debates about Jewish representation on screen

Golda was not a big player at the Oscars, but it did show up in the category for best make-up and hairstyling.

This in itself is controversial. The film saw Dame Helen Mirren play Israeli prime minister Golda Meir - prompting a debate about a non-Jewish actress playing a Jewish role.

It was not the only film to be the subject of debate - Maestro prompted a similar row over Bradley Cooper's appearance, which saw his nose made larger for his portrayal of Jewish composer Leonard Bernstein.

Author and broadcaster David Baddiel tweeted: "I see The Academy have shortlisted Golda and Maestro in the *Hair And Makeup* category. Literally: Oscar nominations for Jewface."

2. An LGBT record

Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin
Colman Domingo was recognised for his performance as Bayard Rustin

Colman Domingo's best actor nomination for Rustin, and Jodie Foster's best supporting actress nod for Nyad, made Oscars history.

It's the first time two openly LGBT actors have been nominated for playing LGBT characters - Domingo for civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, and Foster for swimming coach Bonnie Stoll.

Previously, Sir Ian McKellen was the only nominee to fit into this bracket when he was recognised for his role in Gods and Monsters in 1998.

Domingo was one of 10 actors scoring their first ever nomination this year, alongside Emily Blunt, Jeffrey Wright, Danielle Brooks, Sterling K Brown, America Ferrera, Lily Gladstone, Sandra Hüller, Cillian Murphy and Da'Vine Joy Randolph.

3. Saltburn gets burned by the Academy

Barry Keoghan poses at the Met Gala, an annual fundraising gala held for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute with this year's theme "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty", in New York City, New York, U.S., May 1, 2023
Saltburn, starring Barry Keoghan, were shut out of the Oscars despite a strong showing at Bafta

There was no Oscars love for Saltburn, despite it becoming a cult hit, a social media sensation, and being recognised by other awards ceremonies.

Emerald Fennell's controversial film about a student who infiltrates a rich family was nominated by the Golden Globes, and last week received five Bafta nominations.

However, the Baftas are Saltburn's home turf. It's a British film, with a British director, starring largely British and Irish actors.

It seems the slightly more conservative voters in the US Academy, on the other hand, found the gross-out scenes involving bathtubs and graveyards a little too much too handle.

4. Slow 'revolution' for female directors

Justine Triet accepts the award for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture for "Anatomy of a Fall" at the 81st Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on January 7, 2024.
Justine Triet's inclusion for Anatomy of a Fall meant the best director line-up was not all male

With Gerwig left off the best director shortlist, France's Justine Triet, who made Anatomy of a Fall, was the only woman in that category this year - the eighth in Oscars history.

Speaking to BBC culture editor Katie Razzall afterwards about whether things were changing in the film industry, Triet said the past few years had been "the beginning of a huge revolution for women".

She said: "I'm so proud to be in this category, of course. It means a lot for me. I'm 45, I'm not 20, so I lived in a world before, and now I can watch how things are changing for women."

This year's nominations marked the first time in Oscars history three films directed by women were nominated for best picture.

5. Will Lily Gladstone fulfil yearbook prediction?

Another record that could be broken is Killers of the Flower Moon star Lily Gladstone becoming the first Native American actress to win an Oscar.

Gladstone plays a woman from an Osage tribe who are gradually murdered by white settlers in an attempt to make money from the oil on their land.

The film was directed by Martin Scorsese, who incidentally became the oldest person ever to be nominated for best director aged 81.

An old high school yearbook picture of Gladstone resurfaced in light of her nomination - revealing that she was voted "most likely to win an Oscar" by her classmates.

We certainly wouldn't bet against her.

6. Barbie's big snubs

Actor America Ferrera attends the 14th Governors Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 9, 2024
America Ferrera's more serious role in Barbie was recognised, but Robbie's performance was more comedic

Many film fans were quick to make the obvious point on social media - the Academy recognising Ryan Gosling but not Margot Robbie was ironic for a film about feminism and the patriarchy.

In the event, Gerwig was nominated for her screenplay, and Robbie as a producer, but their best director and actress snubs left a sour taste in fans' mouths.

But experts who follow the awards race closely were less surprised.

Robbie's nomination had been far from certain. In the best actress category, four of the five slots seemed dead certs - Sandra Huller (Anatomy of a Fall), Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon), Carey Mulligan (Maestro) and Emma Stone (Poor Things). Those four were indeed nominated on the day.

But the fifth slot was seen as a three-way race between Robbie, Greta Lee of Past Lives and Annette Bening of Nyad - and Bening emerged with the nomination.

Actors Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling are photographed during a photocall for the upcoming Warner Bros. film "Barbie" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 25, 2023
Gosling said he was "disappointed" that Robbie and Gerwig missed out on nominations

History offers some clues about why the Oscars plumped for her. The Academy tends to go for serious performances over comedic, something that has often been noted by leading comedy figures and arguably put Robbie at a disadvantage.

It also helps explain why her co-star Ferrera was recognised in the supporting actress category. The former Ugly Betty actress delivers one of the film's few serious moments - a rousing monologue about what it means to be a woman and the daily struggles they face.

Deadline's Pete Hammond noted that Ferrera "was very visible on the campaign circuit where her knockout monologue - the film's most serious moment - was prominently played".

It's also slightly easier to get a supporting nomination than it is a leading one - and arguably, in a year where there was no shortage of meaty roles for women, the five correct actresses were ultimately nominated.

Posting on X, one fan wrote: "[It's] objectively funny that lead actresses from two excellent films in Anatomy of a Fall and Killers of the Flower Moon (as well as a female director for the former) were nominated, but because the two-hour advertisement for Mattel didn't we have to pretend it's some grand injustice."

Gerwig's predicted placement in the best director category had been similarly shaky. This was a highly competitive category this year, with stalwarts like Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan in the race.

Although Gerwig wasn't nominated for best director in the end, she did make history by becoming the first woman to have directed three films that have been nominated for the top prize, best picture (Lady Bird, Little Women and Barbie).

Earlier this month, the Golden Globes cleverly got around the issue of how to recognise Barbie by introducing a new category recognising box office achievement - which ensured Gerwig and Robbie had at least one prize to accept on the night.

The Oscars will take place in Los Angeles on 10 March.