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Students talk Oscar nominations, award show culture

February 5, 2024
Photo by Zachary Balcoff | The State News

With the release of 2024 Oscar nominations, the Academy Awards have made their way back into trending topics. Although award shows typically don't have dull moments when it comes to controversy, this year's round of film awards have stirred up discussions surrounding awareness and sexism within the entertainment industry

One conversation surrounds Greta Gergwig's "Barbie" film, which won a Golden Globe for Cinematic and Box Office Achievement, but failed to get an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Similarly, Margot Robbie, who played the titular character, did not receive a nomination for her performance.

However, Ryan Gosling, who played Ken in the film, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, upsetting many fans who believed this betrayed the commentary on feminism in "Barbie." Gosling released a statement expressing his disappointment of the snubs and support of his co-stars.

For film lovers like MSU digital storytelling sophomore Whitney Wells, the "snub" against Greta Gerwig was disappointing.

“Overall, I was very pleased with the Oscar selections of the Best Picture nominees, but not with the directing nominees,” Wells said. “I was upset when the nominees for the director’s category came out, primarily because of the fact that Greta Gerwig did not get nominated.”

Other students, such as microbiology junior Jordyn Maslowski, believe awards shows have a long way to go when it comes to representation. Maslowski said it was “irritating" to watch the director and lead actress of the highest-grossing movie of 2023 be snubbed.

“It’s beyond disheartening to see women continue to set records and outperform everyone, but still receive less recognition than their male counterparts,” Maslowski said. “The Oscar (nominations) were just overall pretty disappointing this year."

The Academy Awards have a long history of diversity issues and catering to predominantly white nominees and winners. In 1939, Hattie McDaniel became the first Black actress to win an Oscar and did so in the Best Supporting Actress category, but was placed in a segregated table in the back of the room. Since then, Halle Berry was the first Black actress to win Best Lead Actress in 2002 and more recently, Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian American woman and second woman of color to win in the same category in 2023.

“Every year at the Oscars, they have the people who are nominated to sit in the front row," Wells said. “So I noticed over the past couple of years that more and more people of color have (sat there), and women have been getting nominated."

Human biology junior Madix Schneebele said there needs to be more inclusion and female directors nominated.

“I feel like they have the same people get nominated every year, and then it’s like people who actually deserve to get nominated never nominated and never have a chance,” Schneebele said.

At the 2024 award shows, more actors and actresses of color were the first to be nominated in specific categories. Lily Gladstone became the first Indigenous person in history to win Best Acress at the Golden Globes this year for her performance in Martin Scorsese's "Killers of the Flower Moon." Gladstone is now in the running for Best Actress in the Academy Awards, becoming the first Native American woman and second Indigenous woman to receive that nomination. 

Schneebele, who is rooting for Gladstone's Oscar win, said representation is important because it motivates people from different backgrounds.

“When they see their favorite actor, actress, essentially, they will get confidence within themselves, because obviously they didn’t see themselves in TV shows and movies years ago,” Schneebele said.

The 96th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will be televised and streamed on ABC, Hulu and Sling on Sunday, March 10 at 7 p.m. EST.

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