THERE’S nothing quite like an over-hyped academy of the uber-privileged to remind us that the beating heart of patriarchy is alive and well. We’re in the thick of awards season, and this week the hotly-anticipated annual Oscars shortlist was revealed. Only this year, it was met primarily by the wrath of feminine rage.

The nominations were a big night for the dual release that took the summer by storm – Barbie and Oppenheimer, though there were some notable names missing from the list.

While Ryan Gosling was nominated for Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance as Ken in Barbie, Barbie herself, Margot Robbie, didn’t make the cut.

And despite Barbie being the biggest blockbuster of the year and the highest-grossing Warner Brothers movie of all time, in what was arguably an even worse blow, director Greta Gerwig was snubbed from the coveted Best Director category.

I’ve seen an array of mixed opinions on this, from full-scale outrage to those who agree with the Academy’s decision. But I have to say, I find myself falling into the former category rather than the latter.

The National: Barbie actress America Ferrera did receive an Oscar nominationBarbie actress America Ferrera did receive an Oscar nomination

Barbie was the film of the year. It almost feels like a distant memory now, but for a period of time, every billboard was plastered pink, cinemas were packed to the gunnels with people dressed in pink – a craze that dominated TikTok for weeks and had people buying entire new outfits especially for the occasion.

The marketing practically slapped you in the face everywhere you went, both online and in person.

It was in my opinion rightly nominated for Best Picture, but the snubbing of both the main character and the director, the two people most responsible for its enormous success, feels painfully unjust.

It’s a difficult argument to balance because this was a particularly competitive year for all categories and there are other notable strides in the right direction, with Lily Gladstone making history as the first-ever Native American woman nominated for Best Actress.

But celebrating Ken’s performance and not Barbie’s or the director’s in a film about patriarchy rendering women invisible is quite literally a real-life depiction of the point the film was trying to make. It’s almost comical.

For me, Barbie was a beautifully communicated explanation of what it is to exist as a woman under patriarchal structures. It penetrated barriers from gendered to generational, to tell the story of our collective experience.

I left the theatre moved, and even as someone who considers themselves well-versed in the female experience of patriarchy, it hit me in places I couldn’t have predicted. And at the same time, made me laugh, cry, and ignited my passion for a fairer and more equal world.

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It wasn’t just a film. It was the sigh of relief that women collectively let out after seeing the acknowledgement of the challenges we face reflected in the biggest blockbuster of the year and realising we aren’t alone. It meant something.

None of it would have come to life had it not been for the genius of Gerwig, or indeed the talent of Robbie.

To acknowledge the greatness of this film and the performance of its main male character, while at the same time ignoring the women who brought it to life is patriarchal structure in action – and makes the meaning behind the film even more poignant.

It’s a stark reminder that even when we feel like we are making huge progress, we shouldn’t revel in it, because we are still so far from a world where gender equality is the reality.

This is not about the other nominees or whether they were more or less deserving of a nomination than those who missed the cut, as I have seen argued a few times since the list was published.

As I said before, it was a particularly competitive year and there is undeniable artistic genius celebrated in this year’s nominees. Not least Gosling, who despite being caught up in these unfortunate optics, utterly deserves to be recognised for the brilliance that was Ken.

The National: Ryan Gosling

He executed that role exquisitely, in a way that no other actor could have, and deserves every bit of the celebration he’s receiving. Or America Ferrera, whose feminist monologue will be a reference point for generations of women to come.

But there has to be some recognition that goes beyond the physical production of the art, and delves into what the film actually represented for so many people.

It simply flies in the face of the film’s entire point, and it cuts deeper than the surface-level award.

It’s about women being left behind, it’s about us being invisible and under-appreciated, even when we are the most visible women in the world.

Besides the outfits, I’m not particularly a fan of the Oscars and think the Academy itself has made questionable decisions on a number of occasions. Not to mention the indifference it continually shows towards female directors or people of colour, and I’m not really all that surprised by the decision it has taken. I can’t say I’m an avid watcher or follower of the ceremony, but I am deeply disappointed, and quite surprised by how much so.

As Barbie depicts, being a woman can be an incredibly tiresome experience, and this is just the latest reminder of how long the road ahead really is. Perhaps from now on, we’ll have to rename it the “Mojo Dojo Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences…”