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How Its Oscar Chances Were Boosted in a Major Way


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Barbie achieved many accomplishments after it opened in July 2023, and those accolades just keep growing. The film was well-received critically, it has cleared $1.4 billion at the global box office, and it topped The Super Mario Bros. Movie to become the highest-grossing domestic release of 2023. That would be enough for any project, but Barbie has also been in the conversation as the entertainment world enters awards season. Its Oscar chances for big nominations, most notably Best Picture, have only improved thanks to its box office supremacy.

Barbie’s Oscar prospects were being whispered about before its release thanks to director Greta Gerwig and her co-writer on the project, Noah Baumbach. They are no strangers to the awards circuit, and it was clear that their involvement would mean that Barbie would be something we didn’t quite expect.

This would be no straight adaptation of the Mattel doll line. We would be getting something more satirical and a bit more subversive. The end result continues to be a must-watch for moviegoers, with the film grossing $636.2 million at the domestic box office (via Box Office Mojo).

It was the biggest hit of 2023, and it fueled the summer box office, along with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. One might not expect Barbie to also be one to watch with Oscar voters — since the historical angle of Oppenheimer might be more their speed — but Margot Robbie and company will be standing right alongside it at the Academy Awards.

Update January 12, 2024: This article has been updated with even more Barbie awards updates and predictions following the Golden Globes ceremony and the SAG nominations.

Barbie Could Bring Big Ratings to The Oscars

Margot Robbie as a giant Barbie, standing above girls in a prehistoric setting in Barbie (2023).
Warner Bros.

Not only does Barbie have critical love, but it also has box office success on its side. Its $162 million opening weekend was the first stage of this, but its weekday numbers showed its staying power. Grossing $20 million+ during the week ahead of its second weekend showed that this film was playing more like the latest MCU release. (Speaking of, former MCU director Scott Derrickson thinks Barbie should win Best Picture).

A big reason Barbie’s big box office will boost its chances in the Oscar race is that the Academy Awards have long been accused of nominating much smaller films that casual moviegoers don’t see. Barbie being nominated would disprove that. During a time when the industry is still fighting to get people back to the movies, Barbie put butts in seats. And if everyone thought Top Gun: Maverick deserved a Best Picture nomination for its quality and for saving cinema with its box office numbers, then Barbie would be in a similar conversation. Not only is it a good film, but its cultural impact left its mark on moviegoing in 2023.

Having the biggest film of the year present on Oscar night could also ensure that the telecast, which has seen its ratings decline, could get a bump from fans curious to see what awards Barbie could take home. It won’t be enough for the film to snag several technical nominations. It will need some of the big ones of the night to garner fan interest, and this could play into having Barbie represented in key categories. Don’t be surprised if you hear Barbie’s name announced as the Best Picture nominee alongside much more prestige films when the nominations are read.

Major Nominations In It’s Sight

Ryan Gosling as Ken in the Mojo Dojo Casa House as the sun rises behind him in Barbie (2023).
Warner Bros.

The film’s aforementioned incredible box office numbers will make it relevant in other Oscar categories too, most notably Best Director. Greta Gerwig is now the first female director to have a film that is worth $1 billion worldwide, which is a feat that should be celebrated. Her name in the Best Director race would be the icing on the cake, and the film’s box office longevity will likely be part of why her name will be announced. However she is also going up against Christopher Nolan, who many feel like has earned his Academy Award for Best Director after not being nominated for The Dark Knight and Inception.

Related: Barbie: Could Ryan Gosling Actually Win an Oscar?

Gerwig could also hear her name in the Best Adapted Screenplay category along with Baumbach. A nomination in that category seems like a sure thing, since the script is one of its best aspects. While the film tried to score a nomination for Best Original Screenplay since they made the argument the story was original, the fact remains it is based on the Toyline, so it is adapted. While Oppenheimer might also be nominated, there is a chance Academy voters split the award with either Nolan or Gerwig walking away with Best Director, with the other winning Best Adapted Screenplay.

Margot Robbie’s Oscar Chances Have Increased Too

Margot Robbie, as Barbie, closes her eyes in Barbie (2023).
Warner Bros.

Even though Ryan Gosling earned much of the film’s early much-deserved Oscar buzz for his supporting turn as Ken (a nomination he certainly has on lock), Margot Robbie has seen her name pushed into consideration for her third possible acting nomination in the titular role thanks in large part to the film’s success. Not only is it a good performance that transitions from the hilarity of Stereotypical Barbie to a more grounded portrayal as she discovers the real world, but Robbie’s job as a behind-the-scenes boss on the project has also been a topic of discussion.

Related: Barbie’s Margot Robbie Knew the Film Would Be a Billion-Dollar Blockbuster When She Pitched it to Warner Bros.

Robbie serves as a producer on the project, so should the film get a Best Picture nomination, she’ll land one as well. The actress was a huge part of the film getting made as she pitched Warner Bros. on Barbie being an event, and now it’s their highest-grossing film to date. According to reports, Robbie could earn $50 million+ for her role as producer and actress on the project, thanks to the smart business move of getting a percentage of the box office profits. Her chances in the Best Actress category will come down to competition, but her big money moves with Barbie and its financial success have certainly helped her chances even more.

Barbie will certainly shine in other categories, including Original Song (please nominate “I’m Just Ken” for us to get a Gosling live performance on Oscar night), Costume Design, Production Design, and Makeup & Hairstyling. Those categories were bound to be sure things, but thanks to Barbie being a box office success story, its shot in every major category has only gone up.

Barbie Earned Just Two Golden Globes

Margot Robbie as Barbie clapping her hands as the other Barbies and Kens dance around her in Barbie (2023).
Warner Bros.

In a surprising twist, the 2024 Golden Globes largely snubbed Barbie. Barbie took home two awards: the brand-new Cinematic and Box Office Achievement award and Best Original Song — Motion Picture for “What Was I Made For.” One of the other awards Barbie was up for (Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy) went to Poor Things. In addition to not sweeping awards like people expected, Golden Globes host Jo Koy made digs at Barbie that had fans up in arms. However, Greta Gerwig’s response wasn’t too heated, and she even agreed with his point.

Yet the film’s chances are also improved by the fact that it tied with Oppenheimer for the most nominations at the SAG Awards, with actors being one of the largest voting bodies at the Oscars, almost guaranteeing it a nomination and making the Academy Awards a potential Barbenheimer Part 2, where it becomes a showdown for the big prizes.

Despite a contentious Golden Globes night, Barbie could still perform strongly at the Oscars. Variety’s 2024 Oscars predictions include many mentions of Gerwig’s film. The outlet hypothesizes that Barbie will be nominated for 12 awards and win at least 2 of them, with Best Song basically being a lock for either “I’m Just Ken”, “Dance the Night Away” or the front-runner “What Was I Made For” which would be Billie Ellish’s second Oscar after her title song for the James Bond movie, No Time To Die.

Only time will tell, but don’t be surprised if it’s a Barbie world when Oscar nominations are announced on January 23, 2024. Really, the question should not be if Barbie will get nominated, but if it will win.

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