Last week the internet erupted in outrage after the 2024 Academy Award nominations were announced and we learned “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig was not on the list of nominees for directing and Margot Robbie, the film’s titular Barbie, was not on the list of nominees for actress in a leading role.

“Barbie” grossed $1.4 billion, surprised viewers and critics with its humor and emotional depth, launched retail trends, and arguably revived the movie-making industry after the COVID-19 stall of the past few years.

So for many, the snubs felt unjust, out of touch and sexist. The discourse online quickly turned apocalyptic, as it often does, and led to perhaps the most cringe-inducing post in all of social media history when Hillary Clinton wrote, “Greta & Margo, while it can sting to win the box office but not take home the gold, your millions of fans love you. You’re both so much more than Kenough. #HillaryBarbie.”

While I can’t even begin to guess what that hashtag is supposed to mean, I do understand and can even empathize with the post’s general sentiment. It stings when something you love doesn’t get the recognition you think it deserves. And a lot of women have expressed that they feel the lack of best director and best actress nominations, plus Ryan Gosling’s nomination for best supporting actor, is a little too on the nose given the film’s message of female empowerment in the face of the patriarchy.

But, as with most subjects of online ire, I believe there’s more to the story than society hating women. It’s more about the intricacies and flaws of the Academy Awards.

First, the academy has historically been pretty terrible at recognizing comedies. Few comedies have ever been nominated, and even fewer have won. “Barbie” is first and foremost a comedy, and a comedy about a child’s toy, no less, so its inclusion on the best picture nominee list and seven other nominations is actually remarkable from an organization that tends to take itself and the filmmaking industry a little too seriously.

Second, the other nominees for best actress are also women. Women who gave remarkable performances this year. Whether or not Margot Robbie’s performance was better than Annette Bening’s, Lily Gladstone’s, Sandra Hüller’s, Carey Mulligan’s and Emma Stone’s is a matter of taste, not evidence of sexism. And Bening has a decades-long history of prestigious Hollywood roles and no Oscars, so replacing her with Robbie would do little to advance the recognition of women in the industry.

Third, in my opinion, “Barbie” is more about the writing than the directing. While Gerwig was snubbed in the directors’ category, she and her life and writing partner Noah Baumbach are nominees in the adapted screenplay category. The real feat of “Barbie” was taking what was essentially a pitch for a toy commercial and transforming it into an emotionally poignant story that resonates with women all over the world. That is more an accomplishment in story creation than story execution, and Gerwig deserves recognition for the writing more than the directing. Though Christopher Nolan and Jonathon Glazer are nominated in both categories, their movies are about the creation of the Atomic bomb and the horrors of the Holocaust, which is the kind of subject matter the academy has historically been more willing to laud.

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The whimsy and wit of ‘Barbie’

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the academy gets it wrong all the time. While I do believe Gerwig belongs on the list of nominees, I don’t feel any actual human emotion about the omission because the film-related nerve endings in my brain have been fried by many, if not all previous award show cycles, and I’ve learned that none of it really matters.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a body with more than 10,500 global members who are voting for their favorite films, performances and technical achievements. While these members are connected to the filmmaking industry and are therefore more qualified to determine which movies are deserving of awards and which aren’t, it’s still a wildly subjective process in which the members are bringing their own life experiences, biases and preferences to the voting process. Any given academy member can make choices that I don’t like, simply because we’re two different people.

“Oppenheimer,” a movie I didn’t enjoy at all, is poised to sweep the Academy Awards this year. Maybe I’m correct in my opinion that the film is an hour too long, needlessly complicated and too self-important. Maybe the majority of voters are correct and I’m too dumb to know. Or maybe there is no correct or incorrect opinion because art is subjective and those differences in opinion are what make it interesting.

It’s silly to try and award a best movie or best actress or best director when “best” is actually impossible to determine. But we, or at least I, participate every year because it’s fun. The suspense is exciting and the speculation gives me a sense of superiority when I predict winners better than my loved ones. But none of it actually matters.

If (when) “Oppenheimer” wins, very little about our lives will change. Very little about anyone’s life will change, except for maybe Christopher Nolan’s. He will have a shiny trophy to place on a shelf and a slightly larger budget for his next movie. But I wonder if he’d rather have been the creator of a movie that grossed more than a billion dollars and set off half a year’s worth of consumer trends and actual real-world economic changes like Gerwig did. Isn’t that the whole point of the movie-making business, after all?

At the end of the day, or the end of the awards cycle, Hollywood’s biggest night is a ceremony created by an industry for the people in that industry to further promote that industry and make more money. I don’t fault them for that.

But I think we, the viewers at home, could do well to place a little less importance on the events of one night in March determined by a voting body whose members are as fallible as any one person. Because the Oscars can only break your heart if you let them.

The 96th Academy Awards will air on March 10 on AMC at 5 p.m. MST.