96th Academy Awards Nominations Announced – Full List for 2023 | FirstShowing.net

96th Academy Awards Nominations Announced – Full List for 2023

by Alex Billington
January 23, 2024

The complete list of nominees for the 96th Academy Awards, the most prestigious award in Hollywood, have been announced today (from Oscars.org). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed the nominees via live broadcast. The nominations from 2023 are, as expected, an exhilarating collection of some of the best movies of the year. Poor Things and Oppenheimer scored the most nominations, ending up with nods in almost every single category. Two of my favorite films of the year – this is great news! The most interesting surprises: Napoleon and Anatomy of a Fall ending up with so many noms in various categories. I’m also happy to see Godzilla: Minus One sneaking in for Best VFX. What a list! The Academy chose a total of ten Best Picture nominees for 2023, including: Past Lives, Poor Things, The Zone of Interest, American Fiction, Anatomy of a Fall, and yes, Barbie. Without further ado, view the full list of 2023 nominees below.

The 96th Academy Awards ceremony will be on Sunday, March 10th at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood – broadcast live by ABC. This year’s ceremony will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Here are 2023’s nominations:

American Fiction
Anatomy of a Fall
The Holdovers
Killers of the Flower Moon
Past Lives
Poor Things
The Zone of Interest

Justine Triet – Anatomy of a Fall
Martin ScorseseKillers of the Flower Moon
Christopher Nolan – Oppenheimer
Yorgos Lanthimos – Poor Things
Jonathan Glazer – The Zone of Interest

Bradley Cooper – Maestro
Colman Domingo – Rustin
Paul Giamatti – The Holdovers
Cillian Murphy – Oppenheimer
Jeffrey Wright – American Fiction

Annette Bening – Nyad
Lily Gladstone – Killers of the Flower Moon
Sandra Hüller – Anatomy of a Fall
Carey Mulligan – Maestro
Emma Stone – Poor Things

Supporting Actor:
Sterling K. Brown – American Fiction
Robert De Niro – Killers of the Flower Moon
Robert Downey Jr. – Oppenheimer
Ryan Gosling – Barbie
Mark Ruffalo – Poor Things

Supporting Actress:
Emily Blunt – Oppenheimer
Danielle Brooks – The Color Purple
America Ferrera – Barbie
Jodie Foster – Nyad
Da’Vine Joy Randolph – The Holdovers

Original Screenplay:
Anatomy of a Fall – Justine Triet and Arthur Harari
The Holdovers – David Hemingson
Maestro – Bradley Cooper & Josh Singer
May, December – Samy Burch; Story by Samy Burch & Alex Mechanik
Past Lives – Celine Song

Adapted Screenplay:
American Fiction – Cord Jefferson
Barbie – Greta Gerwig & Noah Baumbach
Oppenheimer – Christopher Nolan
Poor Things – Tony McNamara
The Zone of Interest – Jonathan Glazer

Animated Feature:
The Boy and the Heron
Robot Dreams
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

International Feature:
Io Capitano (Italy)
Perfect Days (Japan)
Society of the Snow (Spain)
The Teachers’ Lounge (Germany)
The Zone of Interest (UK)

El Conde – Edward Lachman
Killers of the Flower Moon – Rodrigo Prieto
Maestro – Matthew Libatique
Oppenheimer – Hoyte van Hoytema
Poor Things – Robbie Ryan

Documentary Feature:
Bobi Wine: The People’s President
The Eternal Memory
Four Daughters
To Kill a Tiger
20 Days in Mariupol

Documentary Short:
The ABCs of Book Banning
The Barber of Little Rock
Island in Between
The Last Repair Shop
Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó

Animated Short:
Letter to a Pig
Ninety-Five Senses
Our Uniform
War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko

Live-Action Short:
The After
Knight of Fortune
Red, White and Blue
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

Visual Effects:
The Creator
Godzilla: Minus One
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Production Design:
Barbie – PD: Sarah Greenwood; Set: Katie Spencer
Killers of the Flower Moon – PD: Jack Fisk; Set: Adam Willis
Napoleon – PD: Arthur Max; Set: Elli Griff
Oppenheimer – PD: Ruth De Jong; Set: Claire Kaufman
Poor Things – PD: James Price & Shona Heath; Set: Zsuzsa Mihalek

Costume Design:
Barbie – Jacqueline Durran
Killers – Jacqueline West
Napoleon – Janty Yates and Dave Crossman
Oppenheimer – Ellen Mirojnick
Poor Things – Holly Waddington

Make-Up & Hair:
Golda – Karen Hartley Thomas, Suzi Battersby, Ashra Kelly-Blue
Maestro – Kazu Hiro, Kay Georgiou, Lori McCoy-Bell
Oppenheimer – Luisa Abel
Poor Things – Nadia Stacey, Mark Coulier, Josh Weston
Society of the Snow – Ana López-Puigcerver, David Martí, Montse Ribé

Anatomy of a Fall – Laurent Sénéchal
The Holdovers – Kevin Tent
Killers of the Flower Moon – Thelma Schoonmaker
Oppenheimer – Jennifer Lame
Poor Things – Yorgos Mavropsaridis

The Creator
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
The Zone of Interest

Original Score:
American Fiction – Laura Karpman
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny – John Williams
Killers of the Flower Moon – Robbie Robertson
Oppenheimer – Ludwig Göransson
Poor Things – Jerskin Fendrix

Original Song:
“The Fire Inside” from Flamin’ Hot
“I’m Just Ken” from Barbie
“It Never Went Away” from American Symphony
“Wahzhazhe (A Song For My People)” from Killers of the Flower Moon
“What Was I Made For?” from Barbie

Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees. I’m happy about most of these, especially seeing the terrific movies Poor Things and Oppenheimer and Barbie and American Fiction and The Holdovers with so many nominations. I love each and every one of these! I would have preferred to see Joe Hisaishi for The Boy and the Heron and Daniel Pemberton for Across the Spider-Verse both nominated for Best Score, this is rather upsetting. However, I’m pretty sure Oppenheimer is winning anyway because it’s a masterpiece score (and it is cool to see that funky Poor Things score sneaking in). I don’t think it’s good to spend too much time dwelling on snubs and omissions, considering thee is plenty to celebrate with these nominees anyway. The Creator is now an Oscar nominee! Same with Society of the Snow. And the animated film Robot Dreams even got a nod. Colman Domingo is excellent in Rustin, even if the film isn’t so great. I am sure there will be tons of complaints about everything, as is the norm, but I believe this year’s picks are fantastic all around. Even Barbie deserves to be included with all the others. What do you think of these nominations for 2023?


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Barbie & ‘Pink Solidarity’: A Cultural Phenomenon or Just Marketing Done Right?

Georgina Cabral, a 28-year-old fashion designer, said she chose to wear her “pinkest dress” to watch Barbie at a theatre in Kerala.

Amil Bhatnagar, a journalist from Lucknow, too, wore a bright pink t-shirt to watch the film. “I don’t really see pink as a colour that affirms a particular gender. I have a lot of pink in my wardrobe,” he told The Quint.

What has, perhaps, been as fascinating as Greta Gerwig‘s new film is the sea of people dressed in pink – women, men, and children – floating about in theatres across cities.

In fact, this ‘pink phenomenon’ has now extended to Barbie-themed events and parties, where the dress code is unabashedly pink.

“It is after a long time that pop culture, sort of, got into a more tangible space where people want to participate. Whether it’s wearing black for Oppenheimer or wearing pink for Barbie, there was a certain celebration of cinema,” Bhatnagar added. 

Clearly, the Barbie promotion hit all the right notes. Dressing up in pink meant a show of unconditional support for the movie and what it represents. Do we dare say it also unleashed a phenomenon that allows people to be comfortable owning the ‘controversial’ colour pink – widely associated with ‘fragile femininity’?

So, the question now is: has Barbie singlehandedly altered the gendered ideas surrounding pink – or is the ongoing ‘pink solidarity’ just a complex and clever marketing campaign?

To understand the ‘pink phenomenon’ better, we must go back to the history books…

The Rebellious History of Pink

In an interview with CNN, Valeri Steele, editor of Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color, said that “pink has always been a colour in transition, and so have the social attitudes towards it.”

In the West, pink was closely associated with the aristocracy in the 1700s. European aristocrats, both men and women, wore soft and powdery variants of pink as a symbol of opulence and refinement, according to Steele. 

However, during the mid-19th century, a shift occurred as men in the Western world increasingly adopted dark and sombre colours, whereas women were left with brighter options.

Steele suggests that this marked the beginning of pink’s association with ‘fragile femininity’ and its gradual emergence as a symbol of delicacy and charm. Needless to say, pink was also not considered a ‘serious’ colour for years to come. 

Interestingly, even Mattel did not use pink packaging for Barbie until the 1970s, though the first doll was released in 1959, the company told Fortune.

For instance, women from across the United States wore bright pink ‘pussyhats’ during the Women’s March in 2017, but it received widespread criticism from feminists who believed that the “cute pink hats” trivialised the very real issues that women were facing.

Protesters at the Women’s March wearing pussyhats.

In contrast, the colour pink has been part of women’s movements in India – like the Gulabi Gang, popularly perceived as a “female vigilante group” in Uttar Pradesh, which started in 2006 as a response to crimes against women.

Wielding sticks, this group of women takes on men who commit crimes against women, whether it’s domestic violence, sexual harassment, or oppression.

“Most of the gendered ideas of pink that we [Indians] have today, we have borrowed from the West. I believe things like colours have not really mattered to people in India though misogyny runs deep here. Even our gods and mythological characters are portrayed in bright colours,” Ankita Mahabir, a marketing expert and founder of Socially India, told The Quint.

In Rajasthan, for instance, the colour pink is part of both men and women’s attire. We have had actors like Rishi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, and Shah Rukh Khan embrace pink, too.

Shah Rukh Khan.

In 2022, actor Ranveer Singh, too, attended an event in Mumbai wearing bubblegum pink.

Ranvir Singh wearing a Maison Valentino ensemble.

But by then, the colour’s connotations had changed. It was considered “bold and unconventional” for Ranveer to appear in bright pink – because it’s not really a “man’s colour.”

What Spurred the Latest ‘Pink Phenomenon’?

Speaking to The Quint, brand and business strategy specialist Harish Bijoor said that Barbie‘s marketing was clever also because it “pushed back” on stereotypes.

“Marketing is always clever. It knows the pulse of society, it reads society, and it offers solutions. Here, the problem seems to be about gender and colour. And the film has pushed back with clever marketing,” he said.

What helped was, of course, Mattel and Greta Gerwig’s “$150 million budget and a stellar marketing team,” Mahabir told The Quint.

Margot Robbie in Barbie.

There’s also the nostalgia factor for some, Mahabir added.

“The colour pink was fed into people’s perceptions. Everyone wanted a piece of the Barbie aesthetic. Barbie’s pink Malibu Dreamhouse is back on Airbnb, there was a 3D ad of Barbie in front of Burj Khalifa, and if you google Barbie, you’re greeted with pink confetti.”

The Malibu Dreamhouse by Airbnb.

So, Has ‘Barbie’ Changed Perceptions Towards Pink?

Bijoor believes that Barbie has “discovered a new era where colour does not define gender. Typically, over the decades, the colour pink has been forcefully representing femininity. I say ‘forcefully’ because society forces stereotypes. Society genderises colour. Barbie tried to correct this – and I think it’s been very successful.”

Mahabir, however, said it’s impossible to gauge the success of the ‘pink phenomenon’, “because at the end of the day, the phenomenon was all about a brilliant marketing campaign.”

While it was interesting to see women owning and reclaiming the colour and men wearing it without shame, Mahabir said that “we are in an echo chamber. Men who are wearing pink probably don’t have a problem wearing pink. Their masculinity is probably not threatened.”

She also referred to how Barbie received considerable backlash in India even before its release, as many on Twitter categorised it as “a movie for women,” while crowning Oppenheimer as “a movie for men.” You can read more about that here.

Mahabir also pointed out that having an actor like Ryan Gosling play Ken – after having played several other masculine characters over the years – is a decision that has worked in the production’s favour.

“The pink phenomenon might contribute to changing gender perceptions, but I don’t think it is important enough to actually bring about change,” she added.

Somya Lakhani, a journalist who watched the film on the first day of its release, concurred, saying: “Barbie was pop feminism at its best. It is marketing at its best. But let’s not pretend that it’s more than what it is.”

“I don’t remember the last time I watched a movie where people actually dressed up for the movie. But Barbie, at the end of the day, is a heavily funded production – it’s not a crowd-sourced film. And we can purely owe this pink phenomenon it to the movie’s marketing, and nothing else,” she added.

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Inside Mattel, Inc.’s dreamhouse

How does Mattel solve a problem of its own design? The problem: a doll, fashioned seven decades ago, with a ridiculously tiny waist, perfectly-arched feet, living in a Pantone 219C pink house, the embodiment of the Perfect Woman™. The California-based toy conglomerate, since the turn of the century, kept drawing cards that augured trouble for its 400+ toy portfolio: misguided acquisitions, dwindling sales, debt crises, stiff competition, a public relations nightmare. More damningly, Barbie dolls, Mattel’s origin story, were proving to be its Achilles Heel. Criticism mounted over its relevance in a world eager to redefine beauty standards and undo gender norms.

Mattel’s solution? Reinventing the $3 toy into a multi-billion-dollar “pop culture company”, as Richard Dickson, COO and president of Mattel, said in a recent interview. Mattel was ready to have a “dialogue” with consumers, morphing into a “canvas” for conversations and experiences, he says. The canvas currently is painted hot pink: Barbie x Gap clothing, Barbie x Impala rollerskates, Barbie luggage, a Barbie Xbox, a Malibu Dreamhouse. The canvas can be a brand, franchise, an idea. The rumoured $100 million marketing strategy will be a playbook next applied to Hot Wheels, UNO and other playthings in Mattel’s toybox. Welcome to the Mattel Cinematic Universe. Here, life is Mattel’s creation.

Mattel started with a trio in a garage, circa 1945, Los Angeles. Ruth Handler, her husband Elliot and Matt Manson (Mattell is a portmanteau of the latter two; Ruth’s name couldn’t fit into the title, Eliot revealed later). Mattel sold picture frames, then doll furniture and toys. Matt withdrew his participation due to poor health, transferring the remaining stakes to Ruth. Ruth proposed a heretical product (by toy industry standards): a doll with breasts. Her own daughter Barbara played dress-up with baby dolls or one-dimensional paper dolls; it dawned on Ruth that young girls were conditioned to dream of becoming mothers or caregivers — nothing more, nothing less. This inspiration concretised on seeing Bild Lilli, a doll modelled after a cartoon character in a Swiss local newspaper. The first Barbie doll ambled through the breach wearing a black-and-white striped swimsuit, hooped earrings, sunglasses, priced at $3 then.

Barbie-themed merchandise is displayed in New York on July 20, 2023.
| Photo Credit:

Ms. Handler wrote in her 1994 biography: “My whole philosophy of Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.” A world, with countless versions, was brought to life: soon came the Ken doll, the Barbie Dreamhouse, Barbie’s best friend Midge, sister Skipper, Ken’s best friend, Barbies of varying skin colours, partaking in sundry professions.

Photo dozens of Barbie dolls are displayed at the Mattel showroom at Toy Fair in New York.

Photo dozens of Barbie dolls are displayed at the Mattel showroom at Toy Fair in New York.
| Photo Credit:

Mattel had acquired 10 other companies by the 1970s, but the Handlers soon resigned when a 1974 investigation found them guilty of falsifying financial statements and mail fraud. Ms. Handler’s next project involved creating prosthetic breasts for cancer survivors (she herself had two mastectomies). This history is documented in the movie, when Ruth’s character in a dream-like setting muses about her illness and financial hiccups. “Ideas live forever, humans not so much,” she says.

Undeterred, Mattle persisted on its way to success. It’s the world’s largest toy maker today in terms of revenue; Barbie and Hot Wheels continue to be its most valued brands. Ms. Handler wrote: “People in the retail business use an expression for a popular product – they say it ‘walks’ off the counter. Barbie didn’t walk. She ran.” Barbie accounted for more than half of Mattel’s sales within initial years of launch..

The old guard gone, Mattel, then helmed by Arthur S. Spear, initiated a strategy of hit and try: acquiring game consoles (almost pushed the company to file for bankruptcy), publishing house (sold four years later), launching action figures (later dropped, causing a $115 million loss), charting paths into multimedia with a $3.6 billion investment in Learning Company (an expert likened to “falling off a cliff’). The company was in financial trouble, recovering briefly in the early 2000s, by refocusing on what they are good at: basic toys. “The strength of Barbie and other important brands — combined with two years of cost-cutting — have lifted the stock of the company, the nation’s largest toymaker,” a 2003 article in The New York Times noted.

The respite was short-lived — the aughts presented challenges new and old: children moved on from analogue toys to digital, competition emerged from new franchises, Barbie’s feminity was still regressive. Russia banned Barbie dolls in 2002 for stimulating “early sexual interest”; Saudi Arabia banned it for carrying a “symbol of decadence to the perverted West”. India saw Barbie enter the market post the 1991 economic reforms, “cultural norms embodied in both written legislation and in the ―unwritten laws of the Indian public precluded Mattel from successfully selling Barbie‘s gendered and ethnocentric values to Indian female children”, a 2009 paper argued. Scandal struck in 2007 due to quality control, when Mattel recalled 1.5 million Chinese-made toys tainted with lead paint. Profitability between 2000 and 2014 was unsteady: Barbie sales dropped by 16% (its lowest sales volume in 25 years), Fisher-Price (which manufactures baby toys) were down by 13%.

Analysts agreed Barbie, and Mattle, were in their decline phase, struggling to stay relevant. Mr. Dickson who re-joined the company in 2014, when speaking of Mattel’s new vision, implied it was time to revisit its roots: “What made us great to begin with? And how do we start to personify our purpose through meaningful touch points and execution?” 

Mattel’s Barbie problem also became its solution. The doll received updates to respond to a shifting culture around 2016: Barbie dolls could be astronauts, Presidents, doctors, even Frida Kahlo. There were three additional body shapes, seven skin tones, 24 hairstyles, 22 eye colours. There was a hijabi Barbie, a Barbie in a wheelchair. (New versions were criticised for being tokenistic gestures, doing little to be truly subversive). The doll’s sales grew by 16% eventually, per reports.

Mattel was reinventing, and that meant revisiting the notion of enlivening the toys on celluloid (the process of making Barbie started in 2014). The new CEO Ynon Kreiz in 2018 shuffled things around: reducing manufacturing load, forming a film department, revamping social media presence, meeting with agents, networks and studios. They had an enviable intellectual property with a built-in fan base; an IP ripe for mining at a time when viewers were fatigued by superhero franchises and the ‘Marvelification’ of cinema. “It’s not about making movies so that we can go and sell more toys,” Mr. Kreiz said in an interview. The movie doeshelp though: the marketing had built awareness about the film as well as Mattel among women under 35 years of age, the higher ever seen by the company, according to The Quorum. Mattel has since announced 14 more movies, streaming shows and video games based on its toys. A theme park is being built in Arizona.

What lies at the heart of Mattel’s inner sanctum? A desire to build a bottomless dream house, a meta realm that incarnates a brand into culture. Mr. Dickson in a media interaction mused: “Barbie’s not just a toy. She’s a source of inspiration.”

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Margot Robbie in a scene from Barbie.

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Margot Robbie in a scene from Barbie.
| Photo Credit:

For now, Phase 1 for Mattel’s Cinematic Universe begins with betting on feminism, seemingly embracing the critique and subversion designed into Barbie’s plot (“We’re doing the thing and subverting the thing,” director Greta Gerwig said). The doll was an inescapable symbol of what is expected of women, succumbing to capitalist ambitions and a sexualised male gaze. The chant “I am not a Barbie doll” pealed through women’s equality marches in the Seventies. With Barbie, Mattel swooped in with reinvention, complicating the idea of what is expected of women, showing a polarising doll on a soul mission. “We’re in on the joke,” says Margot Robbie, the star of Barbie and ‘Barbenheimmer memes’. In the movie, Ruth tells Barbie that her original creator had to be a woman, she says, even if men in suits dominate the Mattle boardroom, pontificating about women’s rights, trying to construct a woman’s world from scratch.

It all comes back to Ruth Handler, and her divisive doll. Mattel’s story is inevitably tied to the two: each desired relevance, reinventing oneself while searching for a purpose. Mattel still has a job to do, however: to make money. In the elaborate, self-aware joke drenched in fuschia pink, one wonders if subversion is the main bit. Can Mattel perform the ultimate balancing act, chasing both money and meaning?

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Vietnam Bans Barbie Movie, Because ‘Map’

If there’s one thing we learned from “The West Wing,” it’s that Democrats need to find Republicans of goodwill who are willing to put America above partisan bickering, and … wait, that’s bullshit. But the episode where the “Organization of Cartographers for Social Equality” explained that maps can be very political, that one holds up pretty good. The Mercator projection really has encouraged “an imperialist European attitude for centuries and has created ethnic prejudices against the Third World,” and anyone who says otherwise is itchin’ for a fight.

Naturally enough, that brings us to the new Barbie movie directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie as the eponymous fashion doll. The trailer is ridiculously fun, but includes a detail that seems to have led the nation of Vietnam to ban distribution of the film. Namely, a cartoony world map includes a little bitty dashed line off the coast of “Asia,” and Vietnam says that means the movie endorses China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Here’s the trailer; the blink-and-you’ll miss it offense to Vietnam’s sovereignty appears at roughly the 1-minute mark, when Laurie Anderson Barbie Kate McKinnon Barbie advises Main Character Barbie she must go to the Real World and learn how human feet operate, we think.


The movie had been scheduled to open in Vietnam July 21, but Vietnam’s state media announced that the government banned the film Monday, as the AP explains:

The reports cited Vi Kien Thanh, director general of the Vietnam Cinema Department, as saying the National Film Evaluation Council made the decision. It said a map in the film shows China’s “nine-dash line,” which extends Beijing’s territorial claims far into waters that fall within areas claimed by Vietnam and other countries.

The “nine-dash line” is an arcane but sensitive issue for China and its neighbors that shows Beijing’s maritime border extending into areas claimed by other governments and encompasses most of the South China Sea. That has brought it into tense standoffs with the ASEAN nations of Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, with Chinese fishing boats and military vessels becoming more aggressive in the disputed waters.

Here’s a map, drawn by professors Mark Raymond of the University of Oklahoma and David A. Welch of the University of Waterloo, in Canada-land, for their paper “What’s Really Going On in the South China Sea?” You can see why Vietnamese officials mockingly call the area claimed by China the “cow-tongue line.”

Map by Mark Raymond and David A. Welch

We should also point out that the map in the trailer only has eight dashes, so perhaps it depicts some other planet altogether.

State newspaper Vietnam Plus said that the inclusion of the squiggle in a cartoon map “distorts the truth, violates the law in general and violates sovereignty of Vietnamese territory in particular,” although it remains unclear how exactly the Barbie movie could in practical terms make the international boundary dispute any worse. The UN seems unlikely to determine that China can fish in the area because International Incident Barbie said so in a one-second clip.

Still, national pride and all that; no doubt patriotic Americans would be very put out if a Saudi-owned “news” network depicted part of the United States as belonging to a foreign country.

Screenshot of a 2020 Fox News map with Michigan's Upper Peninsula labeled

The AP reports that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning, when asked about the matter Tuesday, did not consider life in plastic so fantastic, adding that

“China’s position on the South China Sea issue is clear and consistent.”

“We believe that the countries concerned should not link the South China Sea issue with normal cultural and people-to-people exchanges”

For what it’s worth — very little, since China ignored the decision altogether — a 2016 international tribunal in the Hague found China’s territorial claims to the waters had no merit, but as we just said in what’s now a redundant part of this sentence, China rejected the judgment and continues to claim the area.

So far, nobody involved with the movie has commented on how the controversial squiggle came to be included, although China is notorious for having its own angry reactions to western entertainment or sportsball players who express support for Hong Kong or Taiwan. Our own very deep foreign policy analysis concludes that somebody on the production staff said “well, better include the squiggle if we want to show this in China,” figuring that revenues from China would more than make up for any losses in Vietnam.

There’s nothing terribly new about this, either: Vietnam previously banned the 2022 film Uncharted and 2019’s Abominable for maps showing the Chinese Domination Squiggle. In fact, the scene in the latter completely forgettable kid flick led politicians in the Philippines to call for a boycott of all DreamWorks films, and Malaysia refused to distribute the movie until the scene was cut altogether.

As it happens, Vietnam also launched an investigation this week into the K-Pop group “Blackpink” because a website for its Vietnamese tour included a similarly offensive map. The tour organizer called the incident an “unfortunate misunderstanding” and pledged that the website had been updated, although the site remains down, Reuters reports.

Also, in the latest wrinkle of this developing international crisis, the Philippines is debating whether to ban Barbie as well.

How silly all these foreigns are, launching boycotts and censoring an innocent entertainment over such a nothingburger!

Meanwhile, in the Freest, Greatest, Most Liberty-est Nation on Earth, we’re firing teachers and banning books over the fear that encouraging everyone to get along and accept each other’s differences will lead to nine-year-olds falling into a life of depravity, or because schools might accurately depict our very real history.

Also, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) has now twice condemned the Barbie movie, tweeting yesterday that

Leftist Hollywood’s new ‘Barbie’ movie shows a map that supports Communist China’s territorial claims to the South China Sea.

Looks like ‘Barbie’ is bending to Beijing to make a quick buck.

Blackburn followed that up today by insisting that we all take her seriously, since a fun summer movie about a pop culture icon is actually causing human rights abuses, no really she is serious, if that squiggle were removed, the camps would be opened and the Uyghurs would be freed.

Hollywood & the Left are more concerned with selling films in Communist China than standing up to the regime’s human rights abuses.

The ‘Barbie’ movie’s depiction of a map endorsing Beijing’s claims to the South China Sea is legally & morally wrong and must be taken seriously.

Strangely, not a single Republican has stepped forward to demand that Mattel include realistic genitals on Ken and Barbie, since surely the dolls as they’ve existed for 70 years encourage androgyny.

[AP / NYT / CNBC / Reuters / Sage Journals]

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Here’s Why We Think Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ Can Be the Biggest Trendsetter of 2023

The past week has been all about Greta Gerwig’s Barbie. The upcoming satirical comedy, starring Margot Robbie (Barbie) and Ryan Gosling (Ken), is an ode to the iconic Mattel doll and is scheduled to hit theatres on 21 July.

Ever since the release of its second teaser trailer on 5 April, Barbie has officially annihilated the internet with its star-studded cast and its vibrant shades of pink. From the film’s infectious Barbie-core fashion to its marketing campaigns, everyone is talking about Barbie!

Here’s why we think Gerwig’s film is going to be one of the biggest trendsetters of 2023:

It’s Time for Barbie-core!

Margot Robbie in a still from Barbie.

There is no doubt that Barbie is going to dominate the fashion industry with Barbie-core this year. For the uninitiated, Barbie-core is a fashion trend that emulates the monochromatic pink clothing aesthetic of the iconic Barbie doll.

In June 2022, when the makers released the first look of Ken, it broke the internet, as no one was expecting a Gosling with bleached blonde hair, washboard abs, and a spray tan look.

The freshly-released 2-minute trailer, however, had some show-stealing fashion moments that were hard to miss. It featured Robbie in her pink gingham dresses, daisy necklaces, and feathery shoed-glory, which brought back our childhood memories to life. Apart from the nostalgia, it was also a big moment for fashion enthusiasts who missed the good old Barbie-core charm.

First looks of Ryan Gosling as Ken and Margot Robbie as Barbie.

For Barbie, Gerwig collaborated with the Oscar-winning British costume designer Jacqueline Durran to pay homage to the doll. Gerwig had previously worked with Durran in Little Women. The designer has also contributed to films like Atonement, Pride & Prejudice and Spencer, among others.

Gerwig has brought Barbie not only to the cinema but also to the real world. Barbiecore has become the hottest fashion trend even before the release of the film, and fashion publicists are already reaching out to the production to “get the look.”

Barbie’s bright pink vest with matching bell-bottom pants; her pink beret and the Peter Pan collared dress with puff sleeves; her baby pink bedazzled heels with pink pompoms; the chunky jewellery; and Ken’s striped co-ord set—there’s so much to take inspiration from the film’s trailer itself.

And this isn’t just the West; we can see the frenzy back home in India as well. From celebrities like Zendaya and Simone Ashley to Ranveer Singh and Ananya Panday, most have already embraced Barbie-core.

L to R: Ananya Panday; Ranveer Singh; Zendaya; Simone Ashley; Sebastian Stan.

The Various Marketing Initiatives

A still from Barbie.

Needless to say, the PR team for Barbie has levelled up the game with its soft marketing strategies.

Barbie was already in talks after it dropped its first teaser trailer, a witty parody of the popular 1968 sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey, in December 2022. Besides, the Easter eggs in these teasers gave the netizens plenty of reasons to talk about the film.

On 5 April, the makers launched a series of sparkly first-look posters of the various Barbie and Ken characters from the film. This was followed by a clever ‘Barbie selfie generator’ that allowed fans to create their own Barbie posters and become part of Gerwig’s pink universe.

Tweets about the Barbie selfie generator on Twitter.

From memes to reels, Barbie reached the peak of its virality on the internet as thousands of users bombarded social media with their own Barbie posters the following day.

The easy-to-use selfie generator requires its users to upload a picture of themselves, after which it gives them a glitzy Barbie makeover, which one can customise with their choice of colour and text. There’s little denying that fans are already enamoured with this idea.

According to media intelligence company CARMA, conversations about Barbieland have peaked on social media since the launch of its second teaser trailer. Users’ sentiments about the film remain positive at 31.6 percent, with only 4.3 percent of comments being negative. The Barbie selfie generator, on the other hand, has been in conversations with an overwhelmingly positive response, with 67.2 percent.

Here’s how people reacted to Barbie’s teaser trailers:

First Feminist Take on Barbie?

Margot Robbie in and as Barbie.

Gerwig’s Barbie is going to be the second theatrically released live-action film based on a doll line since Sean McNamara’s Bratz (2007). The chaotic-looking magnum opus, co-written by Gerwig and her partner Noah Baumbach, is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated films of the year.

While McNamara’s film was a high-school teen drama, Gerwig’s Barbie seems to be the first film to have a feminist take on the Mattel doll.

Originally announced in 2009, Barbie has undergone several different iterations and has been a property for three different studios, including the Universal Pictures production, Sony Pictures, and ultimately Warner Bros Pictures, where the project finally became a film. Initially, Amy Schumer was supposed to play the titular character, but she was later replaced by Anne Hathaway. Ultimately, Margot Robbie got the role in 2019, and Gerwig was chosen as the director.

Emma Mackey, Simu Liu, Margot Robbir, Ryan Gosling and Kingsley Ben-Adir in a still from Barbie.

Barbie was one of the biggest anti-feminist symbols of all time until recently, when conscious efforts were made to make the Mattel doll appear more inclusive in terms of both ethnic diversity and its body type. Similarly, the film industry has also undergone a revolutionary transformation in how it used to represent and recognise women on screen.

Gerwig has previously helmed films like Ladybird and Little Women, which are beloved and renowned for their feminist takes. In the adaptation of Little Women, Gerwig transformed Amy’s character from a ‘spoiled brat’ to a self-sufficient woman with her own opinions and feelings and a mature understanding of the socioeconomic institution of marriage.

Margot Robbie in a still from Barbie.

Besides the leads, Barbie also features a stellar ensemble cast that includes Issa Rae, Hari Nef, America Ferrera, Emma Mackey, Dua Lipa, Ncuti Gatwa, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Simu Liu, Michael Cera, Kate McKinnon, Nicola Coughlan, Ariana Greenblatt, and Alexandra Shipp, among others.

With people showing excitement to watch the film regardless of their age and gender, it is safe to say that Gerwig’s Barbie is all set to colour the world pink.

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