With just four days to go before the 94th Academy Awards, Hollywood’s glitterati have been picking their designer formalwear and practicing their speeches as they prepare to cheer, secretly-seethe-when-they-don’t-win, and party the night away at the controversially streamlined latest edition of the biggest award ceremony in cinema. Until last night, however, there was going to be one highly noticeable omission from the Oscars guest list – Rachel Zegler, star of West Side StorySteven Spielberg’s musical remake that’s up for seven gongs, including Best Picture.
Last weekend, Zegler responded to a fan on Instagram asking her what she would be wearing to the Awards by saying “I’m not invited, so sweatpants and my boyfriend’s flannel.” This sparked a social media firestorm, understandably, as fans, filmmakers, colleagues, and industry insiders alike all rallied round Zegler.
Russ Tamblyn, who played Riff in the original 1961 West Side Story film, led the protests against the oversight, issuing the following statement on Twitter: “As a voting member and the original Riff, let me say: it’s your duty to find Rachel a seat at the Oscars. She STARS in #Westsidestory which is nominated across the board. When they say representation matters, this is what that means. Please do right by her. ”
It seems that the reasoning behind Zegler’s snub boils down to ticket allocation protocols. She is not nominated personally, and the heavily-nommed Disney have only got a certain amount of tickets allotted to them. But, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Zegler has now been invited to present an award as part of this Sunday’s live broadcast. As this is being typed, Disney are trying to rejig the shooting schedule for their Zegler-starring Snow White remake so that the actress can hotfoot it from London to the Dolby Theater, and join Best Director nominee Steven Spielberg and Supporting Actress hot tip Ariana DeBose to celebrate their work. Cinderella – or, actually, Snow White – shall go to the ball after all.
For more on all things Oscars, check out our handy Oscars hub where you’ll find lowdowns on the nominees, predictions, a fiendish quiz for the most diehard film buffs, and more.