Rachel Zegler Wasn’t Invited to the Academy Awards


Photo credit: Bollywood

Why didn’t the female lead of seven times nominee West Side Story receive an invitation to the Oscars?

The Oscars or Academy Awards are awards given for artistic and technical excellence in film. West Side Story is an American film that’s musical, romantic, and full of drama. The movie is a play on the story of Romeo and Juliet starring Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as Romeo and Juliet. 

West Side Story did really well, receiving seven Oscar nominations. “With seven nominations, ‘West Side Story’ is the third most nominated film of this year’s Academy Awards, including a coveted best picture nomination, as well as for best director,” according to NBC News.

You would think that the leads of such a highly nominated film would be invited to the Oscars, right? When responding to a fan on Instagram asking what she would be wearing to the awards, Zegler replied “i’m not invited so sweatpants and my boyfriend’s flannel.” Hearing that the female lead was not invited outraged fans.

Zegler’s supporters turned to Twitter to bash the Oscars and to question why the actress was not invited. One Twitter user, @filmgal, wrote “rachel zegler being the *lead* in a film that has seven oscar nominations yet not being invited to the ceremony…make it make sense.” There are many people who voiced their opinion on The Academy’s decision.

Many people were very upset with those running the Oscars, but it is not actually their fault. “Typically what happens is that the studios get a certain number of tickets, so it’s actually up to the studio to decide, from the movie, who comes and who doesn’t,” as stated by E! News. The question is: why wasn’t Zegler invited when her co-stars were?

There are a couple possible answers to this question. First and foremost, “Some have speculated that the 2022 guest list would be scaled back amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” as maintained by The LA Times. Covid-19 has had a major impact on life today, so it’s possible this was a factor in Disney’s decision not to give the actress a ticket.

It’s important to note that Zegler is currently filming Disney’s live action version of Snow White. According to Cinema Blend, Snow White is scheduled to begin filming this month.” Many stars miss out on events because of this reason, so it’s possible it played a role in Zegler’s lack of an invitation to the Academy Awards.

However, after outraged fans heard about the situation, Zegler suddenly received her invitation as a presenter for the award for Best Visual Effects alongside Jacob Elordi. “Disney is working to rearrange the production schedule on her current project, a live-action version of “Snow White,” to make it happen,” as stated by The New York Times. Seeing as Zegler received an invitation so soon after public outcry, Disney’s reasoning for giving her an invitation last minute is a little fishy.

Because the invitation was given just days before the Academy Awards, it makes one think Disney’s intentions are impure. “I mean clearly they just invited her to please people. She should’ve always gotten an invite like she was the lead in the movie,” said junior Carlota Echeverri. 

Regardless of why and when Zegler received her invitation to the awards ceremony, she was quite happy once she did. “I never thought I would be here…six days ago. Dreams do come true. Pretty fast, in fact,” said Zegler. The question is, will companies learn from this situation in the future, or will they continue to leave out deserving people for seemingly unjustified reasons.