Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is nominated for seven Academy Awards. Yet the star of the film did not get a seat at this year’s ceremony. However, after being snubbed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at first, the 20-year-old sensation Rachel Zegler, who plays Maria in the Academy Award best picture nominee West Side Story, has been invited to present at the 94th Oscars ceremony on Sunday, March 27, 2022, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In response to a fan’s comment on Zegler’s Instagram, asking if she was excited about her Oscar debut, the actor wrote, “I’m not invited so sweatpants and my boyfriend’s flannel.” She later added, “I hope some last-minute miracle occurs and I can celebrate our film in person but hey, that’s how it goes sometimes, I guess.” Zegler continued on Instagram, “Thanks for all the shock and outrage — I’m disappointed, too. But that’s OK. So proud of our movie.”
Zegler’s Instagram post drew a lot of attention, and many on the Internet could not fathom why the star of one of the best picture nominees was not invited to the Oscar ceremony on Sunday night or at least asked to present an award. Many fans also raised the point that the star’s next big role is Snow White in the live-action version of Snow White, which she is currently filming in London, which is being produced by The Walt Disney Company.
The Academy Awards are owned by broadcaster ABC, also a subsidiary of Disney, and many of Zegler’s fans wondered why the company wouldn’t want their new Snow White to attend the annual award show in some capacity, whereas others saw it as a missed opportunity for more representation. Now that Zegler is confirmed to be presenting at the Oscars, according to THR, “efforts are being undertaken to rearrange the film’s shooting schedule to enable Zegler to be at the Oscars.”
Russ Tamblyn Calls Out the Oscars for Rachel Zegler
Many big names across the Internet weighed in, including the actors from the original West Side Story film adaptation. For example, Russ Tamblyn, who played Riss in the original West Side Story, weighed in with his support of Zegler, tweeting, “@TheAcademy 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.”
On March 20, Zegler also took to Twitter to say thank you to her fans and the other actors for showing their support, Tweeting, “my goodness, folks!! appreciate all the support, i really really do. we live in such unprecedented times, and a lot of work behind the scenes goes into making movie magic happen. that goes for film productions (like the one I am so lucky to be currently shooting in london)…” Later she added, “…and awards shows alike. let’s all just respect the process and i’ll get off my phone x R.”