‘West Side Story’ star Rachel Zegler says she isn’t invited to Oscars despite film noms
Rachel Zegler, breakout star of best-picture nominee “West Side Story,” says she is not invited to the Academy Awards this year.
The actor and singer, who plays female lead María in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the classic musical, thanked fans Sunday for expressing “shock and outrage” after she revealed via Instagram that she would be watching the Oscars telecast from home, despite her best efforts to score an invitation to the ceremony.
In response to an Instagram follower who couldn’t “wait to see” what she’d be wearing the night of the Oscars, Zegler commented, “I’m not invited so sweatpants and my boyfriend’s flannel.” (The 20-year-old performer is dating her “West Side Story” co-star Josh Andrés Rivera.)
As noted by Variety, film studios with best-picture nominees are allotted an “undefined” number of tickets to the Oscars, which they can (and often do) offer to cast members of their nominated movies. Presenters and individual nominees get their own tickets. Zegler is not presenting or nominated for her performance as María — though some believe she should have been.
“West Side Story” was distributed by 20th Century Studios, which is owned by Disney. Representatives for Disney did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
A vibrant new screen adaptation of the enduring Broadway classic will remind you of the power of the big screen movie musical.
“Idk y’all i have tried it all but it doesn’t seem to be happening,” Zegler wrote in the comments section of her latest Instagram post.
“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. ... i’m disappointed, too. but that’s okay. so proud of our movie.”
After fans of the rising movie star deemed the alleged snub “immensely bogus” and unfair, Zegler vowed to “root for west side story from my couch and be proud of the work we so tirelessly did 3 years ago.”
Among the many rallying for Zegler’s Oscars debut was Gloria Calderón Kellett, co-creator of the hit sitcom revival “One Day at a Time,” which starred Zegler’s “West Side Story” cast mate Rita Moreno.
“Hey @ABCNetwork You moved the ONE Latine show you have to Hulu and @TheAcademy claims to want to embrace diversity,” Calderón Kellett tweeted.
“How about the rare time that Latine people have a movie nominated for an OSCAR you invite the lead. Latine people are 18.5% of this country. ENOUGH!”
In addition to the best picture nod, “West Side Story” also collected Oscar nominations for director, cinematography, costume design, production design and sound. Zegler’s co-star, Ariana DeBose, is favored to win the supporting actress trophy for her acclaimed turn as Anita — the role Moreno received an Oscar for playing in 1962.
At the Oscars it is customary for main cast members and producers of all the best picture nominees to attend the show. This year, “West Side Story” is nominated for the top prize alongside “Belfast,” “CODA,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Drive My Car,” “Dune,” “King Richard,” “Licorice Pizza,” “Nightmare Alley” and “The Power of the Dog.”
What to know about ‘Dune,’ ‘Don’t Look Up,’ ‘Power of the Dog,’ ‘Drive My Car’ and other best picture nominees.
Some have speculated that the 2022 guest list would be scaled back amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In February, the Hollywood Reporter confirmed that the academy would require proof of vaccination for attendees — except performers and presenters, who will need to test negative. Nominees and their dates will be asked to provide proof of vaccination and two negative PCR tests, per the New York Times.
According to Vulture, the Academy Awards will take place March 27 at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre before an audience of 2,500. That accounts for 75% of the venue’s capacity, suggesting attendance will be lower than in previous years.
Earlier this month, the film academy sparked backlash with a plan to pare down the ceremony by excluding five below-the-line awards and the three short film awards from the main show. On March 9, Oscar winners James Cameron, Kathleen Kennedy, John Williams, Guillermo del Toro and others signed an open letter urging the academy to reverse the decision.
After drawing rave reviews for her portrayal of María in “West Side Story,” Zegler has emerged as one of the most in-demand young talents in Hollywood. Up next, she’ll appear in the highly anticipated sequel to DC’s “Shazam!,” followed by her Disney princess-debut as the star of the studio giant’s live-action remake of “Snow White.”
“My goodness, folks!! appreciate all the support, i really really do,” Zegler tweeted Sunday afternoon.
“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) ... and awards shows alike. let’s all just respect the process and i’ll get off my phone.”
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