That was quick: ‘West Side Story’ star Rachel Zegler invited to Oscars after all

A woman with long black hair laughing.
Rachel Zegler attends a 2021 screening of “West Side Story” in Los Angeles.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)

Sunday night won’t be just any night for “West Side Story” breakout Rachel Zegler.

After the rising movie star revealed over the weekend that she didn’t have a ticket to the Oscars, the film academy has invited Zegler to attend the ceremony as a presenter, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The academy did not immediately respond Tuesday to The Times’ request for comment.

The 20-year-old actor, who plays female lead María in the best picture-nominated musical adaptation, recently thanked fans for expressing “shock and outrage” that she did not receive an invitation to Sunday’s Academy Awards.

Rachel Zegler said she’s ‘disappointed, too,’ after revealing she isn’t invited to the Oscars, despite starring in best picture nom ‘West Side Story.’

March 21, 2022

Typically, the academy allocates a certain number of Oscars tickets to each studio with a best-picture nominee. Then it’s up to the studio to decide what to do with those tickets. Disney, which distributed “West Side Story” via 20th Century Studios, did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Times.


Because presenters and solo nominees are automatically invited to the show, Zegler is now poised to make her Oscars debut after all. According to the Hollywood Reporter, arrangements are being made for Zegler — who is in London shooting Disney’s live-action remake of “Snow White” — to participate in Sunday’s ceremony at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

‘Find Rachel a seat at the Oscars,’ tweeted Russ Tamblyn, who played Riff in the 1961 version of ‘West Side Story,’ after Zegler wasn’t invited.

March 21, 2022

“My goodness, folks!! appreciate all the support, i really really do,” Zegler tweeted over the weekend.

“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.”

Last month, Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” received seven Oscar nominations — for director, cinematography, costume design, production design, sound, supporting actress and best picture. Broadway star Ariana DeBose is favored to win the supporting actress prize for her acclaimed turn as Anita — the same role that won Rita Moreno an Oscar in 1962.

In response to an Instagram follower who couldn’t “wait to see” what she’d be wearing to the Oscars, Zegler said Saturday, “I’m not invited so sweatpants and my boyfriend’s flannel.” (The performer is dating her “West Side Story” co-star Josh Andrés Rivera.)

“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.”

A woman in a white dress standing among a crowd of dancers
Rachel Zegler as María in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.”
(Niko Tavernise / 20th Century Studios)

Following Zegler’s Instagram remarks, a number of fans and entertainment luminaries condemned Disney and the academy for failing to include one of Hollywood’s brightest new stars in the show. Among those who rallied for Zegler’s big Oscars moment were “One Day at a Time” co-creator Gloria Calderón Kellett, “Rutherford Falls” co-creator Sierra Teller Ornelas and Russ Tamblyn — who played Riff in the 1961 version of “West Side Story.”

“@TheAcademy As a voting member and the original Riff, let me say: it’s your duty to find Rachel a seat at the Oscars,” Tamblyn, 87, tweeted on Monday.

“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.”