Bill Maher Chimes in on ‘Barbie’ Oscars Controversy on ‘Real Time’: “Is This Really the Patriarchy?”

Bill Maher kicked off Real Time‘s second episode of the new year by taking the opportunity to share his thoughts on the Barbie Oscars nominations controversy.

Following the audience’s applause as he took to the stage, the host said, “You can always sense the excitement at this time of year when you’re in L.A. because it’s Oscars week or something. … This is a big part of the town, industry and everything. So we get very excited.”

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Maher proceeded to note that 2024 Oscar nominations were released on Tuesday and Barbie scored eight noms, including best picture, but Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig lost out on best leading actress and best director, respectively.

“The matter has been handed over to the International Criminal Court and is being investigated for a war,” the host quipped about the matter.

For the past several days, Barbie fans and some Hollywood stars, including Ryan Gosling and Michelle Yeoh, have expressed their disappointment at the Academy’s voting for leaving Gerwig and Robbie out of those two categories. Especially since Gosling, who played Ken in the movie, received a nod for best supporting actor.

But then in a twist, the backlash started receiving backlash, with some people, such as Whoopi Goldberg, saying the actress and director weren’t snubbed by the Academy. Goldberg said earlier this week on The View, “There are no snubs, and that’s what you have to keep in mind: Not everybody gets a prize.”

Now, Maher is the latest Hollywood figure to question the online outrage over the snubs.

“I don’t know why this is such a giant controversy now,” he said. “I mean, best actress. That’s the category, you know, she [Robbie] lost to other actresses. It’s not like they gave her slot to Vin Diesel. Is this really the patriarchy?”

Later in the episode, Maher asked guests Rep. Adam Schiff and Seth MacFarlane if they thought the Barbie snubs meant America is a patriarchy or not.

“I don’t think you can judge that from Barbie not getting nominated,” Schiff said in response.

Maher also shared his takeaways from the film, which followed Ken and Barbie as they uncovered similar realizations about patriarchy when they left Barbieland for the Real World.

“I googled what the Mattel board really was. In the movie it’s 12 men, in real life it’s seven men and five women, so they were caught lying in their own movie,” he said. “I remember I saw it [the movie] in the theater and I liked it, it’s entertaining, but at one point, the Barbies have to like, win back the Kens and they do it by acting helpless. And the woman I was with said, ‘I don’t know any woman today who would do that.'”

Robbie was nominated for an Oscar in the best picture category for her role as a producer on the movie, and Gerwig also received a nod for the best adapted screenplay category.

The other guest on the latest episode of Real Time was Stephen A. Smith.

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