Filmmaker Oliver Stone has apologized for remarks he made last summer about Barbie before even seeing the movie.
In late June, Stone suggested that Barbie was contributing to the “infantilization of Hollywood” during an interview with City A.M. several weeks before Barbie unfurled in theaters and became a cultural phenomenon. Directed by Greta Gerwig, the Warner Bros. event film starred Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling and earned more than $1.4 billion globally
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“Ryan Gosling is wasting his time if he’s doing that shit for money,” Stone said during the interview. “He should be doing more serious films. He shouldn’t be a part of this infantilization of Hollywood. Now it’s all fantasy, fantasy, fantasy, including all the war pictures: fantasy, fantasy.”
In Monday night’s apology, which he shared in a post on X, Stone said he later saw Barbie and appreciated the film for its originality and themes. “I found the filmmakers’ approach certainly different than what I expected,” Stone said. “I apologize for speaking ignorantly.”
Stone — who praised Gerwig for her 2017 film Lady Bird — also noted Barbie‘s impact on the film business. “Barbie’s box office greatly boosted the morale of our business, which was welcome. I wish Greta and the entire Barbie team good fortune at the Oscars,” he wrote in the post.
Barbie picked up eight Oscar nominations, including landing a coveted spot in the best picture race, and supporting actor and actress nods for Gosling and American Ferrera, respectively.
However, Gerwig was shut out of the race for best director, while Margot Robbie was shut out of the best actress race. The snubs resulted in an immediate backlash on social media.
“What happened? The directors branch has long been among the Academy’s oldest and most male (it’s currently 80 percent male), which could have been a contributing factor regarding the omission of Gerwig, whose first three films — Lady Bird, Little Women and Barbie — have all been nominated for best picture (something that is unprecedented), but who has only once been nominated for best director (for Lady Bird),” wrote THR‘s executive awards editor Scott Feinberg in analyzing Tuesday’s noms. “But, with both Gerwig and Robbie, I think another factor may have been deeply ingrained views of what an ‘Oscar movie’ is (‘gravitas’) and is not (some Academy members have dismissed Barbie as ‘a movie about a toy’), which have been overcome by some recent films (e.g. Parasite and Everything Everywhere All at Once) but are still widely held.”
Stone’s June remarks about Barbie resurfaced in recent days in the Hollywood trade publication Deadline. In Monday night’s post, Stone chided the publication for taking his June 2023 comments out of context and sensationalizing them, but didn’t elaborate.
In the same City A.M. interview, Stone was also critical of the John Wick and the Fast & Furious franchises during a discussion about the Hollywood landscape. “On the plane I watched John Wick, which is three hours and some. And I fell asleep about 778 times during it,” he said. “I kept waking up and having to face him killing more people. It’s like the world has degenerated into non-logic.”
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