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Oliver Stone apologises for ‘ignorant’ Barbie remarks about Ryan Gosling

Oliver Stone has apologised for “speaking ignorantly” while discussing Greta Gerwig’s box office blockbuster Barbie and lead man Ryan Gosling in a resurfaced interview.

The Natural Born Killers filmmaker, 77, said Gosling is “wasting his time” making movies like Barbie instead of “more serious films” in an interview published weeks before its release.

After his interview with CityAM began circulating online on Monday (22 Jan), Stone issued a statement clarifying he hadn’t watched Barbie when he commented on the film starring Margot Robbie in the titular role.

In a statement shared on X/Twitter, he said he was “very disappointed” that “out of context” and “sensationalist” headlines had been taken from the original story, adding he “appreciated the film for its originality and themes” when he watched the Oscar-nominated movie.

“I was able to see Barbie in a theatre back in July and appreciated the film for its originality and its themes,” Stone’s message read. “I found the filmmaker’s approach certainly different than what I expected. I apologise for speaking ignorantly.

He added that Gerwig’s 2017 film Lady Bird “was one of my favourites of that year” and noted how Barbie’s staggering success “greatly boosted the morale of our business”.

Robbie and Gosling as Barbie and Ken in Gerwig’s box office blockbuster (AP)
Robbie and Gosling as Barbie and Ken in Gerwig’s box office blockbuster (AP)

Barbie smashed multiple box office records after it earned $1.38bn (approximately £1.18bn) from global ticket sales, including becoming the highest-grossing film in Warner Bros’s 100-year history as well as the highest-grossing film ever from a female filmmaker at the US box office.

It was also the largest worldwide film release of 2023.

Stone ended his statement by wishing the team behind Barbie “good fortune at the Oscars” ahead of the Academy Award nominations being announced on Tuesday (22 January).

Gerwig’s feminist reimagination of the iconic Mattel doll, and her place in the world, along with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer are expected to dominate the Oscar nominations.

Barbie stands to receive nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, as well as acting nods for Gosling and potentially Robbie, and Best Song for “What Was I Made For” and “I’m Just Ken”.

Though the script by Gerwig and husband Noah Baumbach was campaigned for as original, the Academy is counting it in the adapted category.

Meanwhile, Nolan’s three-hour opus about the father of the atomic bomb comes in as favourite for Best Picture, Best Director as well as host of other awards. Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr and Emily Blunt will likely earn acting nominations and the film’s crafts should be richly rewarded in the technical categories.

Nominations for the 96th Academy Awards will be announced at 8.30am EST from the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, by Zazie Beetz and Jack Quaid.

They’ll be live-streamed on Oscars.com, Oscars.org and the academy’s social media platforms, and carried live on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Follow our live blog for all the latest updates and the nominations in full here.

Additional reporting on wires