“West Side Story” actress Rachel Zegler revealed this weekend that she was not invited to the 94th Academy Awards, even though she played the lead role in the Oscar-nominated adaptation of the hit musical. The film, directed by Steven Spielberg, has been nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Costume Design, though Zegler was not nominated for her role.
Zegler announced the news in her Instagram comments Sunday, replying to a fan’s question about what she would wear on Oscar night. “I’m not invited, so sweatpants and my boyfriend’s flannel,” she wrote.
After several fans questioned the news, Zegler added another comment.
“Idk y’all, I have tried it all, but it doesn’t seem to be happening,” Zegler said. “I will root for ‘West Side Story’ from my couch and be proud of the work we so tirelessly did three years ago. 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. Thanks for all the shock and outrage – I’m disappointed too. But that’s okay. So proud of our movie.”
All nominees for an Oscar are automatically given an invite to the awards ceremony. The remaining tickets are given to film studios, which are allowed to distribute them as they see fit. Often, lead members of the cast are invited when a film is nominated for Best Picture.
Zegler has attended several red carpets and award shows celebrating the film. Most recently, she attended the 2022 EE British Academy Film Awards. She also won the 2022 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.
Zegler, who plays Maria in “West Side Story,” was chosen for the role after a nationwide open casting call in 2018, according to her profile on the Golden Globes’ website. She stars alongside Ansel Elgort, Mike Faist, and Ariana DeBose, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Anita.
20th Century Studios, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company, is the distributor for “West Side Story.” The Academy and multiple representatives for The Walt Disney Company did not respond to CBS News’ requests for comment.
After fans expressed their outrage over Zegler’s lack of invitation, Zegler posted a statement on Twitter.
“My goodness, folks!! appreciate all the support, i really really do,” she wrote. “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.”
The 2022 Oscars ceremony will take place at California’s Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 27, 2022.