West News Wire: “West Side Story,” directed by Steven Spielberg, has seven Academy Award nominations, including best film, director, and supporting actress for Ariana DeBose. However, the star of the film musical will not be present at the ceremony on Sunday.

Rachel Zegler, who plays Maria, stated on Facebook on Sunday that she tried to go but “it doesn’t appear to be happening” and that she will be watching “West Side Story” from her couch.

“I’m hoping for a last-minute miracle so I can see our movie in person, but hey, that’s how things go sometimes,” Zegler said on Instagram. “Thank you for the fury and shock I’m upset, too.” But that’s all right. “I’m so proud of our film.”

The post drew a lot of attention online as many couldn’t fathom why the lead of a best picture nominee wouldn’t have been invited to the ceremony or at least been asked to present an award.

Best picture nominees are allotted a certain number of tickets by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which the film’s studio then doles out as they see fit. Presenters and individual nominees get a pair of tickets. And other spots in the room go to the broadcaster, sponsors and academy members, who can enter a lottery.

Zegler is not nominated, but to only make things more vexing, her next big role is as Snow White, which she is currently filming in London. Others saw it as a missed opportunity to have a rising young Latina star represented at the show. Disney and Academy representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

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Russ Tamblyn, who played Riff in the 1961 “West Side Story” and is a voting member of the Academy, tweeted that it was the Academy’s, “duty to find Rachel a seat at the Oscars. When they say representation matters, this is what that means. Please do right by her.”

Alec Baldwin tweeted that he would buy Zegler two tickets to the show.

Oscars tickets are always hot commodities and this year are even more limited than usual because of efforts to maintain more space between guests to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Most academy members have never gotten to attend.

And the outrage has only intensified as more and more presenters with limited connections to the nominated movies or the movie business at all are announced. Rachel Zegler


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