Rachel Zegler, ‘West Side Story’ Star, Is Invited to the Oscars After All

It looks as if Rachel Zegler, who plays Maria in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” is going to the Oscars.

She has been invited to be a presenter at the Oscars, and Disney is working to rearrange the production schedule on her current project, a live-action version of “Snow White,” to make it happen, according to two people briefed on the matter. They spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid a conflict with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hosts the Oscars.

How the arrangement came together provides a glimpse into how the Hollywood gears can sometimes grind.

It started on Sunday, when Zegler, 20, posted a photo of herself in a blue gown on Instagram. A follower commented, “Can’t wait to see what you’ll be wearing on Oscar night.”

Zegler replied that she had not received an invitation to the ceremony, during which “West Side Story” is up for seven awards. The ceremony will be broadcast this Sunday on ABC from Los Angeles. ABC is owned by Disney, which released the film last year.

“I’m not invited,” she wrote, “so sweatpants and my boyfriend’s flannel.”

She added that she would support the film from her couch. “I hope some last minute miracle occurs and I can celebrate our film in person,” she wrote, “but hey, that’s how it goes sometimes, I guess.”

The challenge involves much more than invitations. Zegler is filming “Snow White” in London, and getting her to the Oscars and back will require Disney to rework schedules for hundreds of cast and crew members. The film, already on a tight schedule because of delays related to the coronavirus pandemic, is a $200 million production.

A spokeswoman for the academy declined to comment on Wednesday. A representative for Zegler did not respond to a request for comment.

Word that Zegler had not been invited to the ceremony drew a swift backlash from her followers and others on social media, including Russ Tamblyn, who played Riff, the leader of the Jets street gang, in the original “West Side Story” in 1961. They wondered why a lead actress in a film that had received a best picture nomination would not be invited to the ceremony.

The film’s Oscar nominations include best picture, best director for Spielberg and best supporting actress for Ariana DeBose. Zegler, who is not nominated for an Oscar, won a Golden Globe for her role.

Vimal Patel contributed reporting.


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