It looks like Rachel Zegler, who plays Maria in Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’, is going to the Oscars.
She’s been invited to host the Oscars, and Disney is working to rearrange the production schedule of its current project, a live-action version of “Snow White,” to accommodate it, according to two informed people. † 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 about gives a glimpse of how the Hollywood gears can sometimes grind.
It started on Sunday, when Zegler, 20, posted a photo of herself in a blue dress on Instagram. One follower commented, “Can’t wait to see what you’ll be wearing to Oscar night.”
Zegler replied that she had not received an invitation to the ceremony, where ‘West Side Story’ takes home seven awards. The ceremony will air 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 my friend’s sweatpants and flannel.”
She added that she would be supporting the film from her couch. “I hope a last minute miracle happens and I can celebrate our film in person,” she wrote, “but hey, that’s how it goes sometimes I guess.”
The challenge is much more than invitations. Zegler films “Snow White” in London, and in order to get her to the Oscars and back, Disney must adjust the schedules for hundreds of cast and crew members. Already on a tight schedule due to delays related to the coronavirus pandemic, the film is a $200 million production.
An academy spokeswoman, who later on Wednesday confirmed Zegler’s addition to the presenter’s lineup, declined to comment. A Zegler representative did not respond to a request for comment.
Word that Zegler was not invited to the ceremony drew a quick kickback from her followers and others on social media, including Russ Tamblynwho 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 nomination for best picture 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 was not nominated for an Oscar, won a Golden Globe for her role.
Vimal Patel reporting contributed.