‘Barbie the Album’ Dominates 2024 Grammy Awards Nominations

Barbie’s cultural chokehold has reached the Recording Academy. Greta Gerwig’s summer blockbuster, which brought in over $100 million, was an ode to girlhood that understood the fundamental function music plays in our collective and individual existential crises. When Hollywood’s award season begins in a few weeks, Barbie is certain to be a frontrunner across categories and ceremonies — and its music has already drenched the 2024 Grammy Awards nominations in its unmistakable shade of pink with a grand total of 11 nods across seven categories.

Of the five entries nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media, four appeared on the official movie soundtrack Barbie the Album. Billie Eilish’s heart-rending ballad “What Was I Made For” will compete against Dua Lipa’s hedonistic disco dream “Dance the Night,” Ryan Gosling’s deeply unserious “I’m Just Ken,” and Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice’s Aqua-sampling “Barbie World.” Their only non-Barbie competitor is Rihanna, who is nominated for an entry from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

As the record’s leading pop heavy-hitters, Lipa and Eilish have brought Barbie into two of the ceremony’s most coveted Big Four categories. “What Was I Made For” has been nominated for Record of the Year as well as “Song of the Year,” where “Dance the Night” has also been recognized. The latter award is presented to songwriters, which include Eilish with Finneas and Lipa with Carolina Ailin, Andrew Wyatt, and Mark Ronson

Ronson and Wyatt composed an original score for the movie, up for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. Ronson also served as executive producer for the soundtrack, which was recognized in the Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media category. “I don’t read a lot of scripts, but it was just everything I want in a movie. I was like, ‘If I don’t get this gig, this is gonna be my favorite movie of the year,’” Ronson told Rolling Stone earlier this year. Alongside Gerwig, the producer curated Barbie the Album with a quite literal “reach for the stars” attitude. 

Ronson oversaw recordings on the record from Sam Smith, Lizzo, Charli XCX, Haim, the Kid Laroi, PinkPantheress, Karol G, Tame Impala, Dominic Fike, Fifty Fifty, and more. “Everybody would watch the scene and come back a week or two weeks later, and got exactly to the heart of everything we were trying to do,” he added. Despite his overwhelming presence among the credits of the nominations, Ronson was shut out of the Producer of the Year category. He was last nominated for the non-classical award in 2008. 

Barbie dripped down to the individual genre categories, too. Eilish earned her fourth career nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance with “What Was I Made For.” The singer’s accompanying self-directed visual, in which torrential downpour and indoor windstorms wreck the innocence of her Barbie playtime, is nominated for Best Music Video. “To be real with you, this all seemed to happen in a time when I really needed it,” Eilish said when it was released. “I’m so so thankful for that. This video makes me cry.”

Elsewhere, in the rap category, Nicki Minaj has earned her first Grammy Award nomination since 2016 for “Barbie World.” The hip-hop vet was joined on the record by Ice Spice, who is up for four awards, including Best New Artist. Despite being a newcomer, Ice Spice is sharing two of her first-ever Grammy Awards nominations with Aqua, the Danish-Norwegian Europop band whose single “Barbie Girl” serves as the basis for “Barbie World.” The group has released three albums since 1997 and has never been nominated for a Grammy Award. 


While building the world of Barbie, Gerwig was inspired by Frank Marshall’s Bee Gees documentary, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart. “I remember watching that at a moment when I was sort of thinking about the psychological state of Barbie and how to explain it,” the director told Rolling Stone earlier this year. In the documentary, Marshall laid out the contrast between people who loved and lost themselves in the sound of disco — and the people who thought it was the worst thing to ever happen to music. Essentially, it mirrored her exact framing of Barbie.

“The sort of positivity of disco felt very Barbie to me, because disco’s assumption about humans is that what they want to do when they get together is dance. What an optimistic idea of what humans want to do together,” Gerwig added. “And it also related to the idea that Barbie is synthetic, and the idea of looped drums that had something synthetic, but it was handmade. It felt like all those things seemed connected to each other, the plasticity and the human emotion.”

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