West Side Story actress Rachel Zegler gets Oscars invitation after outcry

West Side Story actress Rachel Zegler will attend the Oscars after all, following an outcry when she revealed she had not been invited.

Zegler plays Maria in Steven Spielberg’s new adaptation of the hit musical, which is nominated for seven prizes at Sunday’s Academy Awards.

Earlier this week, she said she would watch the ceremony on TV in “sweatpants and my boyfriend’s flannel”.

But has now been added to the final list of stars who will present awards.

“The absolutely incredible team at @Disney and our Snow White producers worked some real-life magic, and I am thrilled to be able to celebrate my @westsidemovie fam at the Oscars,” she wrote on Twitter.

The 20-year-old is currently shooting Disney’s new live action Snow White film in the UK.

“It’s not lost on me that being able to shoot a film the scale of Snow White during Covid is not easy, and any adjustment to our schedule is no small sacrifice,” Zegler said.

She thanked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who organise the Oscars, and this year’s ceremony producer Will Packer.

“I’m so excited to open that shiny envelope,” she said. “I could not be more grateful to everyone who helped make this possible. seriously. Now, what to wear…”

The actress originally revealed she had not been invited to the glittering Hollywood show in response to a social media user who asked what she was planning to wear.

Russ Tamblyn, who played Riff in the original 1961 film, was among those who called on the Academy to reconsider, saying it was “your duty to find Rachel a seat at the Oscars”.

He wrote: “She STARS in #Westsidestory which is nominated across the board. When they say representation matters, this is what that means. Please do right by her.”

Zegler is not nominated personally, but her co-star Ariana DeBose, who plays Anita, is favourite to win best supporting actress, while the film’s other nominations include best picture.

The latest additions to the award presenter line-up also include tennis legends Serena Williams and Venus Williams, whose story is told in another best picture nominee, King Richard.

They will be joined by Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin and Eurphoria’s Jacob Elordi.

Previously announced presenters include Sir Anthony Hopkins, Samuel L Jackson, Lily James, Daniel Kaluuya, Zoë Kravitz, Mila Kunis, Lady Gaga, Rami Malek, Lupita Nyong’o, Elliot Page, Uma Thurman and John Travolta.

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