“People were upset and I was not expecting it so it’s very wonderful to be here,” Zegler told Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet ahead of the March 27 ceremony. “I’m really thankful to the Academy for asking me to present and everyone at ‘Snow White’ who was able to just let me get on a plane.”
Zegler previously joked in an Instagram post that she would be wearing sweatpants and her boyfriend’s flannel shirt on Oscars night since she was not invited to the ceremony, despite “West Side Story” being nominated in seven categories including Best Picture.
Zegler clarified at the time, “IDK y’all I have tried it all but it doesn’t seem to be happening. I will root for ‘West Side Story’ from my couch and be proud of the work we so tirelessly did 3 years ago. I hope some last-minute miracle occurs and I can celebrate our film in person but hey, that’s how it goes sometimes, I guess. Thanks for all the shock and outrage — I’m disappointed, too. But that’s OK. So proud of our movie.”
The news that Zegler was not initially invited to the ceremony drew social media backlash. Original “West Side Story” actor Russ Tamblyn, who played Riff in the 1961 big screen adaption, tweeted that it is the Academy’s “duty” to invite Zegler.
“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,” Tamblyn wrote.
Zegler is currently filming Disney’s “Snow White” in London, but the production schedule had been shifted to accommodate Zegler’s Oscar appearance as a presenter.
“I’ll be honest, I don’t know and I don’t wanna know,” Zegler continued in the ET interview about how she was later invited to the awards show. “I kind of just let it all, the chips go where they did because I was really overwhelmed with the response to it because it was a comment I made on my own Instagram post. You don’t really expect that to make the news the next day, and it was just a statement, but we’re here, we’re happy, we’re really thankful.”
Zegler co-presented the award for Best Visual Effects alongside “Euphoria” and “Deep Water” star Jacob Elordi. During the ceremony, Zegler quipped, “I never thought I would be here…six days ago. Dreams do come true. Pretty fast, in fact.”
“West Side Story” won Best Supporting Actress category for Ariana DeBose.