The Oscars debate about Emma Stone and Lily Gladstone has turned ugly, but we need to have it.

You didn’t need to be in the room at the 2024 Academy Awards to be aware that, from the moment Emma Stone was named Best Actress, a narrative began to form around her win.

Whether it be the dissection of her winner’s reaction and the look of wary shock that passed across her face as she looked to her Poor Things cast mates for confirmation, or the conversation now bubbling away when it came to videos of Killers of the Flower Moon director Martin Scorsese seemingly comforting actress Lily Gladstone after the Best Actress category had passed, a story quickly locked into place.

Emma Stone had won Best Actress over Lily Gladstone, the night’s more ‘deserving’ winner, and many people were not happy about it.

Of course, you can project any narrative you choose onto something as emotional as an Oscar acceptance speech. So when Stone turned to Gladstone during her moment on stage and said, “Lily, I share this with you”, was there an undertone of apology there, as some suspect? Or just a strong camaraderie between two women who have just navigated the wild world of awards season side by side?

The stream of anger directed at Stone for her win can be traced back to the fact she and Gladstone have been neck and neck throughout most of the awards season, and the Best Actress category was really the only moment during Oscars night where true suspense and surprise were able to come into play.

Every other Oscar category seemingly already had a winner locked in before Jimmy Kimmel began his opening monologue. But after Gladstone won Best Actress at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for her performance in Killers of the Flower Moon — shortly after becoming the first Indigenous woman to win Best Actress in a Drama at the Golden Globes — and Stone took out Best Actress at The British Academy Film Awards for Poor Things, the Oscar win could have swung either way.