What a year it’s been for Laura Dern. She’s in two Oscar-nominated movies: as the kind-hearted mother of the March sisters in “Little Women”; and as a razor-sharp divorce lawyer in “Marriage Story.” She’s kind of fierce, but it’s the kind of fierce that makes award voters take notice.
Dern won a Golden Globe for “Marriage Story” earlier this month, and this past Monday she was nominated for an Oscar.
Correspondent Tracy Smith asked, “So, you’ve gotten accolades for your work before through the years, steadily. But it seems like there’s something about this moment that is rather intense. Does it feel that way to you?”
“It’s certainly exciting,” Dern replied.
And a lot of that excitement is about her monologue on motherhood, written by “Marriage Story” director Noah Baumbach:
“We can accept an imperfect Dad. Let’s face it, the idea of a good father was only invented like 30 years ago. Before that fathers were expected to be silent and absent and unreliable and selfish, and we can all say that we want them to be different, but on some basic level we accept them. We love them for their fallibilities. But people absolutely don’t accept those same failings in mothers. We don’t accept it structurally, and we don’t accept it spiritually, because the basis of our Judeo-Christian Whatever is Mary, Mother of Jesus and she’s PERFECT. She’s a virgin who gives birth, unwaveringly supports her child, and holds his dead body when he’s gone. But the Dad isn’t there!'”
Smith asked, “I’m curious what you thought when you first read those words.”
“I read the script, and I called Noah and got his voicemail and cried into his machine for about 10 minutes,” Dern said. “And when I read the monologue and called him, I said, ‘This is the greatest Christmas present I’ve ever received.'”
Dern even added a line of her own: “We added a little more of a zinger, which really makes me laugh, that I don’t even think I can say. ‘God didn’t even do the f*****g, which I know cannot be on ‘CBS Sunday Morning’! ‘Cause it’s CBS, and it’s Sunday morning!”
It’s worth noting that some of these scenes were shot in an actual law office. In fact, it was where Dern met with her own lawyer when she filed for divorce from musician Ben Harper.
For Dern, it seems Hollywood and real-life have often been intertwined, ever since the very beginning.
If you’re a real fan of biker movies, you might remember the 1966 film “The Wild Angels” – and two of the wildest angels were Bruce Dern and his blonde girlfriend Diane Ladd. Seems they were pretty close off-camera, too. Around nine months after filming wrapped, Dern and Ladd had another premiere.
“You were literally conceived on a movie set?” asked Smith.
“Yes. True. One hundred percent true,” Dern said. “Even better, on a Roger Corman biker movie. I feel very proud of that!”
Smith met Dern at the Motion Picture Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills, where they keep more than 12 million photos – and a few things not even she’s ever seen, like her birth announcement: “Actor Bruce Dern and wife, actress Diane Ladd, are parents of daughter born Febr. 10.”
“No! Oh my God, that’s so beautiful!” she exclaimed.
Having Hollywood parents helped, a little at least: In 1974, when Diane Ladd was shooting “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” Laura landed a cameo, sitting at the diner counter with an ice cream cone.
And she was her mom’s date to the 1975 Oscars. Looking at photos, Dern said, “I’m probably six or seven, and I look terrified!”
A few years later, she was in movies of her own. Still, Dern said she planned on getting a college degree. But Hollywood intervened.
She went to UCLA for two days (“Which I loved”), but just then she was offered a big role in director David Lynch’s landmark film, “Blue Velvet.” She asked the school if she could take a leave of absence, and was turned down.
“They kind of disparaged the movie, too, didn’t they?” asked Smith.
“Yes. Like, ‘This is crazy to go do this radical, kind of insane project and give up your college career,'” Dern recalled. “They’re like, ‘It’s one movie. You can wait ’til you get out of college.’ But I knew that it wasn’t just one movie.”
Watch Laura Dern and Kyle MacLachlan in “Blue Velvet”:
“Blue Velvet” made her a next-level star, and Lynch put her in other films, like 1990’s “Wild at Heart.”
She also found time to work with other directors, like Steven Spielberg, in “Jurassic Park.”
Seems whatever role she played, she was always pushing boundaries, like in 1997, when she played the gay friend that Ellen Degeneres came out to on her sitcom. Dern helped make history – but she paid a price. She didn’t work for a year after that.
“I didn’t. And it was a crazy time,” she said. “It was, in a way, the most successful time of my career; ‘Jurassic Park’ had just come out, so it was a great time, and then a very still moment.”
“And then nothing?”
Her career came back, of course, and with a vengeance. Dern won an Emmy for her role in HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” as a woman whose husband loses all of her money.
Watch Laura Dern and Jeffrey Nordling in “Big Little Lies” (Caution: Language is not PG-rated):
And talk about range: she was also a “Star Wars” heroine on a suicide mission:
But that’s no surprise: After a lifetime spent walking right up to the edge, Laura Dern has somehow found balance there.
Smith asked, “What do you think of the term ‘the Dernaissance’?”
“I mean, it sounds fantastic,” she said. “I’m not sure what it is! It really is an amazing time of getting to do all of it seamlessly. And now, there really is a different kind of freedom. That’s why we take risks, right? And why we say yes to things, because you never know what beautiful gift is awaiting you when you do.”
Joker is the leading nominee for the 2020 Oscars having picked up 11 nominations in a year where only one black actor and no female directors were nominated.
The dark comic book tale Joker topped the Oscar nominations on Monday with Netflix’s The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and World War I odyssey 1917 following close behind after each scoring 10.
They were among the nine films nominated for best picture with the others including Parasite, Little Women, Marriage Story, Jojo Rabbit and Ford v Ferrari.
Much of the focus so far this award season has been on the lack of women and ethnic minority filmmakers honored.
Only one non-white actor, British star Cynthia Erivo, was nominated this year for her role as U.S. anti-slavery icon Harriet Tubman in Harriet.
The best director category this year was also male dominated for the 87th time with Greta Gerwig missing out for Little Women.
Issa Rae, who was announcing the Oscar nominees, had a dig at the Academy during the broadcast, saying ‘congratulations to those men’ after noticing Gerwig’s snub.
Joker is the leading nominee for the Academy Awards having picked up 11 nominations, including best actor (Joaquin Phoenix)
Netflix’s The Irishman picked up a number of Oscar nominations including best picture, best director and two for support actor: Al Pacino and Joe Pesci
LEADING OSCAR NOMINATIONS
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood: 10
While Joker was expected to do well, the academy’s overwhelming support for a movie that was far from a critical favorite was unexpected.
The much-debated supervillain origin story’s nominations included best actor for Joaquin Phoenix and best director for Todd Phillips, as well as adapted screenplay, film editing and sound editing.
Scarlett Johansson picked up her first ever nominations in both the best actress category for Marriage Story and best supporting actress for Jojo Rabbit. That feat hasn’t occurred since Cate Blanchett was nominated for both categories back in 2007.
Netflix picked up a whopping 24 nominations with the likes of The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Two Popes and documentary American Factory.
Among the glaring snubs was Jennifer Lopez who failed to pick up her first nomination for her role in Hustlers. Awkwafina also missed out despite winning a Golden Globe for The Farewell.
The nominees for best actress are: Cynthia Erivo in Harriet; Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story; Saoirse Ronan in Little Women; Charlize Theron in Bombshell; and Renée Zellweger in Judy.
The nominees for best actor are: Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory; Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood; Adam Driver in Marriage Story; Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes; and Joaquin Phoenix in Joker.
Noticeable absent from the best actor list was Taron Egerton who picked up the Golden Globe for playing Elton John in Rocketman. Christian Bale (Ford v. Ferrari), Robert DeNiro (The Irishman) and Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name) were also skipped over in the category.
In the best supporting actor category, Brad Pitt for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for The Irishman, Tom Hanks for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Anthony Hopkins for The Two Popes secured nominations.
The nominees for best supporting actress are: Kathy Bates in Richard Jewell; Laura Dern in Marriage Story; Scarlett Johansson in Jojo Rabbit; Florence Pugh in Little Women; and Margot Robbie in Bombshell.
Scarlett Johansson picked up her first ever nominations in both the best actress category for Marriage Story and best supporting actress for Jojo Rabbit (above)
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood picked up nominations in the major categories including best picture, best director, best actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and best supporting actor (Brad Pitt)
The Oscars picked only one non-white actor – British star Cynthia Erivo, who plays U.S. anti-slavery icon Harriet Tubman in Harriet
Charlize Theron (left) and Margot Robbie (right) picked up nominations for best actress and best supporting actress for Bombshell
The best director nominees are: Bong Joon Ho for Parasite; Sam Mendes for 1917; Todd Phillips for Joker; Martin Scorsese for The Irishman; and Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.
American Factory, the first release from Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, picked up a nomination in the documentary feature category. The ther nominees were The Cave, The Edge of Democracy, For Sama and Honeyland.
Social satire Parasite became the first South Korean movie to be nominated in both the best picture and best international film categories. Director Bong Joon Ho also received a nod for best director.
Disney blockbusters The Lion King and Frozen 2 were both omitted in the animated feature film category. Beyoncé also did not get noticed for her song Spirit on The Lion King soundtrack.
Lack of women and ethnic minority filmmakers honored
Issa Rae, who was announcing the nominations, threw shade at Academy for the all-male directors category saying ‘congratulation to all those men’
Much of the focus so far this award season has been on the lack of women and ethnic minority filmmakers honored.
Gerwig’s acclaimed Little Women adaptation was notably absent in several award nominations announcements despite being one of nine films nominated for the best picture Oscar.
US star Issa Rae, who was announcing the nominations, threw shade at the all-male directors category.
‘Congratulations to those men,’ she said after announcing the nominees, including Martin Scorsese, Todd Phillips, Sam Mendes, Quentin Tarantino and Bong Joon Ho.
Later in the broadcast, Issa also made a dig at the Academy for only nominating Gerwig in the Best Adapted Screenplay category despite the critical acclaim she has received for her take on the Louisa May Alcott classic.
‘They actually let Greta in there,’ she said.
‘Unfortunately there are just five nominees’ for best director in an ‘incredibly strong year,’ one Academy voter who asked not to be named said, pointing to the revered track records of the likes of Scorsese, Tarantino and Mendes.
Controversy over those omissions, in an industry criticized for its lack of diversity, was fueled at last week’s BAFTA nominations, which were also condemned for overlooking ethnic minorities.
The Oscars picked only one non-white actor – British star Cynthia Erivo, who plays U.S. anti-slavery icon Harriet Tubman in Harriet.
Notable snubs included Eddie Murphy for blaxploitation biopic Dolemite Is My Name, Jennifer Lopez for Hustlers, Awkwafina for The Farewell and Lupita Nyong’o for Us.
Last year, three of the four acting Oscars went to non-white performers.
The nominees for best actress are: Cynthia Erivo in Harriet; Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story; Saoirse Ronan in Little Women (left); Charlize Theron in Bombshell; and Renée Zellweger in Judy (right)
Both Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver were nominated for best actress and actor for the Netflix drama Marriage Story
South Korean class satire Parasite from Bong Joon-ho secured a spot in the best picture and best director slot
Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes (right) picked up a nomination for best actor while Sam Mendes’s World War I odyssey 1917 (left) picked up 10 nominations
Netflix lands 24 Oscar nominations in quest for best picture trophy
Streaming video service Netflix will have another chance to snatch the movie industry’s top prize from Hollywood’s traditional film studios after receiving 24 nominations.
Two Netflix movies, Mafia epic The Irishman and divorce drama Marriage Story scored nominations for the coveted best picture trophy.
The Silicon Valley giant, which reinvented television, will battle for Oscar glory against century-old Hollywood studios, including Comcast Corp’s Universal Pictures, AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros. and Sony Corp’s Columbia Pictures.
American Factory, the first release from Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, picked up a nomination for documentary feature
The companies behind the movies are expected to spend millions to court Oscar voters in the coming weeks on TV commercials, digital ads and special events with A-list celebrities in New York and Los Angeles.
Winning best picture would burnish Netflix’s reputation in the film business and give it new bragging rights in the increasingly competitive fight for streaming video viewers. The company began releasing original movies in 2015 and has been trying to build a library of prestige films alongside its dozens of comedies, thrillers and action flicks.
But the digital video pioneer has irked theater owners by insisting that its films stream at the same time, or a few weeks after, they debut in theaters. Major theater chains have objected to the timing and refused to show Netflix films. The practice also forced members of the film academy to debate how to define a movie.
Last year, Netflix’s Roma competed for best picture but did not win. The streaming giant received a total of 15 nominations in 2019.
During the recent Golden Globes, Netflix only secured one win: Laura Dern for best support actress in Marriage Story.
Nominations for The Irishman, which tells the story of the disappearance of labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, included best director for Martin Scorsese and supporting actor for Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.
Marriage Story stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, who play a show-business couple navigating a divorce and custody battle, received lead acting nominations.
Among Netflix’s other nominations, Klaus and I Lost My Body were named in the best animated feature category.
92nd Annual Academy Awards – the nominees in full
Cynthia Erivo – Harriet
Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
Charlize Theron – Bombshell
Renée Zellweger – Judy
Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Kathy Bates – Richard Jewell
Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit
Margot Robbie – Bombshell
Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes
Al Pacino – The Irishman
Joe Pesci – The Irishman
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho – Parasite
Sam Mendes – 1917
Todd Phillips – Joker
Martin Scorsese – The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
BEST SOUND EDITING
Ford V Ferrari – Donald Sylvester
Joker – Alan Robert Murray
1917 – Oliver Tarrney and Rachel Tate
One Upon as Time in Hollywood – Wylie Stateman
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker – Matthew Wood and David Acord
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away – Toy Story 4
I’m Gonna Love me Again – Rocketman
I’m Standing With You – Breakthrough
Into the Unknown – Frozen II
Stand Up – Harriet
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
In the Absence
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1917 – Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Knives Out – Rian Johnson
Marriage Story – Noah Baumbach
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino
Parasite – Bong Joon Ho & Jin Won Han
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Irishman – Steven Zaillian
Jojo Rabbit – Taika Waititi
Joker – Todd Phillips & Scott Silver
Little Women – Greta Gerwig
The Two Popes – Anthony McCarten
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE
Corpus Christi (Poland)
Honeyland (North Macedonia)
Les Miserables (France)
Pain and Glory (Spain)
Parasite (South Korea)
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
BEST FILM EDITING
Ford v Ferrari – Andrew Buckland & Michael McCusker