With her best-director Oscar nomination Tuesday, “Lady Bird” helmer Greta Gerwig became just the fifth woman to be recognized by the film Academy’s directors branch. She joined Lina Wertmüller (“Seven Beauties”), Jane Campion (“The Piano”), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”) and Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) in the unfortunately exclusive club.
The recognition comes on the heels of a nomination from the Directors Guild of America, where Gerwig became the ninth woman ever to receive a theatrical nomination.
On a recent episode of Variety‘s “Playback” podcast, Gerwig spoke about this moment for female filmmakers. “Between Patty Jenkins and Sofia Coppola and Maggie Betts and Kathryn Bigelow and Angelina Jolie — the number of women who are making really interesting films and the desire to shine a spotlight on them and us and women producers and directors and filmmakers and executives, that’s the thing I’m heartened by,” Gerwig said.
It’s impossible to know whether Gerwig’s nomination was sewn up before the Golden Globe Awards or not. But her friend and colleague Natalie Portman certainly made the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s boys-club directors slate an issue during this year’s Globes ceremony. That was right in the thick of Oscar balloting.
Portman recently interviewed Gerwig following an industry screening of the film, during which Gerwig noted the importance of female voices in developing her own.
“It sparked something in me and led to me going, ‘I need to do this,’” Gerwig said. “I think women tend to focus on stories that men don’t have the privilege of seeing.”
“Lady Bird” was also nominated for best picture, best actress (Saoirse Ronan), best supporting actress (Laurie Metcalf) and best original screenplay (making Gerwig a double nominee this year). The film is New York-based distributor — and reigning best picture champ — A24’s most successful release to date, pulling in close to $40 million domestically.
The other best director nominees this year were Paul Thomas Anderson (“Phantom Thread”), Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”), Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”) and Jordan Peele (“Get Out”).
The 90th annual Oscars will be held Sunday, March 4.