Nancy Meyers, Lisa Cholodenko, Nisha Ganatra and Martha Coolidge came out to Culina at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills on Thursday afternoon for a Women in Film luncheon in honor of Lina Wertmüller, the legendary Italian director who was the first woman nominated for an Oscar for best director in 1977 for “Seven Beauties.”
Now 91, Wertmüller is in Los Angeles to receive an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards on Sunday. “The honor is long overdue — 42 years in the making,” said WIF’s Amy Baer.
“Seven Beauties” was Wertmüller’s 10th film. “Her directing career encompasses two dozen features, a remarkable feat for any director,” Baer said. “Imagine the fortitude, confidence, and perseverance required for a woman director to get that many films made over four decades. Largely outside of today’s traditional studio systems. It’s remarkable and an inspiration to all women in the screen industries.”
Pascal Vicedomini, founder of Italian film festival Carpi, Hollywood, told Variety he first approached the Academy four years ago about honoring Wertmüller with letters of support from Sophia Loren, Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford, among others. “When you look at the films that Lina directed, and what she went through to get them made, and what women in film still go through to get them made and even some men in film go through to get them made, it is miraculous,” said producer Mark Canton.
Wertmüller held court at a table in the restaurant’s patio. As her daughter Maria Job served as her translator, Cholodenko as well as Diane Warren asked for selfies.
In addition to the honorary Oscar, Wertmüller will also receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Oct. 28. Later that evening, she will be celebrated by Genoma Films, the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West and Sardegna Film Commission at a gala dinner at restaurant N. 10.