14 women take home Oscar gold

Although the list of nominees for Best Director at the 2020 Oscars was entirely male, 14 women were awarded Oscar gold at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on February 9 at the Dolby Theatre. 

According to the Women’s Media Center, only 30 percent of all non-acting Oscar nominations went to women this year. Of the 186 total nominees in those categories, 56 were women. 

Among the women who won this year are:

  • Julia Reichert – Co-director for the Best Documentary American Factory
  • Renee Zellweger – Best Actress, Judy
  • Laura Dern – Best Supporting Actress “Marriage Story”
  • Jacqueline Durran – Best Costume Design, Little Women
  • Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva – Best Short Documentary, Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re a Girl)
  • Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker – Best MakeUp and Hairstyling, Bombshell
  • Hildur Guðnadóttir – Best Original Score, Joker
  • Kwak Sin-ae – Producer for Best Picture, Parasite
  • Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh – Best Production Design, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Karen Rupert Toliver – Co-director for Best Short Film, Hair Love
  • Han Jin Won – Co-writer Best Original Screenplay, Parasite

Nikoleta Morales, representing FF2 Media, was backstage at the Oscars and had a chance to talk to three of the women who won – Julia Reichert, Hildur Guðnadóttir and Renee Zellweger.

Julia Reichert:

My question is for you, Julia. You are the second female filmmaker standing on this stage tonight, so congratulations, especially in the midst of what’s happening with the Oscars and Golden Globes and so forth. So what message would you like to send out there to other female filmmakers, and what can we do to help support them so more of them can be on the stage holding an Oscar?

Julia Reichert: Sisterhood, which is another way of saying solidarity, which is another way of saying support each other. I mean, how did — when I first came to the Oscars in 1977, it was a sea of white men. Just a sea of white men in the press corps, all those photographers. It’s getting better. Now, how did that happen? It’s not by individual women.  It’s because we started realizing we got to work together, I believe, right? Right? We got to support each other and not fit into the patriarchy, like, not fit into the boys’ club. So what I would say? We don’t have to do it the way the boys have done it. We can do it the way women want it done, whatever it is, and sisterhood. 

Hildur Guðnadóttir (first woman to win for Best Original Score) :

Congratulations for the win. I have to say I loved the JOKER so much, and part of it was because of the music, it was extremely emotional. I cried a lot watching, so I have to say that. So tell me, what was your inspiration behind creating that amazing music and then matching it with the emotions for the film. Did you go through personal emotions that you put into your music or what’s the secret, I guess? Something that we don’t know that you can share with us. Thank you.

Well, I think, for every story, you just have to try to dive into it and try to find what it is that carries the story and try to really channel how the story wants to be heard, and in this case it was the story of this one man who is going through this excruciating journey, and that I just tried to, as I could, to imagine being inside his head and then tried to imagine what that would sound like, and that was — that was my main inspiration.

Renee Zellweger

I loved you in Judy.  I have to say that it’s, I mean, an absolutely amazing performance and amazing film. So, basically, you became an extension of Judy [Garland] in the film. It’s almost like she transcended with you in the film.  And what I want to know is, how did you connect? What was it about Judy that connected you so closely by so in heart that you basically became her? I know you’ve done a lot of research, but was there anything else that you felt very close to with her that you were able to deliver such an incredible performance and become her, essentially?

That’s really kind.  Thank you very much. I appreciate that. You know, I can’t think about it. I can’t extract myself from the collaboration. The only things that I would do by myself are sing in the car on the 405 in traffic, you know, for a year. So that was a lot of practice for anybody who’s tried to drive down the 405.  But — and, you know, the reading and things, that was by myself. But what you’re talking about, that connectivity, that was a consequence of everybody’s work on that set. Everybody was motivated by the same thing. We just appreciate the importance of her legacy and who she was as a person and we all wanted to celebrate her. And everyday we came to work and we just tried things, we just kept trying things. And the director, Rupert Goold, called it “mining for treasure.” We were all digging around in sort of the materials of her legacy, her music, her books, interviews, her television show. You know, just everything that we could find that seemed essential in conjuring her essence to tell the story.  And that was everybody’s work, you know. And it was, you know, the partnership with every single department throughout. And it really was a celebration. We just came to work every day. You could feel the love, the love for Ms. Garland, and that was what we had hoped, so — And I thank you for your question.

****

Other female filmmakers gave great sound bytes, like director Carol Dysinger, “You have to really make sure that you’re the right person to tell the story. You know, it’s very common that you read a New Yorker article and say, ‘Oh, my God, that was so cool, that was amazing, let’s make a movie.’ But why are you the one to tell it? Because nowadays, you know, with cutting documentaries and how so much you can replicate your own misjudgment in the way you present the material, if you are not willing to put in the time to figure out where your blind spots are and how to close them.”

Director Karen Rupert Toliver, too, said she is “blessed to be in the entertainment industry…when we see these stories like the wrestler or DeAndre, you realize that we can use the media to actually kind of empower others and just give voice to that. So hopefully we can make social change.”

We can only hope that with such powerful women and performances next year will be a breakthrough for female filmmakers at the 93rd Academy Awards. 

© Nikoleta Morales (2/18/20) FF2 Media

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