Ava DuVernay‘s latest film “A Wrinkle in Time” entered the Oscar discussion in a unique way this week when Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel invited a bunch of celebs to crash a screening of the film next door to the Dolby Theatre. Three years ago DuVernay’s film “Selma” (2014) earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination but she was infamously snubbed, creating an outcry for more females and people of color to be recognized. Two years later her Netflix doc “13th” (2016) received a bid for Best Documentary Feature, so DuVernay officially became an Oscar-nominated filmmaker. Will Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” which will be released Friday, March 9, bring DuVernay back to the Oscars in 2019?
After focusing on such heavy projects as “Selma” and “13th,” DuVernay told Gold Derby’s Daniel Montgomery last year, “That’s why I’m glad that I get to make a movie now with things that fly and great costumes and just can kind of escape a little bit. I need a self-care moment.” Based on the 1962 novel by Madeleine L’Engle, “A Wrinkle in Time” is a genre-bending story about a young girl (Storm Reid) who’s on a journey to find her father (Chris Pine) after he disappears while discovering a new planet.
If DuVernay ends up being nominated for Best Director at the Oscars, she would only be the sixth woman in 91 years to achieve such a feat. Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) joined the list of female director nominees this year alongside Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” (2009), Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation” (2003), Jane Campion for “The Piano” (1993) and Lina Wertmuller for “Seven Beauties” (1976). Bigelow is the only woman to win Best Director.
“A Wrinkle in Time” is being heralded for its A-list cast including honorary Oscar recipient Oprah Winfrey and Best Actress Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”), as well as Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Pena, Zach Galifianakis, Andre Holland, Rowan Blanchard, David Oyelowo, Bellamy Young, Reid and Pine. Jennifer Lee adapted the screenplay from L’Engle’s novel, and Jim Whitaker and Catherine Hand are the producers.
DuVernay won two Emmys in 2017 — Best Documentary/Nonfiction Special and Best Writing for Nonfiction Programming — for “13th” after Netflix submitted the Oscar contender to the TV academy. She also earned a Golden Globe nomination as Best Director for “Selma” at the 2015 ceremony.