“Oh God, doesn’t this feel like bad karma?” asked “Lady Bird” writer-director Greta Gerwig when Ellen DeGeneres invited her to practice her Oscar acceptance speech on February 12 on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Gerwig didn’t want to tempt fate by trying out a speech on national television — Oscar voting doesn’t even start until February 22 — but DeGeneres assured her, “You’re actually manifesting it.” DeGeneres also agreed to whittle or macrame an Oscar for Gerwig just in case she’s jinxed by her premature speech, “so I guess I’m a winner either way.” But not two words into Gerwig’s speech DeGeneres started to play her off. Gerwig barely had time to thank the academy and her parents — she didn’t even get to Jesus. Watch above.
Gerwig is nominated twice this year: Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for her coming-of-age comedy about a teenage girl (Saoirse Ronan) in her last year of high school. She’s only the fifth woman in history nominated for directing. “It’s crazy that we don’t have as many women directing movies,” says DeGeneres. But Gerwig thinks this was an “amazing” year for standout women behind the camera, citing Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”), Dee Rees (“Mudbound”) and Sofia Coppola (“The Beguiled”) among those who distinguished themselves in 2017. So “when people want to make movies they have these examples now. It doesn’t feel like there are no women,” Gerwig explains. “I think it’s a good time to be a woman filmmaker.”
The first woman ever nominated for Best Director was Lina Wertmuller (“Seven Beauties,” 1976). She was followed by Jane Campion (“The Piano,” 1993), the aforementioned Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation,” 2003), Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker,” 2009) and now Gerwig. Bigelow is the only woman so far who has ever won.
But according to our latest predictions, Gerwig’s best shot at an Oscar is Best Original Screenplay, where she ranks a close third with 12/5 odds. She’s locked in a tight race against Writers Guild Award winner Jordan Peele (“Get Out“) and Golden Globe winner Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”). But regardless of the outcome with the Oscars, Gerwig might have a carved wooden version waiting for her on “Ellen.”
Be sure to check out how our experts rank Oscar contenders in all 24 categories. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see the other categories. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your Oscar winner predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4.