As Gold Derby predicted, the 2020 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress went to … Laura Dern! The veteran actress already prevailed at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, SAG Awards and BAFTAs for her role as divorce attorney Nora Fanshaw in Netflix’s “Marriage Story.” Usually when someone takes home all four of those televised precursors, they have the Oscar in the bag. Dern’s co-nominees Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”), Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”), Florence Pugh (“Little Women”) and Kathy Bates (“Richard Jewell”) simply couldn’t catch up this awards season. Below, see four reasons why Dern just won the Oscar.
1. She was everywhere this year.
Sure, Dern may have officially been nominated for Noah Baumbach‘s “Marriage Story,” but don’t think for one second Oscars voters weren’t also giving her credit for her buzzed-about roles in “Little Women” and “Big Little Lies” when marking their ballots. Dern had the kind of year most actors only dream of, and that’s really saying something as Hollywood is notoriously cruel to actresses over 50 years old. During her Oscar speech, Dern gave a special shout-out to her children and her “heroes,” aka her parents Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd.
2. Netflix wouldn’t go home empty-handed.
The streaming service dominated the Oscar nominations with a leading 24 bids, up from 15 last year. However, Gold Derby’s odds had Netflix winning only one above-the-line race (Dern for Best Supporting Actress) and one below-the-line category (“American Factory” for Best Documentary Feature). If Dern didn’t prevail, that meant Netflix would have been completely shut-out in the main categories, and that just wasn’t an option considering the streaming service’s powerful campaign team.
3. That monologue.
If you saw “Marriage Story,” you know what I’m referring to. There’s a monologue toward the end of the movie in which Dern’s divorce attorney speechifies about the double standard of mothers vs. fathers in the workplace. “As a woman, as an actor, to read this one particular monologue that Noah wrote for my character was like Christmas morning,” Dern had said about the now-viral scene. It’s the kind of moment that makes Oscars voters really sit up and pay attention because, hey, maybe a few of them actually wish it was them that got to deliver that speech.
4. She’s on the board of governors.
Specifically, she’s currently serving on the actors branch alongside Whoopi Goldberg and Alfred Molina. Academy members wouldn’t pass up this opportunity to reward one of their own, particularly someone as well-liked as Dern who’s a child of the industry. The last time Dern was up for an Oscar was “Wild” (2014), which she lost to Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”), who had steamrolled the supporting category all season long. Before that, Dern was nominated as a lead actress in “Rambling Rose” (1991), losing to Jodie Foster (“The Silence of the Lambs”).
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