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24 January 2018

Greta Gerwig: When Kathryn Bigelow won best director ‘something was shifting inside of me’

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Representation matters.

Just ask Greta Gerwig, whose first film,Lady Bird, just scored a whopping five nominations, including best picture and director, making her the fifth woman to be nominated for directing. Ever.

“That’s one hand!” she says, totaling up female directors nominated in the Academy’s 90-year history.

“I remember when Kathryn Bigelow won and how much that meant to me,” Gerwig told USA TODAY by phone. “And when I was watching it and seeing her up there, I felt like something was shifting inside of me. And when Sofia (Coppola) was nominated for Lost in Translation and feeling like, ‘Yeah, I hope I get to do that.’ “

Hollywood’s gender disparity was highlighted at this year’s Golden Globes, when Gerwig was snubbed for best director and Natalie Portman introduced the category on stage by dryly stating: “Here are the all-male nominees.”

Gerwig, who previously starred in and co-wrote films like Mistress America and Frances Ha, says she hopes her nominations empower other women with filmmaking dreams.

“I get really teary every time I talk about it but … I really hope there are girls and women who watch this and see this and think, ‘I want to go make my movie!’ ” She collects herself. “I’m beside myself. I hope it inspires. Because I can tell you, it inspired me.”

The director slept fitfully last night but finally woke up around 6:30 a.m. in Los Angeles, after nominations came out. “And I thought, ‘Well, whatever it is, it’s happened. Make some coffee and then look at your phone.’ And the first thing I saw was Saoirse Ronan had sent a video of herself crying and screaming and laughing.”

Lady Bird practically saw a full sweep: Ronan and her onscreen mother Laurie Metcalf each scored nominations.

Gerwig says her acting career isn’t over, but directing is the groove she’s felt happiest in. (She’s got some upcoming projects “cooking.”) “I’m never going to stop acting, but I think now there’s no going back,” she says.

Now what? “I had made plans with (Lady Bird star) Beanie Feldstein to go get breakfast together. Because Saoirse’s in New York, Laurie’s in New York. I was like, ‘Beanie let’s make a plan, let’s go out for breakfast, no matter what happens.’ So I’m going to meet her.”


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