92nd Oscars Backstage Interview Transcript: ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

SPEECH BY: Laura Dern


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Q. Happy birthday.
A. Thank you. Thank you. Will you help me for a moment? I just want to say I was in complete shock. And I forgot to say thank you to my guides in my life: Peter Levine, Jason Weinberg, Annett Wolf, Kevin Evein, and my life-long acting teacher Sandra Seacat, who I've been with since I was 18 years old. And now I can have a great night because it's a little bit of heartbreak when you haven't thanked all the people who bring you here, you know. So thank you.

Q. Laura Dern, over here. I'm so happy for you.
A. Thank you so much.

Q. Congratulations in promoting your close friends down in Australia. I have to say, so your mom's been nominated for an Oscar, your dad's been nominated for Oscars, you've been nominated for Oscars before. You are such an incredible acting family. What does it mean to be finally holding that statute tonight?
A. Well, I went backstage, and people were telling me my mother was very moved, and that just makes me so happy to stand up and sing their praises. They literally got me here and artistically got me here as well. So it means the world. Thank you.

Q. A question from Bulgaria, congratulations.
A. Thank you.

Q. I am so happy for you. What an amazing season.
A. Thank you.

Q. My question is in such a divisive time culturally and politically, you mentioned about the gift of being able to talk about love through a story. What did you realize through MARRIAGE STORY that, perhaps, we should think about this year as a nation and just internationally as well?
A. I think if a couple through heartbreak and divisiveness can

come together to raise a child, then this country better get our act together. I think there is much to learn from the  story so beautifully told by Noah. And on a global level, as I mentioned, you know, we have a planet to save. So I pray we can all come together to focus on something that is not at all about politics. It's all about our home. Thank you.

Q. Over here.
A. Hello.

Q. I'm from UCLA's Daily Bruin. And I was wondering what advice you have for women who are looking to break into the film industry.
A. Oh, said so beautifully by the filmmakers of HOW TO SKATEBOARD, you have to use your voice in this life. You have to stay true to yourself whoever you are. As my fourth grade teacher advised me, the best advice I got, "Keep your eyes on your own paper." And in a social media heyday, to stay true to your own inner voice and not be too focused on the noise and to feel blessed when we get to do what we love in this life. Thank you.

Q. Addressing the elephant in the room, if you had a chance to nominate any female directors, who would you nominate?
A. If I could give this Oscar to Greta Gerwig, I would do it right now, and Lulu. I mean, there are so many beautiful films. I met the director of HONEY BOY yesterday at the Independent Spirit Awards. There are great films. I think that our lens should focus, perhaps, less on the lack of accolades and more on the less -- the less opportunity that there is, and even more so the lack of second chances given to female voices. And as the business and the people with the money give more and more opportunity to extraordinary and diverse voices and representing who we want to see reflected in film, which is ourselves, we are going to be in a lot different shape. And I share this with Noah and Greta as well, who I spent my year with in art and friendship and now doing press for both films. So I would love to also see her continually awarded for all her beautiful work.

Q. Hi Laura. Congratulations.
A. This is feeling like an auction kind of. I feel like a Barbie in an auction.

Q. Congratulations. This is very well earned. I'm wondering about -- on the note that you were just speaking about -- over here.
A. I don't know where you are.

Q. Yes, right here.
A. Oh, great, perfect. Thank you.

Q. I'm wondering on the note that you were just speaking about and considering Joaquin Phoenix's speech that he just gave at the BAFTAs encouraging everyone to actually look at what is happening systemically at these awards shows and in Hollywood in general, I'm wondering if you have any further thoughts about how the Oscars, how Hollywood as a whole, can be more intentionally inclusive when it comes to bringing about not just women but people of color as well?
A. As the journalist from UCLA just asked, you know, when we say, use our voice, we are talking about us, each other, in whatever industry we are in. We have power to say something. And when we don't see our culture reflected around us, we get to say something. And I think that's the biggest shift we've seen in the last couple of years is voices matter, and a community of voices rallying around the truth really matter in journalism, in this industry, and in many others.
So make sure that your crew and the storytelling reflects our global community. And if you're an actor on a movie or you're the filmmaker, you're the producer, you get to say something. If you're the DP, you get to say something about your camera crew. And that matters.

Q. Congrats on your win.
A. Thank you.

Q. In MARRIAGE STORY and in BIG LITTLE LIES, you play these characters who, you know, take no crap, won't be silenced, and are very confident in who they are. And I'm just wondering who are the women in your life that inspired you in these roles? And if you had a message to little girls out there who want to be in the position that you are right now, what would it be?
A. Well, I start with my mother, who she and my godmother, Shelley Winters, were massive influences on my life as an actor and activist, and be loud, be proud, stand by incredible sisters. You know, I have been blessed in this year to have extraordinary roles, and they said, "Wow, this year you're playing powerful women versus, you know, complicated, indigent addicts or some other reference a journalist said." And I said, "Because there are women in positions of power to play now. But five years ago, I probably wouldn't have gotten to play a leading divorce lawyer or a CEO of a major tech company because they weren't in those positions." So there are many more exciting roles to play, and the future generations are going to be the ones that lift us up and show us because they know it's their role, not because they are going to ask for permission. They're just going to do what they love, and bless them for showing us the way. Thank you all. I'm so excited to be here. Thank you.


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