Written by William Ridley, Diversions Editor
While debating whether it would be impactful for me to write a review of the 92nd Academy Awards or if absolutely no one would care, I decided to narrow down my focus and celebrate first-time Oscar winner: Laura Dern. We all know her as Dr. Ellie Sattler in Jurassic Park, Miss Riley in October Sky, Frannie Lancaster in The Fault in Our Stars, or Bobbi Lambrecht in Wild. Now, after 40 years of acting, she is making a comeback in more recent films like Star Wars: The Last Jedi as the purple-haired Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, Marriage Story as Nora Fanshaw, and Little Women as Marmee March. But regardless of where you know her from and how long you have been a fan, Dern has undoubtedly established herself as a versatile and exceptional actress. Her role in Marriage Story snagged her a third Oscar nomination and the first win of her career for Best Supporting Actress. Previously, Dern had been nominated for Best Actress in Rambling Rose and Best Supporting Actress in Wild. This win was the perfect gift for Dern, whose birthday fell on the Monday following this year’s Academy Awards.
However, perhaps an even greater surprise for Dern’s birthday occurred one night prior to the Academy Awards at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California. Host Aubrey Plaza shared about the importance of LGBTQ+ representation in film. In addition to the queer films that were nominated, she highlighted what she called “some of the gayest moments in other films that you may not have realized were gay.” Accompanied by a performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) was a video montage featuring iconic queer moments from film in the last year. Jennifer Lopez pole dancing in Hustlers, Renée Zellweger’s press tour, and the women of Parasite eating ram-don were some of the most memorable shoutouts to me. Halfway through the song, the lyrics began mentioning only the gayest moments of Laura Dern, both in Marriage Story and throughout her entire career.
Among these was Dern taking off her shoes, ordering a kale salad, sporting slutty attire in court, and “just all of Laura Dern.” It did not take long before Dern and the rest of the audience realized that this was no small tribute but truly an entire production dedicated to her and her success in film resonating with the LGBTQ+ community. And of course, she was loving the attention. Altogether, the song, the montage, (oh and the Oscar that she won a night later hopefully made for a birthday weekend that Laura Dern will never forget.
I encourage all of you to check out the performance by the GMCLA at the 2020 Spirit Awards so that you might be given some context as to why this was so worth writing about. Also, just go watch some Laura Dern. Please. Do it.