The third time was the charm for Laura Dern. The daughter of Hollywood royalty Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern, the younger Dern won the 2020 Oscar in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role as the decidedly West Side LA lawyer Nora Fanshaw in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story.” She became the first actor from a Netflix film to win an Academy Award.
Dern earned her first nomination in the Best Actress category in 1992 for Martha Coolidge’s period drama “Rambling Rose.” That Oscar went to “Silence of the Lamb’s” Jodie Foster. Her second nomination occurred in 2015 when she earned a Best Supporting Actress nod for her role in Jean-Marc Vallée’s “Wild.” She reunited with Vallée for her first Emmy win in 2017 for “Big Little Lies.”
Dern was expected to face stiff competition from “Hustler’s” Jennifer Lopez despite winning the Golden Globe and SAG Award in head to head competition. After Lopez was snubbed by the Academy Dern sailed to both BAFTA and Oscar wins. She also won the same honor for both her work in “Marriage Story” and Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” from the New York Film Critics Circle, among other critics groups.
Dern became the rare member of the Academy’s Board of Governors to win an Oscar while in “office.” She represents the Actor’s branch and has often been rumored as a potential candidate for the president of The Acad. Now that she’s finally won an Oscar, many will be curious if she’ll finally take that jump.
The 52-year-old actress has had a remarkable career although its surprising that “Marriage Story” and “Little Women” are the first two Best Picture nominees on her resume. For cinephiles, she’s best known for her collaborations with David Lynch including “Blue Velvet,” “Wild at Heart” and “Inland Empire.” From a commercial standpoint, she’s best known for her roles in “Jurassic Park,” “Jurassic Park III,” “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Her television work includes the landmark coming-out episode of “Ellen,” HBO’s “Enlightened,” “Recount” and Lynch’s 2017 “Twin Peaks” limited series.
After an incredibly busy four years, the only project on Dern’s upcoming slate is reprising her role as Ellie Sattler in 2021’s “Jurassic World 3.” She’s also an active producer on the “Untitled Pete Souza Documentary” that Focus Features should release later this year.