We Owe Greta Gerwig

Duana Posted by Duana at March 5, 2018 12:04:16 March 5, 2018 12:04:16

You might think we embellish the ‘fighting over who to write about on Oscar night’ bit but it really is a battle bordering on a brawl. We’re snide and opinionated and call ‘mine!’ like four year olds as soon as the name we want comes up. 

When we got to Greta Gerwig on our spreadsheet, I said ‘mine!’ and Lainey and Kathleen went, ‘Oh of course, because she’s wearing yellow. Obviously Duana wants to write about that dress.’

Look, half of being contrarian is just not wanting to be predictable, but I’m glad she wore this yellow Rodarte. Because I’m always here for colour on a carpet, but more because she’s kind of into being contrary too. The sole woman nominated for Best Direction might be expected to choose a look that’s black and glamorous, or extremely high-fashion, or ‘adult’ to subtly indicate she can direct different kinds of projects.

But I’ve realized that Greta Gerwig is not interested in proving sh-t to anyone. And it is working. Having no f*cks to give about what big sweeping massive-budget films are doing is why she’s here, and I wanted to write this article because I need to be reminded of this every single day. 

Chances are you know someone who said, ‘Lady Bird was good and all, but it’s not an Oscar movie.’ Maybe more than once. Probably you heard someone say Lady Bird was ‘one of the best movies this year, but…’ implying that in a different year, Greta Gerwig and Lady Bird couldn’t compete, because (choose your own adventure): 

a)    The subject matter is too pedestrian for the Oscars or, 
b)    The plot was too ‘small’ for the Oscars or, 
c)    ‘It’s a high school girl movie’

I don’t think any of those criticisms are a surprise to Greta Gerwig. I’m sure she’s heard every type of condescension about Lady Bird

She made it anyway. 

She wrote her movie about a teenage girl and her internal journey and her relationship with her mom. “Small” story. No big epic story across space and time. About a young woman and her family and becoming an adult. She heard all the dismissive comments and did it anyway. 

And then look what happened. 

These four men, and Greta Gerwig…” (with credit to Emma Stone to come later) 

She didn’t try to play anyone else’s game. She told her story. The movie’s particulars aren’t necessarily familiar to everyone, and that is fine. It is a specific story about one character’s internal journey that is nonetheless emotionally resonant regardless of your specific experience. Moonlight was a completely different (maybe even opposite) specific story about one character’s internal journey that is emotionally resonant regardless of your specific experience.  

Specific equals resonant. Resonant equals satisfying. Satisfying is always the goal… right? 

I keep using smaller and smaller sentence fragments to remind us all this is the only way it ever works. You can’t be successful chasing what someone else thinks you should do. You have to do the thing you know is right. Or f*ck right, even – you have to do the thing you know is yours. 

It’s hard to remember. It’s hard to do. But that’s why we watch the Oscars, right? To be reminded that hard isn’t impossible. 

Photos:
Kevin Winter/ Neilson Barnard/ Matt Winkelmeyer/ Christopher Polk/ Steve Granitz/ Kevork Djansezian/ Getty Images

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