I need a word for the kind of fan you are when you really like something, but you cede the official title of ‘fan’ to someone who lives and breathes it. I watched the Emmys last night and realized I LOVE Laura Dern. Always have, not just because she did this hilarious thing in the middle of the audience during Nicole Kidman’s acceptance speech.

Laura Dern frozen

(I think conventional wisdom says she was waiting for a seatfiller to either vacate hers or return to someone else’s?)

I don’t think of myself as a true ‘Laura Dern fan’ because the people who are can quote Enlightened by heart – which should have been a bigger hit but was on too early. Laura Dern has always been around, but underappreciated; even her win in Big Little Lies is mostly for a comedic part and won’t be the story the way Reese and Nicole will be.

But I was so struck by her comment that, having worked steadily since she was 11, she’d probably worked with only a dozen women. The idea that the cast of BLL felt strongly that they were an ensemble, and truly sharing the award, was revolutionary to a 50-year-old woman. The fact that Big Little Lies actually meant something to women, had something to say, was hard for a lot of men to understand—especially, I’m sorry to say, men in the business. I heard more of them shrugging that it wasn’t for them without having watched it than anyone dared to do over almost-forgotten WestWorld.

I am the first to say that the Emmys seemed mighty self-congratulatory tonight. When they weren’t swearing up and down that the TV industry was diverse, they were telling us how important and necessary the business is. I performed a lot of acrobatic eyerolls. But when a woman who has had a huge career is this astounded by a cast of others she can relate to on this level, I remind myself we need baby steps.

Her Proenza Schouler dress wasn’t my favourite Proenza Schouler or my favourite Laura Dern dress – I  much prefer her in colour – but it was a great dress to win in and she’ll like the pictures forever, so it’s a win.