I don’t want to bring up Baron Davis in this post which is definitively about Laura Dern but we can’t talk about Laura Dern without talking about Laura Dern’s 2017, which, you know, notably ended with those pictures of her and Baron Davis. Professionally, she had an extraordinary 2017. She had one of those breakout years every young actor dreams of. Laura Dern’s professional success is why we care so much about her and Baron in the first place. 

We’re in the business of gossip so we know that personal interest is a thing that comes with the work in Hollywood. It’s unavoidable. But Laura Dern, armed with renewed interest and accolades later in her career is doing exactly what she should with all the attention. She didn’t bring Baron Davis as her date last night. She brought Monica Ramirez, the head of the National Farmworkers Women's Alliance. In her red carpet interview, Laura passed the mic to Monica and let her speak on her organization’s work.  The video is here (auto-plays with audio).  

In the last episode of Show Your Work, Lainey and Duana predicted Laura Dern’s Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series or TV movie win precisely because of the year she had. They noted that Laura Dern’s 2017 come-up was special especially because of her age. She’s 50. Sure, she was already Laura Dern before Renata Kline in Big Little Lies and before Vice Admiral Holdo in The Last Jedi but it’s important to note that the Internet is collectively obsessed with a 50 year-old woman’s love life and two roles that would not have existed for a 50 year-old woman in Hollywood 20 years ago. 

And there’s this - I don’t know if Laura Dern as a 20-something ingénue could have delivered the speech she did last night. It was one of the best speeches of the show and it was spilling over with the confidence and courage of a self-assured woman clear in her message. Her message was this: 

“Many of us were taught not to tattle. It was a culture of silencing, and that was normalized. I urge all of us to not only support survivors and bystanders who are brave enough to tell their truth, but to promote restorative justice. May we also please protect and employ them. May we teach our children that speaking out without the fear of retribution is our culture’s new North Star.”

Whew. Yes. That’s a speech. Laura Dern capped off a year of playing complex, surprisingly refreshing and badass women with THAT speech after literally walking the walk with Monica Ramirez in an effort to steer our culture closer to that North Star. 

If your Laura Dern problem started in 2017, I think it’s going to get worse in 2018.