Ladies' Night: Celebrating This Year's Female Nominees

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hollywood.comBy Emily Christianson, Staff

With the Academy Awards just around the corner, Women In Film and Perrier Jouet champagne toasted this year’s nominees with a posh party at a private residence in Bel Air Friday night.

The evening of bubbly and conversation between Hollywood’s top female filmmakers was a chance to "sit back…and really just celebrate," Women In Film President Jane Fleming told us.

On hand to give the ladies a bit of advice for their big night, was Best Picture winner Cathy Schulman (Crash) who wisely told the crowd; drink lots of water, use George Clooney as a focal point while giving acceptance speeches and keep in mind; it’s good to be princess for a day.

Working the room, we eyed some of today's top actresses like Juno's Allison Janney and Desperate Housewives Dana Delany and Sharon Lawrence and met with the nominees and supporters of the WIF mission to empower, promote and mentor women in the industry. Here’s what they had to say …

Tamara Jenkins, Best Original Screenplay Nominee, The Savages
On who she was thrilled to meet this award season:
"Paul Thomas Anderson, Yanish Kaminsky the cinematographer of the Diving Bell, Dana Delaney…Jenn Fox who is the producer of this really wonderful film [Michael Clayton], and Sarah Polley (Away From Her), I made a joke that we are the cognitive impairment sisters. We both made these movies about elderly people dealing with cognitive impairment in one way or another. I adore her and she is not only really talented, but also fun to be around."

Jane Fleming and Sharon Lawrence

Jane Fleming and Sharon Lawrence
Katie Spencer, Best Art Direction Nominee, Atonement
On her creative solution to finding a dress:

"We so believe that we are not going to win. We were so pushed for time, because we went back for the BAFTAs…so Sarah Greenwood and I, we are just going to wear the same dresses. It is a little bit of a cheat because we think we aren’t going to win. We were really stressed about it and then Jacqueline the costume designer said just forget about it, just enjoy it don’t worry about it…I suggested to Jacqueline that we all wear Keira [Knightley]’s green dress from Atonement…[but] Jacqueline would hate us all [if we tried it]."

Cynthia Wade, Best Documentary Short Subject Nominee, Freeheld
On receiving the Women In Film Finishing Fund grant:

"I feel like I’ve come completely full circle and it is such a celebration and an honor to be here tonight. I had a fine cut of Freeheld and found out I got into the Sundance Film Festival. I had been funding it on my own because I needed to and didn’t have the money to finish, to premiere the film at Sundance, which is really the most challenging and ridiculous situation to be in…That is exactly when Women In Film came in with the Finishing Fund and they provided a $5,000 grant that went toward my sound mix. It was really critical at that moment because I needed to get to Sundance. To have an organization that celebrates women filmmakers and women directors is necessary and important and for me it was so needed at that time."

Karen Baker Landers, Best Achievement in Sound Editing Nominee, Bourne Ultimatum
On celebrating with other women in the industry:

"It is hard to be a woman [in this industry], I love working with men, but it really is difficult…so to have a night and see other women and talk to them because there aren’t a lot of women that you work with on a daily basis that you can have these conversations with. This night is really great…my partner is a man and I was so happy to tell him 'You know you’re not invited tonight. It is just for women.'" [laughs]

Allison Janney and Dana Delany

Allison Janney and Dana Delany
Cathy Schulman, Best Motion Picture 2006, Crash
On why she recommends looking at George Clooney while on the Oscars stage:

"The nominees, we all traveled together to all these different award shows and I got to know George Clooney [in 2006] who I’ve since worked with in Darfur Now. He said if you ever end up on that stage you just look at one person and say your speech. Don’t try to look out at the whole room, just look at one person. So [when I was on stage] I looked down and I saw him, so I said my speech to George Clooney!"

Judith Light, Ugly Betty star and Women In Film Supporter
On what young women can learn from these female filmmakers:
"How to be courageous, how to be brave, how to have a model of inspiration that can take you to another level, that we actually do have a capacity to make a difference and that we actually can change the world. When you see what these women are doing with these films and the choices they are making they are all about changing the dynamics and exposing issues in the world and literally being what Buckminster Fuller called – he asked the question 'What can the little individual do?' And most people, what they really want to do with their lives is make a difference and that is what these women are doing."

Paula Mazur, Nim's Island Producer and Women In Film Supporter
On why a party celebrating women is so important during awards season:

"It is Herculean what women have had to overcome in this industry. It needs to be celebrated, it needs to have a spotlight shown on it and it is incredibly deserving. The women this year who were nominated did phenomenal work and they deserve the recognition they are getting."

Nancy Oliver and Isabel Vaga

Nancy Oliver and Isabel Vaga
Nancy Oliver, Best Original Screenplay Nominee, Lars and the Real Girl
On surviving the Oscar whirlwind:

"It has been really crazy it is like being picked up in a riptide and it just carries you all the way through to the end you just have to hang on and not cry…When you are a writer, and I can’t speak for anyone else, for me one of the reasons I write is so I won’t have to talk to people because you are kind of invisible. The Oscars is like the opposite of that, but hey no complaints!"

Anja Daelemans, Best Live Action Short Film Nominee, Tanghi Argentini
On writing an acceptance speech in advance:

"It is totally bad luck to think about it, but if you are up there and you have nothing, what then? I think we need to do something [my partner and I] and split it. Even if one says 'thank' and the other says 'you'!"


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