Award-Winning Women Of The 96th Academy Awards

In honor of National Women’s Month, we highlight the amazing female talents who won Oscars in the recent 96th Academy Awards. 

The 96th Academy Awards has ended with a roster of incredible nominees and winners. Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer took home plenty of wins for the work of its phenomenal cast, as did Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things. Many amazing women took home Oscars for their performances and contributions to some of the best films of the year, which is always worth celebrating—especially with the recent International Women’s Day and National Women’s Month in the Philippines. 

READ ALSO: Film Herstory: Recognizing Women At The Oscars

Without further ado, here are the notable women who helped bring this year’s lineup of Oscar-nominated and winning movies to life: 

Emma Thomas: Best Picture for Oppenheimer 

Many expected Christopher Nolan’s gargantuan biopic Oppenheimer to win more than a few awards in this year’s Oscars, and that’s exactly what happened. It won the final award of the evening, arguably one of the biggest, Best Picture. The entire cast went on stage with director Nolan and his wife, Emma Thomas—who happens to be the film’s producer. 

Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan in 2011
Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan in 2011/Photo by sbclick via Wikimedia Commons

According to Skyler Trepel of People, Thomas has produced every one of Nolan’s films since his movie Following in 1998. The couple are truly partners in everything, and this year, they get to take home Oscar trophies together. 

“I think any of us who make movies know that you kind of dream of this moment. You know you do, right?” Thomas expressed during her acceptance speech. “I couldn’t deny it, but I have been dreaming about this moment for so long, but it seemed so unlikely that it would ever actually happen.”

Thomas and Nolan earn an Oscar for Best Picture with "Oppenheimer"
Thomas and Nolan earn an Oscar for Best Picture with “Oppenheimer”/Photo via Instagram @oppenheimermovie

“The thing that’s fantastic about our jobs is that it’s about collaboration, about teamwork,” she continued. “And our team was just incredible in this movie so thank you to all of them, both cast and crew.” Thomas also paid tribute to her late mother, mother-in-law, and her and Nolan’s children. 

Emma Stone: Best Actress for Poor Things

This year’s nominees for Best Actress must’ve presented quite the challenge to The Academy, as all their performances were nothing short of stellar. Yet it was Emma Stone who took home the Oscar for her performance as Bella Baxter in Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things. The actress gave a touching speech in tears as her emotions overwhelmed her. The win is Stone’s second Oscar, her first being for her leading role in Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. Past Oscar-winning actresses—namely Sally Field, Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Yeoh, Charlize Theron, and Jessica Lange—also introduced the category’s nominees and presented the award, which made things all the more meaningful. 

Emma Stone in "Poor Things"
Emma Stone in “Poor Things”/Photo via Instagram @poorthingsfilm

“Curious as a puppy and hungry as a bear, Emma Stone’s brilliant Bella is unhinged, uninhibited, and completely original,” said Field in her introduction. “With the fearlessness of a toddler, she awkwardly steps into the world, awakening into her body and the sensations of being alive without boundaries.”

Upon accepting her award, Stone immediately gave a shout out to her fellow actress nominees. “Sandra [Hüller], Annette [Bening], Carey [Mulligan], Lily [Gladstone], I share this with you. I’m in awe of you, and it has been such an honor to do all this together. I hope we get to keep doing more together,” Stone expresses during her speech

She also thanked Lanthimos and the crew who “poured their love, and their care, and their brilliance” into the making of Poor Things, as well as her family, her husband Dave McCary, and her two-year-old daughter. 

Da’Vine Joy Randolph: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Holdovers

Da’Vine Joy Randolph was yet another spectacular actress who took home the Oscar for her supporting role as Mary Lamb in Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers. Much like Stone, Randolph accepted the award with tears in her eyes as she repeated the phrase “God is so good.” 

Da'Vine Joy Randolph in "The Holdovers"
Da’Vine Joy Randolph in “The Holdovers”/Photo via Instagram @theholdoversfilm

As with the Best Actress category, past awardees for Best Actress in a Supporting Role presented the award to Randolph, namely Mary Steenburgen, Lupita Nyong’o, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rita Moreno, and Regina King. “When we meet Mary in the cafeteria in The Holdovers, we can feel the unspoken grief simmering under her surface. Da’Vine, my friend, your performance is tribute to those who have helped others heal despite their own pain,” states Nyong’o in her introduction speech.

“I didn’t think I was supposed to be doing this as a career,” Randolph said in her acceptance speech. “I started off as a singer, and my mother said to me: ‘Go across that street to that Theater Department, there’s something for you there.’ And I thank my mother for doing that, I thank all the people who have stepped in my path and have been there for me, who have ushered me and guided me.” 

“For so long, I’ve always wanted to be different,” she continued. “And now I realize I just need to be myself. And I thank you, I thank you for seeing me.”

This is Randolph’s very first Oscar nomination, as well as her first win. The actress also won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, as well as several other accolades for her heartwarming portrayal of a cafeteria lady who makes a school feel like home through her generous spirit. 

Billie Eilish: Best Original Song for Barbie

Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas Baird O’Connell received the Oscar for Best Original Song for their piece “What Was I Made For?” from Greta Gerwig’s hit Barbie. Given the song’s popularity and poignant message, the win comes as no surprise.

Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell
Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell/Photo via Instagram @barbiethemovie

The two thanked the Academy and their loved ones, as well Gerwig for giving them the opportunity to create the melody. “I just didn’t think this would happen, I was not expecting this,” Eilish said during her speech. “I feel so incredibly lucky and honored. […] I’m so grateful for this song and this movie, and the way that it made me feel. This [the Oscar] goes out to everyone who was affected by the movie and how incredible it is.”

They also performed the somber and reflective piano ballad during the awards ceremony, with O’Connell on the piano and a live orchestra. The Oscar win is already Eilish and O’Connell’s second, as the duo had won Best Original Song in 2021 for the piece “No Time to Die” in  the eponymous James Bond movie. According to Variety, the pair also happen to be the youngest two-time Oscar winners, with Eilish being only 22-years-old and O’Connell being just 26-years-old. 

Justine Triet: Best Original Screenplay for Anatomy of a Fall

French filmmaker Justine Triet, as well as her husband and co-writer Arthur Harari, won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in this year’s Academy Awards for their work in Anatomy of a Fall (which Triet also directed). The thrilling courtroom and family drama does indeed boast some of the best writing in a film among this year’s strong roster, with its ambiguity and complex character relationships. 

It’s not Triet’s first win in the category, as Anatomy of a Fall also earned her both a Golden Globe and British Academy Film Award for Best Screenplay, among many other accolades. The recent Oscar win has only cemented Triet’s place as a filmmaker to look out for, and is her and Harari’s first Academy Award.

The official poster of “Anatomy of a Fall”/Photo from IMDb

“Thank you so much, it [the Oscar] will help me through my mid-life crisis, I think,” Triet said in jest as she accepted the award with Harari. “I want to thank all the cast for what you did on set, you killed the script on set.” 

Holly Waddington: Best Costume Design for Poor Things

Though much of the Academy Awards coverage focuses on the actors, actresses, and filmmakers, it would be remiss not to mention the women who worked behind the scenes to make movie magic happen. This includes Holly Waddington, who won the Oscar for Best Costume Design in Poor Things

Holly Waddington wins an Oscar for Costume Design on "Poor Things"
Holly Waddington wins an Oscar for Costume Design on “Poor Things”/Photo via Instagram @poorthingsfilm

Waddington colored Lanthimos’ fantastical world with costumes both stunning and eclectic. “Thank you to the Academy and my fellow nominees: it’s an amazing privilege to be in the same room as you all, you’re the people who inspired me to be a costume designer in the first place,” she shared during her speech

Poor Things was a very rare opportunity to be really free and artistic in the creative process as a costume designer,” Waddington continued. She also thanked Lanthimos for the opportunity, and the cast and costume team for being a joy to work with, as well as her family. 

Waddington’s other screen credits include 2010’s Clash of the Titans, 2011’s War Horse, 2016’s Lady Macbeth. She won several awards for her work in Lady Macbeth and Poor Things, though this year’s Oscar is her monumental first.

Jennifer Lame: Best Film Editing for Oppenheimer

Film editors are the superheroes behind every lovely movie shot. This year, it was Jennifer Lame who took home the Oscar for her editing on the multi-award winning Oppenheimer. Lame thanked both Thomas and Nolan for hiring her to work on the film, as well as her husband and children.

Jennifer Lame wins the Oscar for Best Film Editing
Jennifer Lame wins the Oscar for Best Film Editing/Photo via Instagram @oppenheimermovie

“Emma Thomas, you’re amazing. You are a badass producer, and you make these complicated, beautiful films, and you’re unflappable, and I’m in awe of you,” Lame expressed during her speech. “Chris Nolan […] It felt like you took a huge risk on me, but you never made me feel that way. You instilled so much confidence in me, and I looked forward to going to work with you every day. It’s so exciting to collaborate with you, and I can’t thank you enough.” 

A shot from "Oppenheimer"
A shot from “Oppenheimer”/Photo from IMDb

Lame has also worked on other award-winning films like 2018’s Hereditary, 2019’s Marriage Story, and 2020’s Tenet. This year’s Oscar is her very first, though she also won multiple accolades in other festivals and awards. 

Banner photo via Instagram @poorthingsfilm.

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