The first woman to nominated for an Oscar for Best Director is finally getting her long-overdue recognition. Lina Wertmuller, first appointed in 1977 for her film Seven Beauties, is one of only five women ever to be nominated for the prestigious award since the awards were created in 1927.
Last weekend, Wertmuller was given an honorary Academy Award at this year’s Governors Awards.
Lina Wertmuller with five other women nominations was there in the race.
In an interview, Wertmuller was surprised to hear that she was one of five women who have been nominated for Best Director alongside Kathryn Bigelow for ‘The Hurt Locker,’ Jane Campion for ‘The Piano’, Sofia Coppola for ‘Lost in Translation,’ and Greta Gerwig for ‘Lady Bird.’ Out of that list of women, Bigelow was the only woman who won.
Seven Beauties has got the attention of Hollywood, but Wertmuller didn’t win the Oscar. The Best Director award went to John G. Avildsen for Rocky, but Wertmuller didn’t pay much attention to awards.
Wertmuller began her career in the film, helping the Italian director Federico Fellini in his films before writing and directing her own film in the ’60s.
Fellini became more than a mentor, and he provided the team for her first film, ‘The Lizards’, because he believed in Wertmuller’s talent.
“Because I have been able to be myself, I’ve been able to make the kind of films that I did,” Wertmuller said to the Los Angeles Times. “When this could happen, and somebody did not want to support my ideas, I would move on and go to another producer or go find another way to make the film.”
She directed good films in the ’70s, which includes seven Beauties, The Seduction of Mimi, Love, and Anarchy, and Swept Away. Swept Away was remade in 2002 by director Guy Ritchie, who cast Madonna as the starring role.
After so many days of direction in the U.S., Wertmuller returned to Italy, where she continues to write and direct films. Her career spans more than 50 years.
Wertmuller’s first film, ‘The Lizards’, will be shown for the first time in the U.S. at TCL Chinese Theatre in LA in her honor.