Oscar Actors: Dern, Laura–Background, Career, Awards, Cumulative Advantage

Laura Dern, the daughter of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, is an accomplished American film and television actress, honored with numerous accolades.

Born in 1967, she began her career as a child actress in some high-profile movies, such as Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore in 1974. Her mother appeared in that movie, for which she was nominated for the best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Dern’s competitive honors include two Academy Award nominations, one Primetime Emmy Award win from six nominations, and four Golden Globe Award wins from six nominations.

Oscar Nominations: 3

1991: Best Actress, Rambling Rose; the winner was Jodie Foster

2014: Best Supporting Actress, Wild

2019: Best Supporting Actress, Marriage Story; won

Born on February 10, 1967 to actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, Dern embarked on an acting career in the 1980s and rose to prominence for her performances in Mask (1985) and David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986) and Wild at Heart (1990).

In 1985, Dern won the Next Generation Award from the L.A. Film Critics Association for two films: “Mask” and “Rambling Rose.”

She then received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of the titular orphan in the drama film Rambling Rose (1991).

She achieved international recognition for her role in Spielberg’s adventure “Jurassic Park” (1993), after which she guest starred in the “Puppy Episode” of the sitcom Ellen in 1997, during which Ellen DeGeneres publicly came out.

After winning two Golden Globes for her performances as Katherine Harris in the television film Recount (2008) and Amy Jellicoe in the comedy-drama series Enlightened (2011–2013), Dern earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination for “Wild” (2014).

Emmy Award

In 2017, she starred as Renata Klein in the drama series Big Little Lies, winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film, and reunited with David Lynch for Twin Peaks: The Return.

She has since played supporting roles in the films Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), Marriage Story (2019), and Little Women (2019). Her performance in Marriage Story won her a fifth Golden Globe and her first Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

After her parents divorced when she was 2, Dern was brought up by her mother and grandmother. She was raised as a Catholic.  godmother was actress Shelley Winters.

First Films: Child Actress

Her first film was as an extra in White Lightning (1973), a film in which her mother starred. Her official film debut was an appearance in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974),” opposite her mother.

In 1982, Dern served as Miss Golden Globe at 15 years old. In the same year, she portrayed a rebellious rock band member in the cult film Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. At 16, she sought for and attained emancipation, which allowed her to work the amount of hours of an adult.

Between 1985 and 1990, Dern gained critical acclaim for her performances in Mask, Blue Velvet, and Wild at Heart–the latter two directed by David Lynch–which began a longstanding collaboration between Dern and Lynch. Dern’s starring role in Blue Velvet was widely regarded as her breakthrough performance.

Dern also auditioned for the iconic character Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), but lost the role due to studio’s skepticism about her level of fame.

In 1992, Dern and her mother, Ladd, became the first mother and daughter to be nominated for Academy Awards for acting in the same film for their performances in Rambling Rose–Ladd received a Best Supporting Actress nomination, while Dern received one for Best Actress.

Dern starred as Dr. Ellie Sattler in Spielberg’s 1993 film Jurassic Park. That same year, Clint Eastwood contacted the actress for his film A Perfect World. She also starred as Ruth in the 1996 film Citizen Ruth, the directorial debut of Alexander Payne. Dern’s mother makes a cameo appearance, playing Dern’s character’s mother.

In 1997, Dern was featured in Widespread Panic’s music video for their song, “Aunt Avis”, which was directed by Dern’s boyfriend and future fiancé, Billy Bob Thornton. In 1998, Dern co-starred in Jodie Foster’s film The Baby Dance. While dating Thornton in 1999, she was cast as his love interest in his film Daddy and Them, which also includes Diane Ladd. Dern also appeared in Joe Johnston’s film October Sky.

Robert Altman cast her as a Champagne-loving Aunt in his Texas-based comedy Dr. T & the Women in 2000. She co-starred in Within These Walls and Arthur Miller’s Focus. She had a minor role in Jurassic Park III, and was a supporting actress in the film I Am Sam. She starred in the 2002 film Damaged Care and the 2004 film We Don’t Live Here Anymore. Dern starred in the 2005 film Happy Endings, and in the same year, she appeared in the film The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio.