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Emerald Fennell Shares How Britney Spears Got Her Into the Writing Zone at the 2021 Oscars

Natalie Finn
·2 min read
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Want to know how Emerald Fennell gets in the zone? The writing zone, that is?

"Listening to Britney Spears and then usually sort of eating pizza out of a bin because I've run out of food—it's that sort of vibe," the actress turned writer-director whose debut film, Promising Young Woman, is nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, shared with E! Live From the Red Carpet host Giuliana Rancic on Sunday.

"I'm obsessed, Britney and pizza!" Rancic marveled.

"Britney and garbage pizza," Fennell stressed, making sure we understood just how much of a hot mess she might turn into when the muses call.

But the unforgettable use of an eerie instrumental of "Toxic" in Promising Young Woman does now make even more sense.

Oscars 2021 Red Carpet Fashion

Fennell, meanwhile, is the first-ever British woman to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar (in a rather snazzy year in which three of the nominees are women for the first time, let alone any), and she's also a producer on the film (so she's in on the Best Picture nod), as well as up for Best Original Screenplay. Frédéric Thoraval is also up for Best Editing and star Carey Mulligan is nominated for Best Actress for her insanely good turn as Cassie, a med school dropout intent on avenging her best friend's sexual assault at the hands of some men who could all too easily be mistaken for Mr. Nice Guys out in the world.

Emerald Fennell, 2021 Oscars, 2021 Academy Awards, Red Carpet Fashion
Emerald Fennell, 2021 Oscars, 2021 Academy Awards, Red Carpet Fashion

"It's the most exciting day of my life," Fennell, who can also be found playing Camilla Parker-Bowles in The Crown, frankly told Rancic.

Asked how she felt about the unbelievable response to her film, she explained, "It's just, honestly, it's all been incredible. And I just never expected—none of us expected, we made this movie in 23 days—we never ever expected it to get to this stage. What has been so moving is people's candor and the conversations it's opened up for lots of people. It's just really been really overwhelming but in a very positive way."

As for her nominated leading lady, Mulligan is "just so good, but she's also just so incredibly funny," Fennell said. "You know, that's the thing, I think dramatic actors rarely get to be funny and she's just dynamite at comedy. So yeah, it was just amazing [watching her performance unfold on set]."

Also known for her humorous descriptions of her preferred flowing fashions this season, Fennell summed up the Gucci Epilogue gown she chose for her first Oscars as, "Tonight I am Susan, your pottery teacher who has a business opportunity for you which is absolutely not a pyramid scheme."

Doesn't matter, we're buying whatever she's selling.

Watch the E! After Party: 2021 Oscars special tonight at 11 p.m. for a recap of the Academy Awards' biggest moments!