At the annual award show on Sunday, the actress, 52 — who took home the best supporting actress award for her performance in Marriage Story — reflected on one of her early career highlights, as well as how “times have changed.”
In 1982, a 15-year-old Dern served as Miss Golden Globe (now called a Golden Globe Ambassador), a position held by a child of Hollywood stars that helps presenters hand out trophies and escort winners offstage during the show.
“I remember how simple it seemed, with my grandma driving me up to the Hilton in her gray Toyota Corolla and I changed in the bathroom,” she told reporters after accepting her award. “I feel like there were eight of us here, so this is very glamorous, which is also very fun.”
“There was something very beautiful about knowing this community at such a young age,” she said.
Dern won on Sunday for her turn as Hollywood divorce lawyer Nora Fanshaw in Netflix’s Marriage Story, which was written and directed by Noah Baumbach.
“My first time here I was 14 years old, it’s a great honor to be with you again tonight,” Dern said in her speech. “We long to be of service to give voice to the voiceless, and thanks to the brilliant Noah Baumbach, I got to do just that: give voice, pay tribute — to the divorce lawyer.”
It was “long, long overdue,” she quipped.
In May 2018, Dern opened up about entering the acting business with two Hollywood parents, including her mother’s initial apprehension about her daughter pursuing a career on-camera.
“I think the quote of my mother’s was, ‘Be a lawyer, be a doctor, be a leper missionary, but don’t be an actress!’” Dern told Sunday Today at the time.
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But Dern still had her way and started sneaking around her mother’s back to talk to her well-connected friends.
“I became quite clever and somewhat strategic — stealth even — by going to my mom’s birthday party in the corner with an agent and saying: ‘Will you let me come and read a monologue for you and tell me if you think I have talent? And if I do, will you send me out on an audition?’ ” Dern remembered.
The actress said she was only 11 at the time, “so clearly I was obsessed and driven to do it.”
Since then, the mother-daughter duo have gone on to star in multiple projects together, including 1990’s Wild at Heart, 1991’s Rambling Rose, 2006’s Inland Empire and the HBO series Enlightened. The family of actors was also honored with three adjoining stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010.
The 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony aired live on NBC from the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 5.