LOS ANGELES — Lina Wertmüller made history when she became the first woman to earn a best-director Oscar nomination for her 1975 film “Seven Beauties.” On Sunday night, when the 91-year-old Italian director took the stage at the Governors Awards to receive an honorary Oscar, she suggested another shake-up.
“She would like to change the name Oscar to a feminine name,” said the actress Isabella Rossellini, translating for Wertmüller. “She would like to call it Anna, rather than Oscar.”
Wertmüller, clad in her usual white-framed eyeglasses, grinned impishly. She then encouraged the women in the ballroom to begin chanting, “We want Anna, a female oscar.
The name change may not stick, but for an academy that continues to wrestle with issues of diversity and representation, Sunday night’s Governors Awards were as diverse and forward-thinking as the organization itself hopes to become. Ten years ago, when these honorary Academy Awards were spun out of the Oscar telecast and given their own big night, it was not uncommon for most or all of the awards in the show to go to white men.
At this year’s edition, only one of the four awards went to a white man, and the recipient, the iconoclastic director David Lynch, spent the least time onstage. After offering brief thanks to the academy and friends in the industry, including his “Blue Velvet” stars and presenters Laura Dern and Kyle MacLachlan, Lynch glanced at his new Oscar and said simply, “You have a very nice face. Good night.”