My Muse, Nora Ephron

By Christina Kotlar (doddleNEWS)

After witnessing Nora Ephron accept recognition at the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) Honors Awards in October, 2011, I agree with what CNN posted today: they got it right– Nora Ephron, the screenwriter and director whose sharp, edgy romantic comedies featuring strong women took her to the top ranks of the film industry mostly dominated by men.

While they write she made it to the “top ranks,” Nora acknowledged her struggles and difficult ascent into the realm of male directors in studio films remarking that the only way she was able to make films and maintain directorial control is to be the screenwriter as well. Her wit and writing was indeed sharp and hit its mark when it came to relationships. Characters are developed as strong yet appealing, and audiences can relate to whatever the situation characters find themselves in.

Nora’s skill as a director was effectively underscroed when Meryl Streep earned a Best Actress Academy Award nomination in 2010 for her role as Julia Child in Julie & Julia. At the DGA Honors Awards last October 2011, the evening’s final presentation was to Nora  presented by actress Meryl Streep who spoke very eloquently about her friend and collaborator during her introduction of Nora’s work followed by a video congratulations from Tom Hanks. She was honored with a standing ovation for her prolific career as a director, producer, journalist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter. Her memorable work included romantic comedies When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle You’ve Got Mail, along with a serious subject, Oscar nominated, Silkwood and based on her own successfully completed marriage from Carl Bernstein in Heartburn.

Nora remarked on the hardships she encountered in a male-dominated profession, yet she found a way around the brick wall and did it all– writing, directing, creating strong unforgettable female characters. She was honored by New York Women in Film & Television as a Muse, an award celebrating the vision and achievements of women who work in the entertainment industry in 1992. She certainly was a Muse.

I recently rediscovered one of my favorites, Julie & Julia, first seen at a Tribeca Film Festival screening. The more I watched it, the more detail I gleaned from character dialogue and development, scenes moving the film along to its quirks and finding the smallest situation become the funniest, memorable lines coming out during my daily “trials and tribulations”. I ask myself, what would Julia do? What would Nora do in this situation? How would she handle this scene?

I’m sure there are many more who are thankful for the characters and dialogue brought to life out through Nora Ephron’s sophisticated humor and writing ability. She is definitely one on my mentor list when I am facing a brick wall, my back is up against the wall and whenever I happen to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. She would write herself a trap door, side door, back door and slip through it. That’s what she did the other night. She will be missed.

About Christina Kotlar

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