Jurassic World: Dominion marks Laura Dern’s return to the dinosaur franchise after twenty-one years. Dern first played Ellie Sattler in Steven Spielberg’s beloved blockbuster in 1993 jurassic parkskipped the sequel and returned for a cameo appearance in the final film in the original trilogy.
Dern was already a star when jurassic park created; in fact, she was already nominated for an Oscar. His career took a turn in the late 90s and early 2000s, but the 2010s offered him many opportunities. Dern is currently at the top of her game, adding critically acclaimed projects and blockbusters to her already diverse filmography.
ten Wild (2014) – 74
Reese Witherspoon stars in this adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail. Directed by the late Jean-Marc Vallée, the film follows Strayed’s backpacking trip down the track in the summer of 1995 following a series of personal difficulties. Dern plays Strayed’s mother in a cast that also includes Michiel Huisman and Gabby Hoffman.
Savage received positive reviews from critics, who praised the film’s rawness, honesty, and faithfulness to the source material. Witherspoon and Dern won acclaim for their performances, ultimately earning Oscar nominations at the 2015 ceremony.
9 99 Houses (2014) – 76
Dern starred alongside Oscar nominees Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon in Ramin Bahrani’s 2014 drama 99 houses. The story follows a young single father who agrees to help a businessman evict people from their homes in exchange for his own home.
99 houses competed for the Golden Lion at the 71st Venice Film Festival. Released in the fall of 2014, the film received positive reviews from critics. 99 houses ranks as one of Garfield’s most acclaimed films, and his performance received positive reviews, as did the wit and social commentary from Shannon and the script.
8 Blue Velvet (1986) – 76
The first of several pairings between Dern and famed director David Lynch, blue velvet also stars Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini and Dennis Hopper. The plot follows a young college student who discovers a severed ear on a piece of land and becomes embroiled in a mystery surrounding a troubled lounge singer.
Considered one of David Lynch’s best films, blue velvet earned him his second Oscar nomination for Best Director. It remains influential today, with many critics and fans considering it a masterpiece of neo-noir cinema. Rossellini’s and Hopper’s performances also remain acclaimed by modern critics.
seven Crazy, Not Crazy (2020) – 78
Crazy, not crazy is a 2020 documentary following Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis, a renowned psychiatrist and author who has served as an expert witness in several high-profile cases. Lewis specializes in dissociative identity disorder and violent individuals and is a professor of psychiatry at Yale University.
Dern narrates the documentary, directed by acclaimed documentarian and producer Alex Gibney – the man behind the Oscar-winning film Taxi to the dark side. Crazy, not crazy received positive reviews upon its release at the Copenhagen International Documentary Festival.
6 Some Women (2016) – 82
by Kelly Reichardt Some women features an ensemble cast that includes Dern, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Lily Gladstone. The plot follows three women – a lawyer, a homemaker, and a law student – who struggle to thrive in the gendered context of the American Northwest.
Some women received very positive reviews, with most critics praising Reichardt’s writing and directing and the film’s cast. Gladstone’s performance received particular attention, making her the breakout of the film. She will play a major role in Martin Scorsese The Moonflower Slayersmaking her a strong contender for an Oscar nomination in 2023.
5 Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017) – 84
by Rian Johnson Episode VIII continues the sequel’s story by having Rey train under Luke Skywalker while developing an unwitting bond with Kylo Ren. The Last Jedi features several new characters, including Dern’s Vice Admiral Holdo, who alongside Leia and Poe tries to evade a First Order attack while Finn and newcomer Rose Tico go on a secret mission to disable the device First Order tracking.
The Last Jedi is perhaps the most controversial entry in the entire franchise. Critics praised its message and willingness to step out of the show’s comfort zone, but some fans criticized the story changes. Dern’s role was also a source of criticism from fans, although critics reacted positively to her performance.
4 The Master (2012) – 86
The psychological drama of Paul Thomas Anderson in 2012 The master follows Freddie Quell, a traumatized World War II veteran who joins a growing movement known as “The Cause”, led by the charming Lancaster Dodd. In the film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, Dern plays a sidekick to “The Cause,” who begins to doubt Dodd’s teachings.
The master received near-universal critical acclaim. Major praise went to the performances of Phoenix, Hoffman, and Adams, resulting in Oscar nominations for all three. However, the film and Anderson received no recognition from the Academy.
3 The Tale (2018) – 90
The tale is a 2018 HBO film about the abuse Jennifer Fox suffered as a child at the hands of her riding instructor, Mrs. G, and her lover, professional trainer Bill Allens. Dern stars as the fictional version of Fox, alongside a cast that includes Elizabeth Debicki, Jason Ritter, Ellen Bursty and Common.
Heartbreaking and inspiring, The tale received critical acclaim. Dern’s performance drew rave reviews and earned her Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations. The film’s delicacy and maturity in handling such a complex subject also earned it significant praise.
2 Little Women (2019) – 91
Greta Gerwig’s modernized version of Louisa May Alcott’s seminal novel Little woman stars Saoirse Ronan in another period piece, playing the headstrong and willful Jo March. Dern plays Marmie, the March matriarch, alongside an ensemble cast that includes Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet and Eliza Scanlen.
Little woman received universal praise, with critics praising Gerwig’s approach to the classic story. Ronan and Pugh’s performances earned them Oscar nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, and the film earned a Best Picture nomination.
1 Marriage Story (2019) – 94
by Noah Baumbach Marriage story follows the deterioration of a young marriage, leading to their eventual divorce. The film stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson alongside an ensemble cast including Dern, the late Ray Liotta and Alan Alda. Dern plays the lawyer for Johnasson’s character, the fierce Nora Fanshaw.
Marriage story received universal acclaim from critics. Both Johansson and Driver earned Oscar nominations for their work, but Dern actually won, receiving the Supporting Actress trophy for her work and becoming the film’s only win of six nominations.