Dern portrayed high-powered divorce attorney Nora Fanshaw in Noah Baumbach's heartrending film. She's an invaluable weapon in Nicole's (Scarlett Johansson)'s arsenal when she decides to divorce Adam Driver's Charlie, and a tough-talking ally for Nicole as the couple's dissolving marriage takes a turn for the worse.
"Thank you all for this gift," Dern gushed. "This is the best birthday present ever." Her birthday is officially tomorrow, February 10.
Dern thanked writer and director Baumbach for "his vision, magic, and words," as she shed tears while accepting the award. His partner, writer-director Greta Gerwig, who cast Dern as her Little Women matriarch Marmee, was also noticeably in tears.
"Noah wrote a movie about love," she said. "And about breaching divisions in the name of family and home and hopefully for all of us in the name of our planet." She then thanked her parents for being there for her over the years, calling them "her heroes."
"I share this with my parents," she said of her award. "I love you."
Some speculate that Dern's role as Fanshaw was modeled after real-world attorney Laura Wasser, who's represented a laundry list of prestigious clients, like Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, and Angelina Jolie. Wasser herself is unsure whether this is actually the case or not, as she divulged to Vulture, but she "can't completely ignore" the idea that she may have received a tribute in the form of Dern's performance int he film.
Dern bagged her win while competing against actresses Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit), Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell), Florence Pugh (Little Women), and Margot Robbie (Bombshell). Marriage Story is also a Best Picture nominee.