Significant credit must also be given to Saoirse Ronan, the magnificent 23-year-old actress who already has two Oscar nominations under her belt (for 2007’s Atonement and 2015’s Brooklyn), who threads a thin needle by making Lady Bird seem difficult but also likable at the same time. She’s great, as always. And it’s worth noting that the film, which A24 will release on Nov. 10, was produced by Scott Rudin, among others, and is filled with much of his top-notch New York theater stock company — not only Ronan (who recently appeared in his Broadway production of The Crucible), but also Laurie Metcalf (A Doll’s House, Part 2), who is pitch-perfect as Lady Bird’s brittle mom, Stephen McKinley Henderson (Fences) as her drama teacher and Beanie Feldstein (Hello, Dolly!) as her best friend — plus Tracy Letts as her soft-spoken dad and Lucas Hedges (who appeared in several Wes Anderson movies en route to his Manchester by the SeaOscar nomination) as one of her love interests. This makes for an ensemble of the first order.
Lady Bird seems likely to go over best with women, but the Academy’s demographics, despite recent efforts to increase diversity, still do not favor female-centric movies. Still, one or two such films manage a best picture Oscar nomination each year, and Lady Bird could well be one of them this year, especially with Rudin behind its sails. Even more likely, though, are noms for Ronan as best actress, Metcalf as best supporting actress and Gerwig for best original screenplay, and perhaps Letts as best supporting actor as well.