'Lady Bird' Is An Oscar Frontrunner & If You're Surprised, Star Beanie Feldstein Has Some Words For You

Ad failed to load

When Beanie Feldstein was growing up, she, like countless other pre-teens coming of age in the late '90s-early '00s era, became obsessed with Harry Potter. She read all the books and watched all the movies, following the boy wizard's journey through potions classes, Quidditch matches, and magic-enhanced puberty. But it's not like she had much of a choice; although Feldstein (and the internet) is fully aware that Hermione is the true star of the series, it's Harry who's the titular hero, the protagonist we're all asked to relate to and root for time and time again. And while, at 12 or 13, she may not have totally understood the reasons why, Feldstein at 24 is a different story — she knows why, and she thinks it's total bullsh*t.

"Girls are subliminally asked to relate to boy movies and stories... and so rarely in our society are men asked to relate to the female experience, just because most things are about boys," says the actor, sitting down in Bustle's studio on a chilly December morning. "It’s Harry’s story, and Hermione’s there, and she gets everything done, P.S., but it wouldn’t have sold the same way if it was Hermione’s story or Harry was a girl."

...it’s not only for women just because it’s a 'woman story,' just like we see every guy movie, you know?
Ad failed to load

At least not back then it might not have. In the past several years, women-led projects have taken center stage in a way the world simply didn't allow back in Potter's time, and it's not just the ladies who are responding; from Bridesmaids (co-writers: Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo) to The Hunger Games series (producer: Nina Jacobson), Orange is the New Black (creator: Jenji Kohan) to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (producer: Kathleen Kennedy), men and women alike are coming out in droves to support movies, shows, and books with female protagonists. And then, of course, there's Feldstein's own film, Lady Bird, the female-led movie that might've just settled that score for good, to the tune of over $41 million and five Oscar nominations (from an Academy made up of 72 percent male voters). With those kind of numbers, the era of pop culture's Hermiones playing second fiddle to the Harrys might be nearing its end — much to Feldstein's wide-eyed, grinning delight.

Ashley Batz/Bustle

"I just feel like we’re at this point now where women’s voices and women’s lenses and the way that women see the world and that unique experience of being a girl in the world is starting to be validated," she says. "It’s really exciting to hear my guy friends, or family members of other people in the film that are guys, who have said like, 'I so relate to Lady Bird.' Or, 'I so relate to Julie,' or 'I so relate to Marian.' It’s just an important thing, I think, to tell those stories — it’s not only for women just because it’s a 'woman story,' just like we see every guy movie, you know?"

Ad failed to load

Oh, we know. For women who have seen Lady Bird — and if you haven't, go now — the Greta Gerwig-directed film doesn't just feel like a stellar piece of entertainment, but the on-screen equivalent of a huge, cathartic "finally." As Lady Bird's placement as Rotten Tomatoes' best-reviewed movie ever reflects, the film is everything so many of us didn't even realize we had been waiting for: an achingly real coming-of-age story that not only understands teenage girls to a T, but connects with everyone, regardless of their background. At some point or another, we were all a Lady Bird, or a Julie, or even a Marion.

"I think we’ve been ready for Lady Bird for a long time," Feldstein says when I speak to her for a second time, over the phone a few days after the Oscar nominations are released. She's driving in Los Angeles, and her voice, always bright and energetic, is even more so in the wake of her film's recent sweep (Best Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actress, and Original Screenplay). "In different ways, I was sort of gearing for this."

Ashley Batz/Bustle
Ad failed to load

It's obvious why Feldstein is thrilled about Lady Bird's success; before the film, she was best known as either a supporting player in Neighbors 2 or for being Jonah Hill's little sister. Playing Julie — the loyal, sweet best friend of Saoirse Ronan's eccentric lead in Gerwig's film — has changed her life in every way. But the actor's love for the movie goes deeper than that. As it did for so many women, Lady Bird made Feldstein feel seen, as if Gerwig found her most intimate thoughts and fears and hopes and laid them bare on the table.

"I always say Lady Bird can fit in the palm of your hand, like it’s something you can really hold with you always," the actor explains. "It’s small and warm and familial." She recalls how, a handful of times during production, the "magic" of the movie became evident.

There was the time Feldstein and Lucas Hedges were filming a dance scene, and, awe in his voice, he whispered to her how stunned he was that they were in Gerwig's first film. Then there was the scene when, bare-faced and wearing no costume other than a big T-shirt, Feldstein cried as Julie and thought about how revolutionary it was that Gerwig "created a friend who’s her own full person." And then there was the night in April of 2017 when, entering the party after the opening of her show Hello, Dolly on Broadway, Feldstein found Gerwig standing in the crowd alongside her family, ready to celebrate her debut. "I just was like, oh my god," Feldstein recalls now, making an exaggerated crying face. "Weeps. Just so many weeps."

Ad failed to load
Ashley Batz/Bustle

Since Lady Bird entered theaters in November, Feldstein's life has been a non-stop whirlwind, with her days spent either promoting the movie, singing in Hello, Dolly (her final performance in the acclaimed production was in mid-January), or, more often than not, somehow managing to do both. If she's exhausted, she doesn't show it, or maybe she simply doesn't care. "It’s been like the most overwhelming and special year of my life," Feldstein tells me. "There’s just no word that’s big enough to encapsulate how happy I am."

It's hard not to be happy for her, too. With a perpetual huge grin and an easygoing, "wait, have we met before?" vibe, Feldstein radiates warmth and familiarity, not to mention unfailing politeness. When she arrives at the studio for our interview, she insists that we listen to the photographer's favorite music, not her own; when an assistant compliments her shoes, she rushes to share where she got them (ASOS) and how much they cost ($30, on sale) so she's not the only one benefiting from the deal. Feldstein says she flip flops between which Lady Bird character she's most like, describing it the way a generation before her talked Sex and the City. When she's with her Lady Bird co-star "Saoirs," pronounced "Sheersh," she's the Julie, but with a childhood best friend, she's "totally the Lady Bird."

Ad failed to load

It's a fact that being around Feldstein makes you feel like you have a new best friend. She may not know you, but you know her, or at least she's very good at making you feel like you do. Which, she will tell you, is kind of the best. "It literally makes me tear up," she says (not tearing up, but you get the point), of her eternal BFF-ness. "That is the most beautiful thing anyone could say to me — that you feel like my friend. That is a dream for me, my true dream. My dream would be to be best friends with everybody."

Ashley Batz/Bustle

So far, she's succeeding. Between Ronan ("just effervescent"), Hedges ("like family"), and her high school BFF and Dear Evan Hansen star Ben Platt ("incredible"), Feldstein has racked up enough close pals to fill anyone's social calendar. But her friendship with Gerwig is special. The morning of the Oscar nominations, the duo had scheduled breakfast, but after word got out about Lady Bird's nods — including a history-making one for Gerwig as Best Director — Feldstein naturally presumed her pal would cancel. But Gerwig kept the plans. Driving over to meet her, Feldstein picked up bags of Cheetos and Diet Coke, the filmmaker's go-to snacks on set, to give as a congratulatory gift. The duo spent the morning "squealing and crying and freaking out," celebrating a victory that so many people already knew they deserved, but the Academy had now made official. "It was a day I will never forget," says Feldstein. "It was one of the sweetest moments I’ve ever had."

Ad failed to load

Chances are, Gerwig felt the same way, getting to celebrate her movie with the actor who helped give it the heartbreaking authenticity that's made it connect with $41.6 million worth of people — and counting.

Makeup: Gita Bass using Simple Skincare at Starworks Artists

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Here's Your Horoscope For Memorial Day Weekend

We’re constantly fascinated by what our zodiac sign says about our lives, whether it's which signs are most compatible or how each sign handles conflict in relationships. That's why Bustle has enlisted Mecca Woods, a New York City-based astrologer of…
By Mecca Woods

These Are The Absolute Best Memorial Day Sales This Year

Get your credit cards ready, because this year's fashion and beauty Memorial Day sales might just be the best ones yet. There's not only major savings for the holiday, but some of the savings start days before. You know, so you can spend the entire w…
By Kali Borovic

Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In June To Help Get Your Summer Started

Summer is right around the corner, and so is another batch of streaming options to get excited about. On Wednesday, everything leaving and coming to Netflix in June 2018 was announced by the streaming platform. And don't worry, there's something for …
By Jamie Primeau

These Are The Beauty Products That Came Out In May That You DEFINITELY Need On Your Radar

For beauty lovers, months aren't just months: They're 28 to 31 day periods, wherein any and all product and brand launches can happen — and when they do, it feels like your birthday, no matter what time of the year you were actually born. The May 201…
By Amanda Richards

The 5 Rom-Coms You Need To Read This Summer, According To Someone Who Writes Them

'Tis the season for rom-coms. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and everyone is rocking the flirtiest items in their wardrobe. I don't know about you, but summer always takes me back to my teenage years — and that automatically makes me want t…
By Cristina Arreola

11 Tiny Sunglasses That Will Make You Look Even Cooler Than Kylie Jenner

You know what they say — the tinier the sunglasses, the more stylish the outfit. OK, that's not really a saying, but it seems to be the case these days. Basically every celebrity, model, and It person has been spotted sporting tiny sunglasses as part…
By Sara Tan

I've Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000

It all became real the summer before my senior year of college. It was 2010, and my home phone still had a cord, which I wrapped around my fingers as I waited not-so-patiently for the apathetic representative on the other end to tell me the bad news …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

12 Personality Quizzes That Will Help You Determine Your Exact Strengths

Learning more about yourself can be tough. It's so easy to observe others to learn what makes them tick, what areas they really excel in, and the things they could be better at. Doing that to yourself, however, is a whole different story. That's exac…
By Jessica Booth

5 Brand New Short Story Collections You Can Finish In One Sitting This Weekend

Since 2013, May has been known by book-lovers by another name: Short Story Month. If you're ready to kick off this year's celebration the right way, make sure to pick up a short story collection to read over the weekend. Modern life moves more than …
By Sadie Trombetta

I Got Styled By 'Queer Eye's Tan France & Realized I Still Have A Lot Of Fashion "Rules" To Unlearn

When I walked into a New York City Express store on May 2 to get styled by Queer Eye's Tan France, I was ready for anything. And I mean truly anything. I am such a massive fan of the show and Tan that if he had instructed me to wrap myself in tin foi…
By Olivia Muenter

It Isn’t Bad To Have A “Princess Fantasy” — Mine Made Me The Woman I Am Today

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you were anything like me as a kid, at some point, the answer to that question was "a princess." Thanks to good old-fashioned gender stereotypes, most little girls born in the '90s (and even now) grew up in…
By Nicole Pomarico

Here’s How To Get A FREE 30-Minute Facial At Sephora That Sucks Your Pores Clean

Sephora has long been a mecca for both serious and amateur beauty lovers alike, where they not only have makeup artists that help answer questions about products, but free samples to let you play with new collections. But now they have upped the ante…
By Marlen Komar

Kris Jenner Is FINALLY Launching A Makeup Line With Kylie

Maybe you don't have a favorite sister of the Kar-Jenner clan, and that's perfectly fine. The one thing you can't deny, though, is that when it comes power, no one in that family has more than the world famous momager. Now, Kris Jenner x Kylie Cosmet…
By Shea Simmons

This Kendall Jenner “Diva” Moment Is Really Being Taken Out Of Context

The fashion always takes center stage at the Met Gala, but there's usually a little drama, too. And this time, a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is involved. People are buzzing about how Kendall Jenner shoved someone at the Met Gala, but after…
By Nicole Pomarico

Feel Like You've Seen Everything On Netflix? Add These Movies To Your Watch List

The weekend may feel too far away, but if you're lacking formal plans, a Netflix marathon session is always a good idea. If you're an avid viewer, however, you probably feel like you've seen everything the streaming platform has to offer already. In …
By Ashley Rey

Hillary Clinton Says She's Ready To Fight Like A Republican — EXCLUSIVE

Hillary Clinton Is Not Going Away Quietly. Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Unlike Losers Before Her, Clinton Is Not Going Gently Into the Night. These headlines, which appeared in various news outlets over the course of the last…
By Catherine Thompson and Jenny Hollander

Here's The Very Best Time To Book Your Summer Vacation If You're Trying To Save Money

Summer is a great time to travel, for obvious reasons. The weather is better. Many offices are more lax about time off. If you have kids, they’re out of school. But there’s one very important element that makes summer not a great time to travel: Cost…
By Emma McGowan