She was considered “moderate” and “cautious” back in 1993 when President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court. But these days, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg enjoys a newfound status as a liberal icon.
She was featured in not one, but two major film efforts last year — On the Basis of Sex and RBG, a documentary of her life. The 85-year-old justice, who is still confined to her home while recovering from surgery, was “very happy” after being informed that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to nominate RBG for an Oscar.
“She sounded good, strong,” the excited RBG filmmakers reported. “She was very happy.”
RBG, released in 2018, has been nominated for best feature documentary. Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen called Ginsburg with the exciting news on Tuesday morning.
“We were excited to be the ones to give Justice Ginsburg the good news that RBG has been nominated for Best Documentary,” they told CNN. “We reached her on the phone at her home in Washington this morning. She congratulated us and said the nomination was ’eminently well-deserved.’ She sounded strong and cheerful and said she is writing opinions and continuing to stay on top of work.”
However, Ginsburg isn’t likely to make an appearance at the Academy Awards show, set for Feb. 24, “given that she’s recovering from major surgery and has a really important job to get back to,” Cohen said.
“It has been a part of a national conversation of her life and the values she represents and what she accomplished in her life and the meaning of it going forward. It’s been rewarding,” West said of the documentary, which was created by a top crew of all women. “When we began making this documentary, we were really focused on telling Justice Ginsburg’s extraordinary story.”
Hollywood pays homage
Another Ginsburg film, On the Basis of Sex, which focuses on her younger years and her fight against sex discrimination, was released in December. Starring Felicity Jones as a young Ginsburg, the film features a cameo by the justice herself.
The justice will also be featured with a cameo in the upcoming animated Lego Movie 2, due out in February. Of course, there will be a special Ginsburg Lego minifigure made to go with the movie. Ginsburg’s reaction? “Cool.”
All eyes on Ginsburg
In the wake of the confirmation of two new conservative Supreme Court justices — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — the focus has naturally shifted to Ginsburg, the oldest member of the Supreme Court. The justice has said she won’t retire as long as she can work “full steam.” And she hopes to do that at least as long as Trump, who she once called “a faker,” is in office.
But in the past few months, she has suffered several health challenges, including a fall which left her with three broken ribs. After the fall, doctors discovered cancer in her lungs which required major surgery in December.
Ginsburg’s absence from the bench during recovery has prompted increased speculation that she might be forced to retire while Trump still has the opportunity to appoint another Supreme Court nominee.
A third Trump appointee would solidify the court’s conservative lean for decades to come — a scenario so troubling to liberals that some even offered to donate body parts if necessary to keep the justice on the bench a little longer.