Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen discussed Little Women in candid interview.

By Joey Nolfi
December 10, 2019 at 12:15 PM EST

The leading ladies of Little Women are showing big-time support for their director.

In the wake of Saoirse Ronan’s Golden Globe nomination for leading Greta Gerwig‘s big-screen adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved 1868 novel of the same name, the actress and costar Florence Pugh have addressed Gerwig’s absence from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual crop of (all-male) Best Director contenders, a move many perceived to be a significant snub.

“I think we were totally shocked,” Pugh admitted of Gerwig’s omission during an appearance alongside Ronan and supporting actress Eliza Scanlen on Tuesday morning’s episode of the Today show.

“She has made one of the best movies of the year,” three-time Oscar nominee Ronan added. “It’s vital for something like this to happen, because it reminds us of how far obviously we still need to go.”

Since its 1944 inception, the Golden Globes have only given one Best Director trophy to a woman, when Barbra Streisand beat out Ingmar Bergman, Mike Nichols, Peter Yates, Bruce Beresford, and James L. Brooks to win for helming 1983’s Yentl. Gerwig was previously left out of the race in 2017, when the HFPA declined to nominate her for Lady Bird (also starring Ronan), a film that would ultimately score Gerwig a Best Director nomination at the Oscars.

“[Greta is] a really brilliant filmmaker. We wouldn’t be here without her,” Ronan continued of Gerwig’s vital contributions to the film, which also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score. “Our performances rely so much on one another, but Greta is the one who brought us all together, and she’s the mastermind of the whole thing.”

In the film, Ronan portrays iconic literary character Jo March, the leader of the March sisters (Emma Watson, Pugh, and Scanlen) who come of age (via romance and the pursuit of creative passions) in 1860s New England under the guidance of their mother (Laura Dern) and wealthy aunt (Meryl Streep). Critics have praised the film in recent weeks, highlighting Gerwig’s timely contemporary take on the feminist material.

Shortly after the HFPA announced her nomination Monday, Ronan released a statement in support of Gerwig in which she credited the filmmaker with her performance.

“Getting to play Jo March, one of the most inspiring characters in literature, still today, has been an honor. I am eternally grateful to Greta Gerwig for her guidance and partnership, and for her fierce perseverance that brought this incredible cast together and created an environment for us to become a real family and tell this very special story,” the statement read. “My performance in this film belongs to Greta as much as it does myself and I share this recognition completely with her.”

Little Women opens Dec. 25 in theaters nationwide. Watch Ronan, Pugh, and Scanlen discuss the film on Today above.

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