For ‘Dunkirk’ producer Emma Thomas, 8 Oscar noms are ‘the cream on top of the cake’

"Dunkirk" producers Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas at the 2018 Golden Globes in January.
“Dunkirk” producers Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas at the 2018 Golden Globes in January.
(Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

“Dunkirk” producer Emma Thomas is a bit superstitious, she said Tuesday morning, so she didn’t set her alarm to hear the Oscar nominations in real time. Besides, with four kids, their place is busy enough in the morning even on an ordinary day.

Then, she said, “I looked at my phone and it was just going crazy.... I have to say it was a wonderful way to wake up.”

No doubt: The World War II movie that hit big at the summer box office garnered eight nominations, including the first directing nod for Thomas’ husband, Christopher Nolan, and a best-picture nomination for both of them.


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With Time’s Up and everything that’s been happening in the industry, what’s it like being nominated for a movie with an essentially all-male cast?

Time’s Up is a great thing, and I’m very happy that things are finally feeling like they’re beginning to change for women. As a female producer, I’m well aware of the issues.

We told the story we told. On other movies — we always try to put women in our films wherever we can. In “Interstellar,” the character played [at different ages] by Jessica Chastain and McKenzie Foy, that was actually a male character in the original script. We changed that into a woman. We do it where we can.

The thing about “Dunkirk” was that we were telling the story of an ordinary guy, an ordinary soldier, and the experience of the ordinary soldier was that they were not seeing women on that beach. We didn’t want to shoehorn women into a story where they weren’t.

It is a male story. I think the great thing about where things are now is that I think there are going to be many more films with many more diverse stories, and that’s fantastic. That includes stories about men.

Your husband previously called “Dunkirk” a “popcorn movie.” How do you feel about getting so many nominations for a big summer release?

We don’t make movies for awards. We definitely make movies for audiences. And so the fact that audiences embraced this movie, that was the prize for us. The fact that we’ve been recognized by the academy on top of that, that is obviously incredible and we are hugely excited. But it’s kind of the cream on top of the cake.

Anything special planned for the rest of the day?

My son is in the car right now. I’m driving him to school, as per usual. It’s going to be an ordinary day.

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