Nicole Holofcener

Nicole Holofcener (/ˈhɒləfˌsɛnər/; born March 22, 1960) is an American film and television director and screenwriter. She has directed five feature films, including Friends with Money and Enough Said, as well as various television series. Holofcener was a student of director Martin Scorsese. Along with Jeff Whitty, Holofcener received a 2019 Academy Award nomination for Adapted Screenplay and won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film Can You Ever Forgive Me?.

Nicole Holofcener
Born (1960-03-22) March 22, 1960 (age 60)
EducationNew York University (BFA)
Columbia University (MFA)
Years active1982–present
Benjamin Allanoff
(m. 1993; div. 2002)
Parent(s)Lawrence Holofcener
Carol Holofcener
FamilyCharles H. Joffe (stepfather)

Life and careerEdit

Holofcener was born to a secular Jewish family[1] in New York City, the younger of two daughters of artist Lawrence Holofcener and set decorator Carol Joffe (née Shapiro).[2][3] Her elder sister is Suzanne Holofcener.[2] Nicole's parents divorced when she was a year old.[4] When she was eight, her mother married film producer Charles H. Joffe, who moved the family to Hollywood.

Since her stepfather produced Woody Allen's films, Holofcener spent enough time on Allen's sets to be an extra in Take the Money and Run and Sleeper.[5] Joffe was responsible for Holofcener's first "real" job in the movie industry: a production assistant on Woody Allen's A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy in 1982. She moved up to apprentice editor for Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

Holofcener's first experiences with film as a child left her either frightened or sad; she recalled her fright at Jerry Lewis's The Nutty Professor. Returning east to college, Holofcener originally wanted to become an artist like her father, but felt she wasn't as talented as others in her classes. From there, she gravitated into taking film courses.[5] She studied film at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and at Columbia University, and made two shorts titled Angry[6] and It's Richard I Love.[7] While at Columbia, she was taught by Martin Scorsese.[8]

After viewing one of her college works, her stepfather wondered aloud if she shouldn't make a career change. Disappointed, she became a clerk at a video store for a while, then entered Columbia's graduate school program.[5] At the time of his death in 2008,[9] Charles Joffe had become one of the most ardent fans of his stepdaughter's work.[5] Angry received critical praise at Sundance.[5][10] Holofcener has been viewed as an indie filmmaker despite the financial and critical success of her feature-length films.[11] Many of the conventions of independent film are found in her movies.[11] Many of Holofcener's films are shot on location during their production.[12]

Much of Holofcener's work has a realistic style,[13] but her films do not always have a typical plot structure and are sometimes obscure.[14] Holofcener portrays typical, "everyday" middle-class people and their actions, like the characters in Please Give.[12] Holofcener's films almost always feature a female character in the lead.[11]

Feature film careerEdit

Holofcener made her feature film writing and directing debut in 1996 with Walking and Talking, which starred Catherine Keener, Anne Heche, Todd Field, Liev Schreiber, and Kevin Corrigan.[7][15] The film was critically acclaimed.[16] Her understanding of modern, professional women made her an ideal choice to direct female-centric television shows like Sex and the City, Leap of Faith and Gilmore Girls.[7] Holofcener also worked on an episode of the U.S. adaptation of Cold Feet.[11]

She followed in 2001 with her second feature, Lovely and Amazing.[17] Featuring performances by Catherine Keener, Brenda Blethyn, Emily Mortimer and newcomer Raven Goodwin, the film was not only critically acclaimed[7] but did well at the box office.[citation needed]

After directing two episodes of the series Six Feet Under, Holofcener began work on her third film, Friends with Money, which featured Jennifer Aniston, Joan Cusack, Frances McDormand, and Catherine Keener. The film opened the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and its screenplay was nominated for the 2006 Independent Spirit Award, while McDormand won the award for Best Supporting Female.[18] The film received a limited release on April 7, 2006.

Holofcener's fourth feature, Please Give, premiered at Sundance and was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival. The film also won Holofcener the Robert Altman Award.[19] The film also gained Holofcener a nomination with the Writers Guild of America Awards for Best Original Screenplay.[20] It stars Keener in the duo's fourth collaboration and was released in 2010.[5][8] The film also features Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Amanda Peet, and Sarah Steele.[21]

Holofcener followed this up with Enough Said starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, and Catherine Keener. The film premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The romantic comedy follows the character Eva, a recent divorcée.[22] Eva falls in love unexpectedly and discovers her new love interest is the ex-husband of her friend.[22] To date, Enough Said is Holofcener's most financially successful film.[23] The film was officially released on September 20, 2013, a few months after Gandolfini's death.

In 2015, it was announced that Holofcener was set to direct an adaptation of Lee Israel's memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me?, with Julianne Moore in consideration for the lead role.[24] However, later that year, Moore left the project.[citation needed] Eventually Melissa McCarthy was selected for the lead role. The film—ultimately directed by Marielle Heller—was well-received by critics after being released on October 19, 2018, garnering Holofcener an Academy Award nomination and won the WGA awards for the film's screenplay.

Amazon's One Mississippi[25] featured Holofcener as the director for the pilot.[23] The series is written by Tig Notaro and Diablo Cody.[23] Notaro also starred in the series, which was produced by Louis C.K.[23]








  1. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi (June 27, 2002). "Isn't She 'Lovely?'". Jewish Journal.
  2. ^ a b Rochlin, Margy (June 23, 2002). "FILM; Just Like Her Family: Complicated". New York Times.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Thomson, David (May 6, 2014). The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. Knopf. p. 492. ISBN 9780375711848.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Erickson, Steve (May 2010). "The Lovely and Amazing Nicole Holofcener". LA Magazine. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  6. ^ Loynd, Ray (July 2, 1993). "'Short Film Festival' Opens 'Alive' Season". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d Bozzola, Lucia. "Nicole Holofcener". All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Taylor, Ella (April 20, 2010). "Nicole Holofcener On Her New Film Please Give". The Village Voice. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  9. ^ Woo, Elaine (July 12, 2008). "Talent agent co-produced most Woody Allen films". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  10. ^ Turan, Kenneth (January 20, 2010). "The festival's eternal conflicts: commerce vs. art". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  11. ^ a b c d Nelmes, Jill (2007). Introduction to Film Studies. London: Routledge. pp. 280–282.
  12. ^ a b Perkins, Claire (January 1, 2014). "Beyond Indiewood: The Everyday Ethics of Nicole Holofcener". Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies. 29 (1 85): 137–159. doi:10.1215/02705346-2408543. ISSN 0270-5346.
  13. ^ "Why I Love: Nicole Holofcener". Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  14. ^ Smith, Neil. "Five ways to tell you're watching a Nicole Holofcener movie | Neil Smith". the Guardian. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  15. ^ Thomas, Kevin (July 17, 1996). "'Walking and Talking' Is a Wry Look at Friendships". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  16. ^ Allon, Yorma; Cullen, Del; Patterson, Hannah, eds. (2002). Contemporary North American Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide. Wallflower Press. p. 560. ISBN 1-903364-52-3. Retrieved December 10, 2010. 1960 Nicole Holofcener -wikipedia.
  17. ^ Thomas, Kevin (June 20, 2002). "A Mom's Tale Kicks Off L.A. Festival". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  18. ^ "Friends with Money awards". May 1, 2009. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  19. ^ "Nicole Holofcener | Columbia University School of the Arts". Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  20. ^ "Please Give". Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  21. ^ "Please Give Official Site". Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  22. ^ a b Festival, Toronto International Film. " | Enough Said". TIFF. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  23. ^ a b c d "Nicole Holofcener to Direct Amazon's Tig Notaro Comedy (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  24. ^ Kroll, Justin. "Julianne Moore to Star in Nicole Holofcener's 'Can You Ever Forgive Me' (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  25. ^ One Mississippi IMDB page, Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  26. ^ McNary, Dave (May 31, 2016). "Melissa McCarthy to Play Novelist and Literary Forger Lee Israel (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved May 31, 2016.

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