Fort Worth actress says Oscar-nominated film changed her career

Texas actress talks about absence of women at the Oscars

DALLAS - You might know her as Mayor Lucy Rodell in "Friday Night Lights." 

What you may not know, is that the role was originally meant for a man until Libby Villari's audition. 

The role that changed the DFW actress's career, was that of Grandma in "Boyhood," a ground-breaking film shot over a period of 12 years, about a boy growing up in Texas. 

It won Golden Globes, SAG and Spirit awards. It also earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture in 2015. 

Ultimately, Patricia Arquette took home the film's only Academy Award, for best supporting actress. 

Still, just being part of an Oscar-nominated film was a shot in the arm for Villari's career. 

"[The Oscars] are the pinnacle of movie-making," she said. 

She was immediately asked to appear in Grey's Anatomy. She attended Oscar parties in Los Angeles before the big night. 

When she's not on screen, Villari lives just outside Fort Worth. 

WFAA caught up with her Saturday at the Dallas Comedy House, where she was a panelist at the Dallas Women in Film Oscars brunch. 

"Let's face it. Women are expected to do it all," she told the crowd. 

She says, every year, the Oscars have a void. "The absence of women," she said. "The absence of women nominated."

Yes, there are two categories, just for women -- best actress and supporting actress.

Behind the scenes, this year, there are no female directors nominated for an Oscar. A woman has never been nominated for cinematography, said Women in Film Dallas.

"We just want people to understand and see that women can compete. That they can do every aspect of this business, every single aspect of it," said Villari.

She's heartened to see more nominees of color this year after the Academy Awards received criticism in the past for a lack of diversity. 

"Pressure needs to be placed, and then it will happen," said Villari.

"To everyone out there who has a dream, don't give up on it," she said. 

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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