Emerald Fennell was seven months pregnant when she directed Promising Young Woman in 2019, welcoming her first child — a baby boy — three weeks after filming wrapped

By Benjamin VanHoose and Topher Gauk-Roger
April 26, 2021 09:21 AM
Advertisement

Emerald Fennell is expecting!

The Promising Young Woman writer/director, 35, debuted her baby bump on the red carpet of the 2021 Academy Awards Sunday night in a Gucci gown.

In the press room after the show, Fennell was asked about her acceptance for Best Original Screenplay, during which she noted that she had thanked Saved by the Bell protagonist Zack Morris — a.k.a. her "very first husband" — in a similar speech at age 10. "First of all, Zack Morris is trending now on Twitter because of you," the reporter said, asking, "And because you have an Oscar in your hand and you are pregnant, will that now become one of the names you might potentially call your child?"

The star responded, "Well, you know, actually, if Zack Morris doesn't mind this situation, I think we should just really give it a go."

Fennell also addressed her pregnancy during ABC's Oscars After Dark, touching her belly while joking, "I'm working on another project. This project is making me very cranky and tired."

The British filmmaker is already a mom of one with husband Chris. In fact, she directed Promising Young Woman while seven months pregnant, making the tight schedule even hastier given her approaching due date. She went on to give birth to her son three weeks after the film wrapped production, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday.

Emerald Fennell
Emerald Fennell
| Credit: Todd Wawrychuk / A.M.P.A.S.

Fennell, who's also known for playing Camilla Parker Bowles on The Crown, was nominated for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. She took home the latter, beating out Will Berson and Shaka King (Judas and the Black Messiah), Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), Darius Marder and Abraham Marder (Sound of Metal) and Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7).

"They said write a speech and I didn't because just I didn't think this would ever happen. Am I going to be in trouble with Steven Soderbergh? I'm so sorry, I don't want him to be so cross with me," Fennell quipped. (Soderbergh, 58, was the producer of the ceremony this year.)

"The only speech I ever wrote was when I was 10 and I had a look to see if there would be anything useful from it but unfortunately I mostly thanked Zack Morris from Saved By the Bell. He was my very first husband," she joked. "Unfortunately, he hasn't been a part of my life as much as I had hoped so that speech is not that useful. But all I can say is — I'm trying very hard not to cry, which is very difficult as an English person, because I don't cry ever — this film was made by the most incredible people in the world."

Fennell, who is the first woman to take home the trophy in the category in 13 years, went on to thank the "greatest" cast and crew, including star Carey Mulligan, for helping make the film possible. She also gave her son a special shoutout, joking that she was thankful that he was not born until after the movie was done filming.

RELATED VIDEO: Carey Mulligan on Why Promising Young Woman Struck a Nerve: "There's So Much to Unpack"

Fennell previously explained to Deadline how being pregnant helped her on set during the 23-day shoot for Promising Young Woman.

"I was so pregnant and I think that really helped because in general, I care deeply, pathetically what people think about me," she said. "I just chose the worst possible career in every way for that personality trait. The idea of people not liking me and thinking I'm difficult, all those things, is just dreadful to me."

"But luckily," she continued, "when you're carting around a massive baby and you're about to give birth, you don't have the time to be anxious. I was like a literal ticking time bomb, which I think gave me this weird power for myself."

Fennell is currently working on a stage production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cinderella for the West End, now in rehearsals.

The 93rd Academy Awards aired live on Sunday, April 25, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.