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March 8, 2010

Kathryn Bigelow: Queen of the World

SHE DID IT!!!!!!!

Kathryn Bigelow made history last night when she won Best Director - the first woman ever to receive the honor.

Her film, The Hurt Locker, also took home Oscars for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing (winning a total of six of its nine nominations).

Congrats to Bigelow! The media has been going wild over the fact that she won, which is great because she deserves the attention, but also sad... that it has taken so long. In fact, in the past 82 years there have only been three other women nominated for this award (Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties in 1975, Jane Campion for The Piano in 1993, and Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation in 2003) so yeah, it's about damn time.


"I hope I'm the first of many, and of course, I'd love to just think of myself as a filmmaker. And I long for the day when that modifier can be a moot point. But I'm very grateful if I can inspire some young, intrepid, tenacious male or female filmmaker and have them feel that the impossible is possible, and never give up on your dream." -- Kathryn Bigelow [Washington Examiner]


Of course, as with any groundbreaking or glass-ceiling shattering incident involving women... some of the stories tend to lean toward the sexist. (We all remember how the media obsessed over Diablo Cody being a "former stripper" after her win for Best Screenplay for Juno.) So what has the media decided to obsess over when it comes to Bigelow? Her ex and her looks. Of course. Who cares about the movies... when it comes to women, all anyone really cares about is her physical appearance and who she is or isn't fucking.



For those of you who don't know (although how could you not, the way the media has been shoving it down our throats for so long) Kathryn Bigelow and Avatar's James Cameron used to be married. And they both happened to have movies in the running for Best Picture. OMG! It's a battle of the sexes and a battle of the exes! Only... not so much. If you only read gossip blogs and entertainment websites, you'd think that The Hurt Locker and Avatar were the only films nominated for any awards all year and the Oscars would be the culmination of the biggest showdown in movie history!!!!!! (Even "bigger" than the uneventful Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie/Jennifer Aniston Oscar Ex-Plosion! from last year.)


Check out some actual story titles and quotes from this year's pre-Oscar award season coverage...


Kathryn Bigelow Looks Younger, Wins More Awards Than Ex, James Cameron


Bigelow beats her ex in a second category, her oddly youthful appearance. Believe it or not, Bigelow is 58. Cameron is 55. [Huffington Post]


Best-picture Oscar race is pure drama


James Cameron's Avatar was named best drama at Sunday's Golden Globe Awards. But Kathryn Bigelow, his ex-wife, picked up the best-film prize for Hurt Locker from the Broadcast Film Critics Association on Friday. The directors and their films are likely to square off at the Oscars. [USA Today]


James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow: Exes go from divorce contention to Oscar contention


This year's Oscars are being billed as the "battle of the exes," with flamboyant tech wizard James Cameron on one side, and Kathryn Bigelow, his thoughtful, shrinking violet of a former wife, on the other. [...]


But is this mutual "play nice" policy only to be expected in a town built on posture and artifice? Some within the industry suspect Bigelow would relish the opportunity to wipe the floor with her ex. [NY Daily News]


It's James Cameron vs. Kathryn Bigelow!


Forget saving the Navis. James Cameron's biggest mission these days should be to beat his ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, for a slew of awards! [...]


Even if there's not much animosity between these two anymore, it must be galling to compete with your ex spouse for a Golden Globe (and then there'll be the DGA and the Oscar and God knows what else).No matter how much affection might linger, it has to be the most awful thing on earth to risk losing an important trophy to the life partner you dumped! It's like having someone run you over, then take your limb 20 years later!


I mean, if an old boyfriend of mine beat me for the Oscar, I'd beat him WITH the Oscar. [Village Voice]


The Bigelow/Cameron Oscar Face-Off Is a Battle of Good vs. Evil


Kathryn Bigelow, Cameron's ex-wife and the director of The Hurt Locker, has a good shot at beating him for both the best director and best picture Oscars this year gives me a sense of anticipatory schadenfreude like you would not believe. For all I know, James and Kathryn speak on the phone every day and wish each other's movies nothing but good fortune, but anyone who's ever watched as a smug ex goes on to enormous success has to place him- or herself squarely in Bigelow's camp. It's almost a good-vs.-evil thing. [Slate]


Avatar Owes Hurt Locker Alimony


What really added the sting to Cameron’s second victory was Kathryn Bigelow in the audience, who directed the Iraq war drama TheHurt Locker. Seven critics' groups named Bigelow the year’s best director, while five called her film best picture. No critical circle gave Cameron a best director nod for Avatar. [The XX Factor]


Well, Kathryn Bigelow is hotter than James Cameron


While The Hurt Locker isn't exactly my favorite film of last year, it's the perfect "I'm okay with _____ winning so long as ______ and _______ doesn't." [Fin de Cinema]


James Cameron And Kathryn Bigelow Oscar Rivalry Is Just One Of Many Feuds Between Famous Former Flames


While vengeful grudges are more often seen in Hollywood's fictional output, there is the occasional awkward scrap between the industry's creative minds — and it only gets more awkward when former flames are involved.


At this year's Academy Awards, filmmakers James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow will go head-to-head in the Best Director category. It's a tight showdown between two deserving nominees to be sure, but it's made all the more interesting by the fact that Cameron and Bigelow were once married to one another. [MTV]


James Cameron and ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow vie for awards glory


Now, as the nominations for the Bafta awards appear to confirm, he faces one final adversary in the run-up to an apparently inevitable haul of Oscars: his former wife. [Times Online]

Kathryn Bigelow Vs. James Cameron: An Oscar-Themed Battle Of The Exes


Kathryn Bigelow, nominated for The Hurt Locker, is leading the pack of Vegas odds makers with her closest rival none other than her ex-husband, James Cameron. Don't you hate it when an ex spoils the party?


[...] This time, it's head to head. This time, it's personal. Why wouldn't Bigelow want to best her ex, especially when he reportedly left her for his lead actress in The Terminator? [Forbes]


Divorced Couple James Cameron & Kathryn Bigelow Make Oscar History -- Will Compete Against Each Other


Bigelow was Cameron’s third of five wives and she never re-married. Ironically it took him 15 years to release his sci-fi spectacular Avatar, yet it came-out in the same year as his former wife’s movie. [Radar Online]


And our personal "favorite" from The XX Factor:
James Cameron Is More "Feminine" Than Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker has earned as many Oscar nominations as her ex-husband James Cameron's Avatar, meaning that the media narrative of this Oscar season will surely constellate around the "Battle of the Sexes"—or "Battle of the Exes." A tiresome narrative, perhaps, but there is a way that their films do represent polar extremes.
No, really.  Of course, then when you click on the 'Read More' link, it brings you to the full article that has a different title...
James Cameron is More Sentimental Than Kathryn Bigelow


Cameron has a lavish feel for the tenderness (and violence) that springs up between men and aliens, whether the "aliens" be robotic machines or acid-blooded creatures who want to lay eggs in your throat. The dialogue in a Cameron movie is usually, as Hanna put it to me the other day, aggressively bad; Cameron is interested in dialogue only insofar as it positions the characters in his films for disaster. His characters are archetypes, always rushing onto the next archetypal moment, whether DiCaprio's Jack screaming "I'm on top of the world" from a boat, or Sigourney Weaver's Ripley growling "Get away from her, bitch!" as the queen alien menaces poor orphaned Newt.
Bigelow, by contrast, has a great directorial feel for the way dialogue creates texture and drama, and an eerie feel for the kinds of male relationships Cameron seems to care less about; you can see the evidence in The Hurt Locker and in Point Break. While Bigelow didn't write The Hurt Locker (Mark Boal did) or Point Break, she knows how to establish charged masculine space, and the dialogue between men in her films is at once natural and poignant. Perhaps that could seem like another version of men-are-action, women-are-talk, but it's not that simple, somehow. Cameron is, I think, the more sentimental filmmaker of the two; Bigelow may understand words, but it's the nonverbal energy between men she most memorably evokes.
Yep, because Sentimental = Feminine. And apparently Shitty Dialogue = Feminine.






The post-Oscar coverage hasn't been any less annoying...
And the Oscar for sweetest revenge on the ex? James Cameron won the divorce... but Kathryn Bigelow got the top prize


It was the night when the ex-wife finally had her revenge - and more than 80 years of Oscar history was overturned. [...]


Meanwhile, 58-year-old Bigelow - director of the Iraq war thriller The Hurt Locker - had slightly different motives for wanting the Oscar. Even if she is too polite to say it, what could be better than beating a former husband at his own game (particularly when the consensus is that he won hands- down in the divorce courts)? [Daily Mail]


Happiness Is The Best Revenge
James Cameron mimes choking his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow after she beat him out for Best Director and Best Picture last night at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. [Guanabee]


How about Yahoo Movie's Oscar Red Carpet Fashion Report Card? We confess, we do love to look at the red carpet fashion.... but it's annoying that the women of the Oscars are still "judged" by what they wear - and "how well" they wear it, while the men get high scores for all wearing practically the exact same thing.
Kathryn Bigelow - Grade: D


Although she looked a tad uncomfortable in her taupe gown, the night belonged to “The Hurt Locker’s” Bigelow, who became the first woman ever to win an Oscar for Best Director. Can you believe James Cameron’s Amazonian ex is 58?!
And of course, leave it to Perez Hilton to always get right to the heart of the issue:
Kathryn Bigelow Got Better Seat At he Oscars Than Ex James Cameron!




But we don't want to dwell on the negative. Oh who are we kidding, we live to dwell on the negative! But we're not going to anymore. No matter how stupid the press coverage might be, this is still a momentous occasion. After 82 years of Academy Awards, we finally have the first female Best Director.

And it makes it all the more special that the award for Best Picture was announced at just about midnight last night/this morning... on International Women's Day. That timing also reminds us that there are lots of talented women around the world making films and being artistic and creative, and we've got to pay attention and be supportive of them so that we'll have more Kathryn Bigelow moments to look forward to in the future.




Related: Can Oscar ever really be gender neutral?

2 comments:

Batocchio said...

Well, Diablo Cody also played up that story because it made for a good bit, but yes, the media overdid it.

Also, do you remember Emma Thompson winning her Oscar and being asked what debt she owed to her then ex-husband Kenneth Branagh? Thompson handled it graciously, but I would have liked to slug the reporter and apologize to Thompson on behalf of America.

When Cameron won the Golden Globe for Best Director (although outright bribery works for those awards), he said "I thought Kathryn should have won this." Apparently, they're pretty amicable, and they've always liked the same sorts of flicks. The Hurt Locker is a good film, as is Near Dark and some of her others. I was glad to see her win.

French filmmaker Diane Kurys, who came to prominence in the 80s, didn't like "women's" film festivals and the like because she just wanted to be seen as a filmmaker. Such festivals serve a purpose, though. And some of the dynamics should change over time. For instance, there are far more female cinematography students and cinematographers than, say, 20 years ago. It used to be that in the technical trades women were only editors and occasionally sound editors, and that's opened up a great deal. Female writers, producers and execs aren't that unusual, and that is often the power track. More directing gigs for women should come - and they do exist, but they tend to be more in TV and documentaries and indies versus studio narrative features still. The trick for anybody, regardless of their demographic, is getting an opportunity, because Hollywood has never been a meritocracy.

Lilith said...

Hm, I don't know if Diablo Cody really 'played up' her stripper background. She first became well known because of her blog and book about being a stripper. But she's been quoted often about how with Juno she as a person was almost as much of the story as the movie itself and how that sucked. Even now, it's not "screenwriter Diablo Cody" or "author Diablo Cody" it's "stripper-turned-________ Diablo Cody". Like, let's get over it already Hollywood!