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April 14, 2010

Kathryn Bigelow Wins Breast Director Award

So remember last month when Kathryn Bigelow made Academy Awards history by being the first woman ever to win the Oscar for Best Director? You may have thought that she won because her film, The Hurt Locker (also the winner for Best Picture) had the best directing. 

But apparently the Oscar for Best Director has nothing to do with directing and everything to do with breasts! 

Or at least that's Signourney Weaver's take on it. In a recent interview with the Brazilian news site Folha Online, she explained the obvious cause of James Cameron's loss to Bigelow: no breasts.
"Jim didn't have breasts, and I think that was the reason. He should have taken home that Oscar."
Wow. Nothing is sadder than being such a sore-loser crybaby that you feel the need to pull the gender card. It's just all the more upsetting coming from another woman (great "sisterhood" moment).

Even if you feel that Bigelow wasn't the right decision for Best Director, that doesn't mean that the Academy gave it to her just for being female. If they truly only cared about making history, they could've given it to a woman ages ago.

And even if you do truly believe that the fact that there was a strong female contender in this year's race added some extra momentum, there's a much more diplomatic way to make that point without dismissing Bigelow's accomplishment and talent.

As Melissa Silverstein put it over at Women & Hollywood:

I know that [Weaver] loves Cameron. He gave her some of her greatest parts. But really, do you have to diss a fellow hard working director? And I find it interesting to have a very high profile woman diss another high profile woman. Well, we all love the catfight. Ugh.

The whole conversation makes me very sad. It does nothing except tarnishing Bigelow’s win. Would anyone be talking about this is Tarantino or one of the other guys had won over Cameron?
Even Vera Farmiga, star of Up in the Air, said she was rooting for Bigelow over Jason Reitman (who directed Up in the Air). So why can't Sigourney Weaver be a gracious loser?

Maybe James Cameron didn't take home the Oscar for Best Director because the movie he directed sucked. Apparently, Weaver also has a theory on why The Hurt Locker beat Cameron's Avatar for Best Picture:
"In the past, Avatar would have won because they [Oscar voters] loved to hand out awards to big productions, like Ben-Hur. Today it's fashionable to give the Oscar to a small movie that nobody saw."
Okay. So let me get this straight. The Best Director is based on breasts instead of directing... and Best Picture isn't about how good a movie actually is, but instead how big or small it is. Gotcha. Now Weaver does have a point about Hurt Locker being a small movie that "nobody" saw... It only grossed about $40 million worldwide, compared with Avatar's $2.7 billion. But since when does the Academy bases the votes on how much money a film makes? (Watch out Twilight saga!) Sometimes popularity - and more often, hype and overpricing - can make a lot of money for a crap film, but that doesn't mean every crap film deserves an Oscar.

No offense, but maybe Avatar didn't win Best Picture because it just wasn't good enough. And maybe James Cameron didn't win Best Director because he just wasn't good enough. (We're sure he's a great director, but maybe this time Bigelow was just better and the fact that she was female was just icing.)

Avatar has been met with a lot of mixed reviews...

Some people loved it; some people felt it was technically and visually stunning but lacking in other areas. Some people felt it was a racist, sexist, ableist, heterosexist (and possibly transphobic) white guilt fantasy. Some people felt it was a predictable regurgitation of several other movies (our favorite optional titles were "Blue Pocahantas" and "Dances With Smurfs")...

And a lot of people thought it just plain old sucked.

Avatar won Oscars for Art Direction, Visual Effects, and Cinematography, which many people would argue were well deserved. But maybe, just maybe, the members of the Academy just liked the Hurt Locker better and Bigelow's breasts had nothing to do with it.

Although James Cameron certainly did consider breasts when making Avatar, as he explained in a creepy interview with Playboy:
PLAYBOY: How much did you get into calibrating your movie heroine’s hotness?

CAMERON: Right from the beginning I said, “She’s got to have tits,” even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na’vi, aren’t placental mammals. [emphasis mine]
Nothing like hearing a brilliant director explain his vision. Stay classy, James Cameron!


And just a little bonus for you readers! Here's an actual "conversation" we had about this story:
Lilith: Even if you don't agree that Kathryn Bigelow was the brest director...

Jezebel: 'Brest'? or Breast?

Lilith: OMG! Best director! Unintentional typo!

Jezebel: Perfect typo.

Lilith: Well there's my title right there!

Jezebel: 'Breast Director'

Lilith: Oh shit wait! The source on this article is the New York Post, so I bet they used that already. They always have the best/worst pun headlines.

Jezebel: No, it's just called "Sigourney Weaver Attacks Oscar Voters".

Lilith: That's it? They must be slipping.

Jezebel: New York Post, we are disappointed in you.

9 comments:

David Rice said...

Weaver is being a sore loser.

Gretchen.Engle said...

Psst, Sigourney, your bitterness is showing. Might want to keep an eye on that.

Marika said...

Weaver is definitely being a sore loser, but personally, I really liked Avatar.

Original story? Maybe not, but the character and environmental design were beautiful, it was technically really amazing and the technological advancements developed for this movie are huge, the acting was good, the soundtrack was great. It wasn't trying to be original, just to do the same old thing well, and it needed the familiar elements for the audience to relate to. Female Na'vi have breasts? Well, they are otherwise very human-shaped, and we needed to understand Sully's attraction to Neytiri, so her having one of the main elements of female attractiveness to many people makes sense.

Sexist/racist/ableist? Most likely, but that's because, in the real world, people are. The Na'vi were based, culturally off of a cultural type that, while a stereotype, is/was also very common among primitive human peoples. Again, gives the audience something to relate to, because they already know the story.

It wasn't trying to be a great original story with deep moral messages, it was trying to be good entertainment with amazing cinematography and was a huge milestone for digital and 3D technology.

I'm not saying it's better than Hurt Locker (which I haven't seen, but mean to), or that it deserved the award more, and it's not perfect, but I didn't see it trying to push sexist/racist/etc views, just telling a story, and many of the arguments towards prejudice I've seen have strong arguments to the contrary.

Lilith said...

Avatar's reviews have been extremely mixed. That doesn't mean it sucked (although a lot of people thought it did) but it also doesn't mean it deserved the Oscar (although a lot of people thought it did). The point is that the majority of the members of the Academy decided that the Hurt Locker deserved Best Picture and Kathryn Bigelow deserved Best Director over Avatar and James Cameron. The idea that her being female was the main factor is offensive. (And truthfully who knows if Avatar was even the second choice, so even if Bigelow's gender did play a role, that doesn't mean Cameron would've won if she hadn't.)

Marika, the elements of Avatar that you mentioned (the technological/design elements) were rewarded with awards for Cinematography, Visual Effects and Art Direction.

Marika said...

I realize Avatar's reviews were mixed and that it had shortcomings. I will reiterate that I do not think the award was wrongly given, and I wholeheartedly agree that suggesting the award was given because of Bigelow's gender is extremely offensive--to the Academy, to Bigelow, to women in general, and, truth be told, to Cameron.

Avatar's reviews have been mixed, and I was voicing disagreement with certain of them, which are the ones you seem to be putting the most weight in. You can't play unbiased when a couple months ago you called the movie "ultimately worthless."

Directing a movie means pulling together all the elements and, well, directing what is done with the script. Though Cameron was one of the writers, the quality of the script/story should play no part in who is the "best director" (that's what "best movie is for"--the movie that had all of the elements in the right place), so a movie that is stunning visually with compelling acting and good timing should not be less eligible because of issues with the writing. Lord of the Rings is arguably one of the most generic storylines ever, with few female characters (and those were repressed) and no non-white characters unless you count the Orcs, and it (the last one at least) won many awards including best director because it was a well-directed, amazing entertainment experience.

Again, I'm not saying that Avatar should have won, but don't play it down. Really, it's more of an achievement for Bigelow to have won over a movie that had so much energy put into the direction.

Lilith said...

Well, I never said I was unbiased... I personally think that Avatar is a big pile of SUCK (and James Cameron strikes me as a major douche - that Playboy interview was totally gross). But I'm not saying my opinion has to be the right one and I don't actually disagree with most of your first comment.

However, I linked to the negative and mixed reviews not to prove that Avatar sucked, but as a way of refuting Weaver's claim that it would have/should have won (if not for Bigelow's breasts). My point was to show that there were plenty of people out there who didn't like it (for various reasons) and therefore it's not outrageous to think that perhaps there were plenty of Academy members who felt the same way.

Your points about directing are valid, but again, Weaver didn't just say he was robbed of the Best Director award but of the Best Picture too. I also have to question whether the acting actually was so "compelling", but that's a whole other conversation, lol. (And don't even get me started on Lord of the Rings!)

Anonymous said...

I think you commentors are missing the point. Ms. Weaver is jealous of Jamie Lee Curtis, an actor that she has often been confused with. Ms. Curtis has perfect breasts. See: "Trading Places" an 80's movie in which she portrays a prostitute (with a good heart).

Marika said...

Okay, I guess I should be a little more direct with the point I was trying to get to.

Instead of saying, "Bigelow didn't win because she's female, she won because Avatar sucked," I look at it as, "Wow, how cool is it that the first woman to win Best Director won against the highest-grossing film ever, which had all these major fim making breakthroughs," even if you didn't like the film yourself per se.

White Male Oppressor said...

Nice post ladies. I laughed much. While I could definitly see a corolation to Dances with Wolves I clicked the links you so generiously provided for one such as myself where people were saying it was White guilt oriented, transphobic and the myriad of other accusations. All I can say is WOW these people need to get a life. While I can see how some oversensive types might go out on the ledge of racism on this movie. I have seen Avatar several times and over the last hour or after reading this post and the transphobia link, I tried to figure out the Transphobia angle and it still doesn't make sense. As far as Ms. Weaver goes She like most stars has the Hollywood sickness as I call it where reality and fantasy are one and the real world need not apply. Keep up the good posts and humor. Until next time: Courage