This Sunday, Oscar history may very well be made: the Academy may award its first Best Director award to a woman. This would be an awesome step for women directors—which is actually a term the nominee in question, Kathryn Bigelow, isn’t too fond of. In an interview with 60 Minutes this past Sunday, Bigelow revealed her ambivalence about the potentially groundbreaking award.
"There's really no difference between what I do and what a male filmmaker might do. I mean we all try to make our days, we all try to give the best performances we can, we try to make our budget, we try to make the best movie we possibly can. So in that sense it's very similar. On the other hand, I think the journey for women, no matter what venue it is - politics, business, film - it's a long journey," she said.
Bigelow has already won the Best Directing award from the Director’s Guild of America (and, again, was the first woman to take that award) and is wildly favored, even by ex-husband James Cameron (who is also nominated for the same award), to take the Oscar. But he is also acutely aware of the surrounding circumstances.
In the same 60 Minutes special, Cameron notes: "I think it's an irresistible story to finally be able to award the very first directing Oscar to a woman and Kathryn, you know, I mean, I'm sure she'll be very ambivalent about this because she'll be of a mind that, wait a minute, I want to win for the work. I don't want to win because I'm a woman. But I think it’s irresistible at the moment of voting, that story."
Despite all this, the fact remains that Bigelow directed a solid film. The fact that her tiny $11-million-dollar-budget movie can stand toe-to-toe with the highest-grossing movie of all time speaks volumes. Personally, I’m rooting for her. And it would be nice to have a woman break into that particular boy’s club. But, as always… may the best film win.
We reviewed The Hurt Locker in our June/July ’09 issue, which can be ordered from our Boobtique here.
Image of Kathryn Bigelow courtesy 60 Minutes.