Bigelow wins Oscar Best Director

Posted Wednesday 10 Feb 2010

In the first time in the 82-year history of the Oscars, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences has bestowed a Best Director award on a woman filmmaker.  Kathryn Bigelow's war-on-terror thriller The Hurt Locker also received more Academy Award nominations this year than any other film apart from Avatar, directed by Bigelow's ex-husband James Cameron, which similarly had nine nominations including for Best Picture and Best Director.

WIFT NZ, in assocation with Roadshow Film Distributors, is offering members the chance to attend exclusive pre-release free screenings of Bigelow's groundbreaking film The Hurt Locker in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in March.

None of the women previously nominated for Best Director - Sofia Coppola for 2003's Lost in Translation, Jane Campion for 1993's The Piano, or Lina Wertmuller for 1975's Seven Beauties - won the directing Oscar.  Until Bigelow, no woman had ever won the Directors Guild honour either, and after trumping Cameron at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards, she is expected by some to win the Academy Award too.

An insightful article by Carrie Rickey in The Philadelphia Inquirer discusses the significance of Bigelow's nomination, concerns about "the minuscule numbers of women directors today" and "the Academy's general bias against movies about the female experience".  Read it here.

This year's Academy Awards were also notable for featuring ten Best Picture contenders instead of the usual five, and Lee Daniels, who made Precious, became the second ever American African nominated for Best Director.

Nine figures in the New Zealand film industry were also in the running for Oscars: Peter Jackson as producer of District 9; the Weta Digital team of Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum Richard Baneham and Andrew R Jones; Weta colleague Matt Aitken; sound recordist Tony Johnson and set decorator Kim Sinclair.  Former Wellingtonian producer Finola Dwyer's An Education was also nominated for Best Picture.