Monday, 8 March 2010

A woman director wins an Oscar at last

Kathryn Bigelow last night won the best director Oscar for "The Hurt Locker", which follows the dangerous daily existence of a US Army bomb squad. This is the first time that this particular Oscar has gone to a woman, and only the fourth such nomination, following Sofia Coppola for 2003’s Lost in Translation, Jane Campion for 1993’s The Piano and Lina Wertmuller for 1975’s Seven Beauties. Before this, excellent women directors like Dorothy Arzner and Ida Lupino were overlooked completely.

One wonders why Bigelow succeeded where others had failed. Perhaps it is because she has shown that she can direct action movies, like "Point Break" and "Blue Steel", with the best of the men. These two films had a psychological dimension (as one presumes "Hurt Locker" does) and Lupino had explored the same sort of territory, but Bigelow is prepared to put action, sometimes violent action, on the screen.

So often the main Oscars go where the money is, so James Cameron's expensive but very profitable "Avatar" looked favourite. It is a promising sign that the Academy recognised a movie which cost only $15m (a fleabite in Hollywood these days) and, up until the Oscars ceremony, was reported to have only just recovered its costs.

No comments: