Oscar Watch: The Hurt Locker's Bigelow Heads for Best Director

by Anne Thompson
December 14, 2009 12:33 AM
6 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood
It's not surprising that the Alliance of Women Film Journalists went with The Hurt Locker and Kathryn Bigelow as best picture and director (they threw a mess of other achievement prizes at her as well--she'd better show up). And gave Jane Campion some props for her Bright Star direction and screenplay. Nor is Manohla Dargis off-base when she complains about the lack of women film directors today. The AWFJ may want to cut back on duplicative awards. They also gave two apiece to Agnes Varda and Mo'Nique.)

But here's what's going to happen at the Oscars this year: Bigelow will win best director (beating her ex-husband, James Cameron). Why? Because, beyond the obvious merits of The Hurt Locker, she is due. She boasts a long, solid resume of robust, stylish genre films, all of which look like they could have been directed by men. She makes action films, not romantic comedies. She's one of the guys. Folks in the film business respect her.

More awards on the jump. The full list of AWFJ winners is here.

EDA ANNUAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Best Film:
The Hurt Locker

Best Animated Film:
Up

Best Director:
Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker

Best Screenplay, Original:
(500) Days of Summer - Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber

Best Screenplay, Adapted
Up In The Air - Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Best Documentary
The Cove

Best Actress
Carey Mulligan - An Education

Best Actress In Supporting Role
Monique - Precious

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Christopher Waltz - Inglorious Basterds

Best Ensemble Cast
The Hurt Locker

Best Editing
Sally Menke - Inglorious Basterds

Most Beautiful Film
Bright Star

Best Non-English-Language Film
Summer Hours

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6 Comments

  • DR | January 18, 2010 11:09 AMReply

    If the Academy gives the Oscar for Best Picture to the Hurt Locker (awful, boring movie btw) then people will finally see how meaningless the Oscars can be. Does anyone remember Annie Hall? I didn't think so - yes that beat our Star Wars 1977 - The Academy has yet to live that mistake down. Lord of The Rings has allowed Oscar to grow up and see that movies that become larger than any of us on the planet (yes Avatar) will make over 2 Billion dollars worldwide - Oscar can not ignore it as the future of cinema that has arrived and must be honored! Avatar will win every Oscar nomintation it receives and well deserved! Sorry for the 2 or 3 artsy fartsy moviegoers this year! Remember save the planet is the new mantra for the 21st century - get on the bandwagon while you still can!

  • Joe Valdez | December 14, 2009 9:40 AMReply

    The Academy would have a lot to gain by awarding Best Director to Kathryn Bigelow and I'm willing to bet that they will.

    While the number of women directing outstanding feature films has shot up dramatically in the past decade, nobody's really acknowledging that women are and can direct movies, particualrly action movies or movies with men.

    It's almost 2010, for Christ's sake. It's time a woman won an Oscar for directing. Only 3 women have even been nominated up to this point in Academy history. That's just pathetic. It would be one thing if only Barbra Streisand, Jane Campion or Sofia Coppola were capable of making successful prestige films, but that is simply not the reality anymore.

    It's not as if THE HURT LOCKER is a so-so action movie, either. It's better than CRASH, better than THE DEPARTED and actually says something socially relevant about the Iraq War.

    As far as the awards show goes, I think the anticipation of whether a woman will finally win Best Director could dramatically improve the ratings. That's minor, though. Voters should honor the movie that makes them feel the best about themselves as an industry. This year, Kathryn Bigelow and THE HURT LOCKER does that.

  • bw | December 14, 2009 5:40 AMReply

    I'm sorry, Anne, but you're being ridiculous.

    "Bigelow will win best director. Why? Because she is due. She boasts a long, solid resume of robust, stylish genre films, all of which look like they could have been directed by men."

    She is not due. Her resume is full of okay action-type movies, but nothing that's really all that good. And action is a genre where the bar for quality is pretty low. Is Michael Bay due for a directing Oscar? I don't think so. Not one movie she's done before the Hurt Locker sets her apart from the legions of adequate action directors that we've seen over the years.

    And that last part, about her directing movies that look like they could have been directed by men, what in the hell does that even mean? How should that be considered in Oscar voting? That if it looks like a man did it, it must be good? How many shitty to average male directors are there? A ton. And they don't get Oscars. A comment like that doesn't really help the situation. "That looks like it could have been made by a man! Amazing! How does she do it!" I can't even fathom what you were trying to imply with that, really.

    What it all comes down to is this: The Hurt Locker is her first really good movie. Her first. And you know how the Directors play it. You don't get an Oscar for your first good movie. You have to do a few more before they're willing to come around and pat you on the back and hand you the statue. That's just the way it is. She shouldn't be treated any different than the men are treated when it comes time to hand out the Oscar for directing. I'll agree that she certainly could be someone to watch out for in the future, but to declare her being due for an Oscar is just plain silly. She has one really good movie to her name now, and then a bunch of average ones. If she keeps it up and turns out a few more movies that are on par with The Hurt Locker, then she'll be due. But not before that. You are totally jumping the gun on her.

    I'm also not so sure that Cameron is gonna get it either. He won his big blockbuster kudos moment for Titanic. I don't know that they'll play ball with him on that again this year. Invictus is not Clint's best and Lee Daniels is too new, too untested. (Precious is good, but it's not really the directing that stands out, it's the acting.)

    Reitman is looking like he's in the best position, because while he may be young and still kind of new on the scene, his resume really is solid. He's been nominated before and that's the key to winning. And Up in the Air is his best received film of the three that he's done.

    Now if it's not Reitman, they may just give it to Quentin Tarantino because they're not really comfortable with any of the options presented to them. If Tarantino makes the list, I'd say he's a dark horse or a spoiler or whatever you wanna call it. Just simply by default.

  • DavidC | December 14, 2009 5:37 AMReply

    Bigelow is coming to the UCLA Archive next month for a "Movie That Inspired Me" evening with Curtis Hanson. Her choice: "The Wild Bunch." bw is blaming the messanger and needs to wise up.

    Seeing as I'm the world's worst awards prognosticator all I will say is that I'm rooting for KB. People are said to be "due," presumably, because they've been stepping up for for years and doing serious and interesting work. If voters think HL is a film in which all the cool elements of Bigelow's style are at their best, she could win, and she will deserve it.

  • John Doe | December 14, 2009 4:29 AMReply

    I still think Cameron will best Bigelow in the directing category. Yes, Bigelow crafted a wonderful little film, but you can't deny the amount of work that went into a seamless epic film like Avatar. Plus, the Academy likes Cameron. Not to mention, box office will have a big impact as well, not many people saw Hurt Locker, whereas Avatar may be a different story if all goes well.

  • Don Murphy | December 14, 2009 2:40 AMReply

    People get Oscars because they are DUE? How novel.

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