By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood January 31, 2010 at 11:09AM
This is big.
This is Sally Ride, first American woman in space big. This is Sandra Day O'Connor, first female on the Supreme Court big. This is Billie Jean King beating Bobby Riggs big.
This is a big, bold blast in the glass ceiling for all women directors.
Last night in the wee hours here on the east coast, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman EVER to win the DGA top honors for feature filmmaking.
What is interesting about the DGA event is that all the nominees get up to make a speech, all receive a silver plaque and then at the end of the evening one gets the gold. Reports are that when Bigelow's name was announced everyone cheered.
I'm getting goose bumps just writing about it.
Her acceptance speech seemed incredibly humble:
"Just to be in the room with all of you is an unimaginable honor," says Bigelow, who appeared uncomfortable speaking to the audience. "We all felt a deep responsibility to tell this story as honestly as possible, given the courage of our troops overseas. This is the most incredible moment of my life. And with that, I'll disappear."
But following the whole event on twitter I couldn't help but be dismayed at some of the sexist remarks coming out of the mouths of people in the room.
Here's what Lee Daniels, the director of Precious said of Bigelow: "Your movie is as beautiful as your legs. You make me question my sexuality."
I find that incredibly offensive. Lee just finished making a movie about how a girl was treated because of how she looked and who she was, and this is the bullshit that comes out of his mouth when talking about his fellow nominee? Unacceptable.
Stage manager (I can't figure out who that person is) to Carl Reiner after seeing Bigelow: "That's the most beautiful director I've ever seen.
Jeremy Renner said the only thing to rival Kathryn Bigelow in a bikini is "Lee Daniels in a one-piece."
I was tweeting back and forth with another woman who knows much more about the awards that I do and she wrote to me when I said I was appalled:
I think it's unique to have such a looker in the room up for awards. Plus, ppl are surprised she is almost 60. But yeah.
I wonder if they said the same things to Robert Redford back in the day.
I was thinking maybe only in the most rare cases, like Brad Pitt or Redford. I've never seen them talk this way about any other.
But some other people did notice the comments and were disturbed by them. Andre Soares at Alt Film Guide wrote:
Comments abounded on Bigelow’s looks — in other words, on the fact that she’s a woman. Had she been a handsome guy, I wonder how many remarks would have been made about his physical attributes. And how many male directors and presenters would be publicly questioning their sexuality.
And in other good news, Lesli Linka Glatter took top honors for AMC's Mad Men.
What does this mean for women directors in the future, only time will tell but at least no one will ever have to be the first one in this category again.
One big step forward and a little push back.
DGA Awards: Focus on Kathryn Bigelow’s Gender Alt Film Guide