Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win an Academy Award as Best Director when she took home the iron for The Hurt Locker, besting her ex-husband (and good friend) James Cameron, who had directed the two highest-grossing pictures in history, Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009). Incredibly, Bigelow was only the fourth woman ever nominated in the category. Incredible, as there have been women film directors for over 100 years.
She ranks as one of the trailblazers for women filmmakers in the struggle to achieve mainstream acceptance and gain respect by the Hollywood Establishment. Her Oscar must be seen as a nod to her role in proving that a woman can handle a big picture that appeals to the male demographic so prized by studio bosses and exhibitors.
Ironically, unlike most women film directors who were trailblazers, Kathryn Bigelow cannot be said to be a “female director” in that she deals with themes common to “women’s pictures” or subjects from a feminine sensibility, or was hired to handle star actresses. She is more in the vein of Ida Lupino, who directed B-picture potboilers after World War II and also scores of TV shows in a wide variety of genres, such as the Western Have Gun, Will Travel. In their work, gender is not an issue.
First Oscar Nomination
Although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences was founded in 1927 and the first Oscars were given out in 1929, it wasn’t until the 48th Academy Awards that a woman director was finally nominated for the Academy’s “First Award of Merit.”
At the first Academy Awards ceremony, there were two Best Director Awards, as one was given out for comedy. The comedy direction Oscar was never awarded again, so 48 male directors had won an Oscar, and over 200 nominated for the award(s) had gone to men, before the first women was nominated in the category…
Check out the rest of 10 Female Movie Directors Who Pioneered the Way for Women in Directing, found on Yahoo by WMMer Jessica Silvetti.