Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar win for directing “The Hurt Locker” capped an awards season that saw the 58-year-old helmer emerge as the first woman to win the honor in the 82-year history of the Academy.
She took the nod over fellow nominees James Cameron for “Avatar,” Lee Daniels for “Precious,” Jason Reitman for “Up in the Air” and Quentin Tarantino for “Inglourious Basterds.”
On opening the envelope Sunday night, presenter Barbra Streisand declared, “Well, the time has come.”
Bigelow described her win as “the moment of a lifetime.” Asked backstage her reaction as the first woman to win the directing award, the helmer said she hopes “I’m the first of many. And of course, I’d love to just think of myself as a filmmaker, and I long for the day when a modifier can be a moot point.”
Five weeks ago, Bigelow defeated the same quartet for the DGA award, becoming the first woman to ever win that nod. The Oscar and DGA awards have matched in all but six years since 1948.
Bigelow’s past films, such as “Point Break” and “Strange Days,” were touted for their intensity, but her work on “The Hurt Locker” dialed that up several notches. Shot in Jordan for a budget of under $20 million, “Hurt Locker” received widespread praise for providing a searing portrait of U.S. military bomb-defusing squads in Iraq.
Throughout the awards season, Bigelow emphasized the responsibility she felt to tell the story of the squads in Iraq with as much honesty as possible — “given the courage of the men and women in the field,” she said when she won the DGA award.
She concluded her speech Sunday by saying that she was dedicating the Oscar to “the women and men who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Bigelow was only the fourth woman director to receive an Oscar nom, following Lena Wertmuller for “Seven Beauties,” Jane Campion for “The Piano” and Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation.”