8 March 2010
I begin this blog on an auspicious day: The day after the first woman in the history of film has won an Oscar for best director (and best picture). Only four women in history have been nominated for this award. I liked the movie, although I found all the kow-towing to the military grating and politically restrictive. It’s a good film, not a great one.
Let’s bring up the obvious: Kathryn Bigelow is shit-hot. According to imdb.com, she’s only 1/2″ shy of six feet tall (which explains why she towered over all her stars). She’s fifty-eight and looks twenty years younger than her vile ex-husband, James Cameron — who was providentially seated directly behind her in the audience at the Oscars, and who is actually three years her junior. All of this is hugely satisfying.
So why do I feel ambivalent about this? It’s a little too close to The Onion’s brilliant take on women onscreen. “Women can do anything men can do on television,” the morning-show host chirps. “You can be sexy and tough. Sexy and smart. Sexy and professional.” You can be sexy and win an Academy Award for Best Director — just don’t expect the same award to go to someone who looks like, say, Kathy Bates or Gabourey Sidibe. Those women will still be given crap directing jobs for lite romantic comedies and “women’s films” about abusive husbands or children with leukemia. A woman has finally won Best Director at the Academy Awards — and I feel like I’m looking at one of those other female “firsts” early in the 20th century whose desire to be accepted by mainstream culture completely outshines their “first-ness.”