Kathryn Bigelow – Academy Award for Directing

“I think all wars are a tragedy, and to critique it, you have to look at it. . .to examine and experience the futility of war, to engage in that subject and treat it as a raw, primal, experiential observation.” [Kathryn Bigelow]

OSCAR_2Kathryn Bigelow is a visual artist and her vision was recognized with an Academy Award for directing in 2010. She was The First Woman To receive this honor. Her artistic career began when she studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. One of her professors, without consulting her, sent slides of her work to the prestigious Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum. She moved to New York, lived in a former bank vault three stories below ground, and became friends with the artistic crowd in the city. She and Philip Glass renovated apartments while she created art.

It was none other than Andy Warhol who made her aware that art reached only a limited number of people and that, to have a social impact, one needed a more popular medium. After considering this perspective, she made a short film and submitted it to Columbia University’s film school. Milos Forman, director of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, was a professor there and offered her a scholarship.

Her films, from the beginning, explored violence and even with her latest film,  Zero Dark Thirty, she was criticized for her explicit exploration of the inhumane ways in which we treat one another. She has, through the years, however, been commended for the action in her films and her visual aesthetic. She continues to paint pictures, but now she uses the camera instead of a paintbrush.

Kathryn Bigelow has worked in movies and television. While directing a crime series, The Inside, for television, she worked with Mark Boal, a journalist on whose work the story was based. Their next collaboration was on The Hurt Locker, partially based on Boal’s experiences covering the Iraq War. The picture won numerous awards, including Movie of the Year from AFI, Best Picture and Director from BAFTA, and Best Picture and Director from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the coveted Oscar.

Kathryn Bigelow was on the cover of Time magazine, but it was not for being The First Woman To receive an academy award for directing. It was two years later, after her movie Zero Dark Thirty generated controversy for its depiction of torture in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Kathryn Bigelow’s reaction to the criticism is that her intent was to “show us what people do, and not necessarily what they think or feel, or what the viewer should think or feel about them. . .”


Read an interview from Time magazine:

Cover Story: Kathryn Bigelow’s Art of Darkness

To a list of her films: http://www.fandango.com/kathrynbigelow/filmography/p81836

From a New Yorker interview: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2012/12/17/121217ta_talk_filkins


Was the Academy persuaded to award the Oscar to Kathryn Bieglow because the subject matter of her film was more male than female?


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