“Ridiculously Overdue!” That’s what James Cameron said to Charlie Rose last night. The subject, of course, was the fact that no woman has ever received a Best Director Oscar. “My fantasy outcome,” Cameron said, “would be for Avatar to win Best Picture and Kathryn [Bigelow] to win Best Director.” Good ole Charlie made his best attempt to look skeptical. “I want my team honored for their accomplishments,” Cameron assured him with great sincerity, “but I don’t need another Oscar.” Oy! Has it really come to this?
Me, I’m consoled by the wise words of the Rolling Stones: “You can’t always get what you want…But if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need.” Indeed!
Right now what we need is a woman who can kick a huge crack in the celluloid ceiling. Kathryn Bigelow is the fourth woman in Oscar history to be nominated for Best Director, but more than that, she’s the first woman to actually be a real contender. And just like Hillary Clinton, the first woman ever to be a real contender for President of the United States, Bigelow carries some spousal baggage.
Of course the media has glommed on to this factoid, magnifying it until it’s almost impossible to see anything else. They’re so determined to handicap a gossip-filled two horse race that they keep endlessly telling us that the two films in contention, Cameron’s Avatar and Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, each received nine nominations. Meanwhile, the news they’re burying is that Avatar’s nominations are primarily technical, whereas Locker’s nominations include four of the heaviest hitters: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay.
Good ole Charlie buried this news too. And like the seasoned pro he is, Charlie waited until the last five minutes of his Cameron segment before even mentioning Bigelow’s name. First he dutifully confronted Cameron for 28 minutes with negative quotes from various reviews (Avatar’s screenplay is derivative, Avatar’s politics are suspect, Avatar is just a big sound & light show, etc, etc.), giving Cameron plenty of opportunities to laugh. Why should James Cameron care about critics? Avatar is the highest grossing film in history!
And so the segment ended with Cameron lavishing praise on his “gorgeous” ex-wife (actually one of several gorgeous ex-wives), thereby publically positioning himself as a mensch. “Of course she would reject the fact that being a woman has anything to do with it,” said Charlie. “That’s what’s cool about it,” Cameron concluded… with a really big smile.
Welcome to OscarBowl 2010!!!
2/23/10 UPDATE: A very classy reply from a very classy lady.
To Kathryn Bigelow: You Go, Girl 🙂