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'Hurt Locker' director blazes trail for women

March 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Kathryn Bigelow made Oscar history by becoming the first female director to take home the coveted award Sunday night, something women in film say is noteworthy but they also add that Bigelow's win should not be singled out because of her gender. It was a big night for Bigelow. She is only the fourth woman to ever be nominated for an Oscar in the director category, and she became the first woman to win one.

It was a symbolic moment for women in the film industry.

"I think that any time a woman breaks through, it allows the next generation to know that they can do it. And the more people that think they can do it, the more people go and try and then we start seeing statistics change," said Jane Fleming, president of Women in Film.

Fleming said that there aren't as many women directors as men, but she acknowledges that women haven't had as many chances either.

"Statistics year after year, women in the top five categories, only 20 percent of top 250 films are represented by women in those categories," said Fleming.

Bigelow's gritty war saga "The Hurt Locker" which follows the dangerous daily existence of an army bomb defuse team also took home the Oscar for Best Picture and earned six statues in total. It's a huge accomplishment for Bigelow who beat out the blockbuster film Avatar and her director ex-husband James Cameron. But Bigelow has been reluctant to refer to herself as a female director.

"I hope I am the first of many and of course I'd love to just think of myself as a filmmaker, and I long for the day that a modifier could be a moot point," said Bigelow after the awards ceremony.

And Fleming agrees.

"I think that directors want to be represented by their work. I think that they don't see the difference between what they do and what a man does and I think rightfully so," said Fleming.

Bigelow was sitting directly in front of Cameron during Sunday night's Oscar Awards ceremony. Much as been made about the ex spouses competing against each other in the Director and Best Picture categories, but they had an amicable split and Sunday night when Bigelow's name was announced, you could see Cameron applauding appearing genuinely happy for his ex-wife, and backstage she referred to Cameron as an extraordinary film maker.