By Gina Carbone
Like most people, I’ve wanted to be many things at different points in my life.
Vet. Miss America. Archaeologist. FBI agent. Criminal mastermind (blame “The Usual Suspects.”)
But at some point after I realized everything I wanted to do could be tied to a movie, I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker.
And when I realized no woman — more than 50 percent of the population of our planet — had ever won the Academy Award for best director, that was my goal.
Then I got to college and realized if I have any talents at all they do not exist behind a camera.
So I watched and waited for superior talents — like Jane Campion, Rebecca Miller, Sarah Polley, Susanne Bier, Kasi Lemmons, Gillian Armstrong, Sofia Coppola and Lone Scherfig — to get the job done.
And I kept waiting.
Grabbed a snack.
Went back to waiting.
And now here we are in 2010 and we’ve been graced with only the fourth-ever female best director Oscar nominee.
The first was Lina Wertmuller in 1976 for “Seven Beauties.”
Fast forward to 1993 for Jane Campion’s “The Piano.” (If that hadn’t been the same year as “Schindler’s List,” this would probably be a done deal.)
Ten years later, 32-year-old Sofia Coppola would be the first American woman nominated for “Lost in Translation.”
(I want to support them all, but “Lost in Translation” was wildly overrated and is my least favorite Coppola film.)
But going into tonight’s Oscars — starting at 8 p.m. on ABC — Kathryn Bigelow will enter the Kodak Theater not only as the fourth woman nominated (and second American) but as the first-ever frontrunner.
“The Hurt Locker” was far and away the best film of 2009, and I am gratified to see so many local film fans agree with me on that.
I never thought Kathryn Bigelow would be the first woman to win best director, but she’s earned it this year.
(I lobbied hard for her 2000 film “The Weight of Water” to play at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, because it’s an adaptation of the Anita Shreve book about real-life murders that happened on the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. But the movie was just as bad as they said it was. Glad we got to see it, though.)
Her ex-husband, James Cameron, has NOT earned another best director Oscar this year with “Avatar” (he already has one for “Titanic”), although I am happy to see they are “good exes” and compliment each other.
“The Hurt Locker” had a budget of only $11 million (versus, what, $300-$500 million for “Avatar”?) and was shot in the heat of Jordan and Kuwait without cushy Hollywood benefits or green screen.
The 58-year-old 5’11 1/2″ director looks like a former model, not someone rolling around in the desert making a war film with a bunch of young guys. But she has handled this whole Oscar season with grace, elegance and humility.
Even if Kathryn Bigelow were the 82nd woman to win best director, she would deserve it this year. That’s all that matters.
Having said that, if/when she wins the Oscar tonight, I plan to jump up and down and scream like a tween at a Justin Bieber concert.
I want her to fulfill my dream.
Go Team Kathryn!
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