Kathryn Bigelow became the first female to win the Best Director Oscar, just in time for International Women’s Day. With a six Oscar win, Bigelow’s ‘The Hurt Locker,’ a $11 million film about the work of an American bomb-disposal squad in Iraq, trumped James Cameron’s science-fiction epic ‘Avatar.’
It’s hard to believe that she is only the fourth woman to even earn a nomination, following in the footsteps of Lina Wertmüller for ‘Seven Beauties’ in 1975, Jane Campion for ‘The Piano’ in 1993, and Sofia Coppola for ‘Lost in Translation’ in 2003.
An evening of firsts:
Geoffrey Fletcher, the screenwriter of “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire”, has become the first African American screenwriter to take home an Academy Award. Fletcher, 39, an adjunct professor of film at Columbia University and NYU, surprised some by beating favourite Jason Reitman, writer/director of “Up in the Air”.
Incidentally, would you believe ‘Precious’ is the first film directed by an African-American to be nominated for Best Picture? Although John Singleton was nominated for Best Director for Boyz n the Hood, the film wasn’t nominated for Best Picture
Another film to make history was Disney/Pixar’s Up which was also nominated for Best Picture this year. You may not know that it’s only the second animated film to ever be nominated and the first entirely computer-animated film to be nominated. The other animated Best Picture nominee? Another Disney production – ‘Beauty and the Beast.’
Best Foreign Language Film:
The favourites were ‘The White Ribbon’ from Austria and ‘A Prophet’ from France. But the few hundred people, out of 6,000 Academy members, who choose the Foreign Language award are famous for springing surprises, and this time they selected the Argentine thriller ‘The Secret in Their Eyes.’ Its director, Juan José Campanella, who has made a few features in his native land but spent most of the past decade helming episodes of ‘House,’ ‘30 Rock,’ ‘Strangers with Candy’ and, crucially, ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.’
Retrospective: Where do they keep their Oscars?
1. In the fridge
This one is my favorite. Timothy Hutton won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Ordinary People in 1981. He recently said he and his sister were having a party at his house a few years ago when she decided to stick his Oscar in the fridge so that people going to grab a beer would be entertained. He enjoyed the joke and has kept it there ever since.
2. At his dad’s hardware store
Patrons of the J.M. Stewart & Co. hardware store in Indiana, Pennsylvania, probably wouldn’t have been that surprised to find an Academy Award hanging out amongst the saws and paintbrushes.
When Jimmy Stewart won his Oscar in 1941 for his lead role in The Philadelphia Story, he promptly sent his award to his father, who displayed it in the family store for 25 years.
3. At home, dressed up in Barbie clothes
John Lasseter of Pixar has two Oscars under his belt – Best Animated Short (“Tin Toy” in 1989) and a Special Achievement Award for Toy Story in 1996.
“We discovered that Barbie clothes actually fit pretty well,” he once commented. “Oscar’s shoulders are a little broader, so we let them out a little.” I guess that happens when you have five kids.
4. In the underwear drawer.
Well that’s where you keep all valuables, isn’t it? After Kevin Costner won Best Director for Dances with Wolves in 1991 (it also won Best Picture), he stashed his award in his underwear drawer for a few years. He has since had a trophy case built and keeps Oscar in there. Do you suppose he keeps his Razzie for The Postman in there as well? I would.
5. At grandma’s house.
Until his grandma turned 100, Isaac Hayes’ Oscar (he won in ’72 for the theme song toShaft) lived at her house. She gave it back to him on her 100th birthday and he displayed it at his restaurant in Memphis after that.