Or has she? Consider this:
- Bigelow has been directing full-length films since 1982.
- Only three other female directors have ever been nominated for Best Director. None took home the Oscar.
- It took 82 years of Academy awards before a woman won.
- According to NJ.com and The Star Ledger, a study by the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film at San Diego State showed that only 7 percent of the top 250 films released in 2009 were directed by women. Sound familiar? (Women hold the top position in only 3% of the Fortune 500 companies.)
Is a proof point of one enough to declare success? Why did it take so long? And did Bigelow have to work harder for this achievement than her male peers?
Let’s contrast her Oscar win for directing Hurt Locker at the age of 58 (after 27 years making films) with her ex-husband James Cameron’s Best Director Oscar for the movie Titanic in 1997 at the age of 43.
Certainly this is a huge success, and in no way do I want to downplay that. Bigelow worked her butt off to get that award. She deserves it. But Bigelow’s success is merely a crack in the ceiling, albeit an important crack. Someone has to be first.
I think we’ll know when the glass ceiling has been shattered when the news articles are titled “Bigelow wins Best Director” instead of “Bigelow Breaks the Glass Ceiling”, or “First Female Best Director Oscar Winner”, or even “Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow is no longer just James Cameron's ex-wife”.
Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 82 years for another woman to win. What do you think?