Kathryn Bigelow

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Kathryn Bigelow
82nd Academy Awards, Kathryn Bigelow - army mil-66453-2010-03-09-180354.jpg
Bigelow at the 82nd Academy Awards, 2010
Born Kathryn Ann Bigelow
(1951 -11-27) November 27, 1951 (age 62)
San Carlos, California, U.S.
Occupation Film director, film producer, screenwriter, television director
Years active 1978–present
Notable work(s) The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Near Dark, Strange Days, Point Break
Spouse(s) James Cameron (1989–1991)

Kathryn Ann Bigelow (born November 27, 1951)[1] is an American film director, film producer, screenwriter and television director.

Her films include Near Dark (1987), Point Break (1991), Strange Days (1995), The Weight of Water (2000), K-19: The Widowmaker (2002), The Hurt Locker (2008), and Zero Dark Thirty (2012). The Hurt Locker won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Picture, won the BAFTA Award for Best Film, and was nominated for the 2009 Golden Globe Award for Best Drama.

With The Hurt Locker, Bigelow became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director,[2] the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing,[3] the BAFTA Award for Best Direction,[4] and the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Director.[5] She also became the first woman to win the Saturn Award for Best Director in 1995 for Strange Days.

In April 2010, Bigelow was named to the Time 100 list of most influential people of the year.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Bigelow was born in San Carlos, California, the only child of Gertrude Kathryn (née Larson; 1917–1994), a librarian, and Ronald Elliot Bigelow (1915–1992), a paint factory manager.[7] Her mother was of Norwegian descent.[8] Bigelow's early creative endeavors were as a student of painting. She enrolled at San Francisco Art Institute in the fall of 1970 and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in December 1972. While enrolled at SFAI, she was accepted into the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program in New York City.[9] Bigelow's early work benefited from her apprenticeships with Vito Acconci, Richard Serra, and Lawrence Weiner.[10]

Also in her early days in Manhattan, Bigelow teamed up with Philip Glass on a real-estate venture in which the pair personally renovated distressed apartments downtown then sold them for a profit.[11]

Bigelow entered the graduate film program at Columbia University, where she studied theory and criticism and earned her master's degree. Her professors included Vito Acconci, Sylvère Lotringer and Susan Sontag,[12] and she worked with the Art & Language collective and noted conceptualist Lawrence Weiner.[13] She also taught at the California Institute of the Arts.[14] While working with Art and Language, Bigelow began a short film, The Set-Up (1978), which found favor with director Miloš Forman,[11] then teaching at Columbia University, and which Bigelow later submitted as part of her MFA at Columbia.[10]

Directing career[edit]

If there's specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can't change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies. It's irrelevant who or what directed a movie, the important thing is that you either respond to it or you don't. There should be more women directing; I think there's just not the awareness that it's really possible. It is.

—Kathryn Bigelow in 1990[15]

Bigelow's short "The Set-Up," is a 20-minute deconstruction of violence in film. The film portrays "two men fighting each other as the semioticians Sylvère Lotringer and Marshall Blonsky deconstruct the images in voice-over."[12] Bigelow asked her actors to actually beat and bludgeon each other throughout the film's all-night shoot.[10] Her first full-length feature was The Loveless (1982), a biker film which she co-directed with Monty Montgomery and featured Willem Dafoe in his first starring role. Next, she directed Near Dark (1987), which she co-scripted with Eric Red. In the same year, she directed a music video for the New Order song "Touched by the Hand of God"; the video is a spoof of glam metal imagery.

Bigelow's subsequent trilogy of action films — Blue Steel, Point Break, and Strange Days — merged her philosophically minded manipulation of pace with the market demands of mainstream film-making. In the process, Bigelow became recognizable as both a Hollywood brand and an auteur. All three films rethink the conventions of action cinema while exploring gendered and racial politics.[10]

Bigelow at the 2010 Time 100 Gala

Eric Red was also co-writer on Bigelow's 1990 film, Blue Steel. Blue Steel starred Jamie Lee Curtis as a rookie police officer who is stalked by a psychopathic killer, played by Ron Silver.

Bigelow followed Blue Steel with Point Break (1991), which starred Keanu Reeves as an FBI agent who poses as a surfer to catch the "Ex-Presidents", a team of surfing armed robbers led by Patrick Swayze who wear Reagan, Nixon, LBJ and Jimmy Carter masks when they hold up banks. Point Break (1991) was Kathryn Bigelow's most profitable 'studio' film, taking approximately $100 million at the American box-office during the year of its release, and yet it remains one of her least well-received films, both in terms of commercial reviews and academic analysis. This is perhaps due to the fact that it most successfully conforms to its action genre and abandons much of the stylistic substance and subtext of Bigelow's other work.[16]

In 1993, she directed an episode of the TV series Wild Palms.

I've spent a fair amount of time thinking about what my aptitude is, and I really think it's to explore and push the medium. It's not about breaking gender roles or genre traditions.

—Kathryn Bigelow in 2009[9]

Bigelow's 1995 film Strange Days was written and produced by her ex-husband James Cameron. Despite some positive reviews, the film was a commercial failure. Furthermore, many attributed the creative vision to James Cameron, diminishing Bigelow's perceived influence on the film.[10]

She directed episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street in 1997 and 1998.

Based on Anita Shreve's novel of the same name, Bigelow's 2000 film The Weight of Water is a portrait of two women trapped in suffocating relationships.

In 2002 she directed K-19: The Widowmaker, starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson, about a group of men aboard the Soviet Union's first nuclear-powered submarine. The film fared poorly at the box office and was received with mixed reactions by critics, gaining an aggregate score of 58 on Metacritic.

Bigelow speaking at the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival

Bigelow next directed The Hurt Locker, which was first shown at the Venice Film Festival in September 2008, was the Closing Night selection for Maryland Film Festival in May 2009, and theatrically released in the US in June 2009. It qualified for the 2010 Oscars as it did not premiere in an Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles until mid-2009. Set in post-invasion Iraq, the film received "universal acclaim" (according to Metacritic)[17] and a 97% "fresh" rating from the critics aggregated by Rotten Tomatoes.[18] The film stars Jeremy Renner, Brian Geraghty and Anthony Mackie, with cameos by Guy Pearce, David Morse and Ralph Fiennes. She won the Directors Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (becoming the first woman to win the award) and also received a Golden Globe nomination for her direction. In 2010, she won the award for Best Director and The Hurt Locker won Best Picture at the 63rd British Academy Film Awards.[19] She became the first woman to receive an Academy Award for Best Director for The Hurt Locker.[20] She was the fourth woman in history to be nominated for the honor, and only the second American woman.

Bigelow's next film was Zero Dark Thirty, a dramatization of American efforts to find Osama bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty was acclaimed by film critics[21] but it has also attracted controversy and strong criticism for its allegedly pro-torture stance.[22] Bigelow won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director for the film, making her the first woman to win the award twice. She had already won previously for directing The Hurt Locker.[23] She also won the National Board of Review Award for Best Director for Zero Dark Thirty, making her the first woman to win that award.[24]

Other work[edit]

In the early 1980s, Bigelow modeled for a Gap advertisement. Her acting credits include Lizzie Borden's 1983 film Born in Flames as a feminist newspaper editor, and as the leader of a cowgirl gang in the 1988 music video of Martini Ranch's "Reach", which was directed by her ex-husband, James Cameron.

Personal life[edit]

Bigelow was married to fellow director James Cameron from 1989 to 1991. She and Cameron were both nominated for Best Director at the 2010 82nd Academy Awards, which Bigelow won.

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1982 The Loveless Director/Writer
1983 Born in Flames Actress
1987 Near Dark Director/Writer Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film – Silver Raven
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Direction
1987 "Touched by the Hand of God" – New Order Director Music video
1988 "Reach" – Martini Ranch Actress Music video
1989 Blue Steel Director/Writer
1991 Point Break Director
1995 Strange Days Director Saturn Award for Best Direction
2000 The Weight of Water Director Nominated — San Sebastián International Film Festival Golden Shell Award
2002 K-19: The Widowmaker Director/Producer
2009 The Hurt Locker Director/Producer Academy Award for Best Director
Academy Award for Best Picture
AFI Dallas Film Festival – Dallas Star Award
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Director
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Woman Director
Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Director
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Film
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Direction
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Film
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Columbia University – "Andrew Sarris" Award
Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
Hollywood Film Festival for Director of the Year
Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
London Film Critics Circle Award for Director of the Year
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Director
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
New York Film Critics Online Award for Best Director
Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Producers Guild of America Award for Theatrical Motion Pictures
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Santa Barbara International Film Festival Award for Outstanding Director of the Year
Satellite Award for Best Director
Seattle International Film Festival Golden Space Needle Award for Best Director
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Venice Film Festival SIGNIS Grand Prize Award
Venice Film Festival Arca Cinemagiovani Award
Venice Film Festival Young Cinema Award
Venice Film Festival Human Rights Film Network Award
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Director
2012 Zero Dark Thirty Director/Producer Top 10 Film-American Film Institute Awards
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Director
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Picture
Austin Film Critics Association for Best Film
Boston Online Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture
Boston Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Director
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Film
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
2nd place-Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Film
2nd place-Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
National Board of Review Award for Best Director
National Board of Review Award for Best Film
2nd place-National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Director
3rd place-National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Film
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film
New York Film Critics Online Awards for Best Director
New York Film Critics Online Awards for Best Picture
2nd place—Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Runner-up Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Runner-up Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Film
Runner-up Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Runner-up Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Film
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Motion Picture
Nominated — AACTA International Award for Best Film
Nominated — AACTA International Award for Best Direction
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Direction
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture
Nominated — Denver Film Critics Society for Best Director
Nominated — Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
Nominated — Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Nominated — Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Film
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Director of the Year
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Picture
Nominated — Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
Nominated — St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated — St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture

Television[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bigelow, Kathryn". Current Biography Yearbook 2010. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2010. pp. 38–42. ISBN 9780824211134. 
  2. ^ "'Hurt Locker' wins best picture, director". Today.msnbc.msn.com. March 8, 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
  3. ^ "First woman to win top Guild's award". Gulf Times. January 31, 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
  4. ^ Reuters (February 21, 2010). "Kathryn Bigelow wins best director BAFTA for 'Hurt Locker' over James Cameron's 'Avatar'". New York: NY Daily News. Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
  5. ^ Roberts, Soraya (January 16, 2010). "Critic's Choice Awards 2010: Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep kiss; Kathryn Bigelow is Best Director". New York: NY Daily News. Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
  6. ^ Stone, Oliver (April 29, 2010), "Kathryn Bigelow", TIME, The 2010 TIME 100, retrieved May 7, 2010 
  7. ^ "Kathryn Bigelow Biography". yahoo.com. Retrieved June 26, 2010. 
  8. ^ azcentral.com ("Cookies must be enabled to view articles on azcentral.com"), 2009/07/08.
  9. ^ a b "Kathryn Bigelow: Road Warrior" – an interview published June 2009 in Newsweek magazine
  10. ^ a b c d e Benson-Allott, Caetlin. "Undoing Violence: Politics, Genre, and Duration in Kathryn Bigelow's Cinema" (preview/paywall), Film Quarterly 64.2 (Winter 2010), pp. 33–43. University of California Press; link via JSTOR. "Abstract: Kathryn Bigelow's eight feature films all seek a balance between progressive representations of gender and race and the demands of commercial filmmaking. Close attention to the filmmaker's experiments with duration and camera technology reveals her interest in reworking Hollywood conventions to critique conventionally masculinist genres."
  11. ^ a b Filkins, Dexter (December 17, 2012). "Bin Laden, The Movie". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Dargis, Manohla, "Action!", New York Times, June 18, 2009. Access date: June 27, 2009.
  13. ^ Rapold, Nicolas, "Interview: Kathryn Bigelow Goes Where the Action Is", Village Voice, June 23, 2009. Access date: June 27, 2009.
  14. ^ "Kathryn Bigelow – Filmmaking at the Dark Edge of Exhilaration", Harvard Film Archive, July 1, 2009. Access date: December 17, 2009.
  15. ^ Perry, Michelle P., "Kathryn Bigelow discusses role of 'seductive violence' in her films", The Tech (MIT), March 16, 1990. An interview with the star (Jamie Lee Curtis) and writer-director (Bigelow) of Blue Steel.
  16. ^ Jermyn, Deborah, and Sean Redmond. "Chapter Six – All That Is Male Melts into Air: Bigelow on the Edge of Point Break." The Cinema of Kathryn Bigelow: Hollywood Transgressor. London: Wallflower, 2003. 106–7. Print.
  17. ^ The Hurt Locker at Metacritic
  18. ^ "The Hurt Locker (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. December 15, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  19. ^ Roberts, Soraya (February 22, 2010). "Prince William becomes President at 2010 BAFTA awards; Kathryn Bigelow wins best director". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 23, 2010. 
  20. ^ Weaver, Matthew (March 8, 2010). "Kathryn Bigelow makes history as first woman to win best director Oscar". The Guardian (London). Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Zero Dark Thirty". Metacritic. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  22. ^ Child, Ben (January 9, 2013). "Zero Dark Thirty premiere sparks anti-torture protest". The Guardian (London). Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  23. ^ Polo, Susana, "Kathryn Bigelow Wins New York Film Critics Circle Award Twice; Makes History", The Mary Sue, December 4, 2012.
  24. ^ "NBR Awards name 'Zero Dark Thirty' best film", boston.com, 2012/12/05.

External links[edit]