Guest Blogger: JoJo Vinick

And the Oscar goes to…

I remember the first time I saw Jane Campion’s The Piano. It was for my Women in Film class and as my peers and I left the classroom there was hushed conversation coming from every direction. It was one of the first films we had seen for the class that we had all been impacted by – we all were left in shock.

During our next class period our Professor told us that no female had ever won an Academy Award for Best Director and we were shocked. We couldn’t’ believe that we lived in world where women were so scarcely seen in the film industry. When Hollywood was still called Tinseltown women became involved in the film industry via the editing room. Since early editing happened through cutting and sewing (as in scissors and needles), it was common for this job to be taken by a woman – women still predominantly fill the career.

Sunday night at around 11:55pm, Kathryn Bigelow won the Academy Award for Best Director and every person in my dorm heard me scream.

Kathryn Bigelow Acceptance Speech

So what does this mean for the film industry? Or, more importantly, what does it mean for Women in Film? Has the barrier been broken?

Bigelow’s Oscars Will Change Hollywood, Slowly

Even though many think it will take more for women to start their entrance into the film industry – it is still an incredible accomplishment.

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3 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: JoJo Vinick

  1. Rebecca Felt says:

    It didn’t really hit me until much later how huge of a step was made that night. It’s hard for me to imagine that it took 83 odd years for the Academy to recognize a female director. What I am most excited about it that no one can write this award off for anything other than talent. I feel as if Actresses can have their talents diminished by the press, physical critiques and personality. I don’t think that anyone, except perhaps a disgruntled James Cameron, can begrudge Kathryn Bigelow for her success!

    If I am not mistaken…she is the ex wife of Cameron?
    Not only did she get a better seat than him– she snagged the award?
    That’s fantastic.

  2. Antonia Rutter says:

    In terms of what this has done for the film industry and women in film, I feel like it has provided women with more credit for what they can accomplish and more respect for what they do. The film industry is not only a boys club anymore, perhaps it is predominately male for now, but there are slow steps being made.
    When Bigelow won, very similarly to when Halle Berry won her Oscar several years ago, I heard many comments from people who thought it was ridiculous that there was such a big deal made out of these people winning. The general idea was that all this attention and hype about barriers being broken was over the top because “its not like African American women were not allowed to be in movies until now,” or that “its not like women were not allowed to direct movies until now.” Most of these comments were made by people, in my opinion, who did not understand media and the film industry, its history or what it means. We are so infiltrated in our society by media and this “industry” of film in a way that no other profession, except for maybe sports, affects our culture. You don’t hear of too many reality shows or magazine articles based on Geology researchers. Everyone watches the Oscars and for those in the film industry, winning is one of the highest honors they can receive. So no, I do not think that by Bigelow winning it means that from here on out only women will direct films. I do think that it shows the great lengths women have gone to to prove themselves in this industry and her award is a symbol of her talent and the Acadamys first time recognition and respect of a female director. It is always difficult to be the first to do something; speak in class, go West, whatever, but her award is proof that it can be done.

    I was also pleased that the first female director win and best picture win was for The Hurt Locker. The name in itself says it all, an action war thriller that she was the master mind behind and not some cream cheese romantic chick flick.

    And I think James Cameron is a bit of a hot headed tool, for lack of a better expression, and I am sure The Hurt Lockers two biggest wins really put him in his place and Bigelow deserves it, if for nothing else than for having to have been married to him. Plus shes hotter than his new wife. So good for her!

  3. Actually, Cameron said months prior to the Oscars that he thought Bigelow deserved the Oscar.

    What made me excited about this is that we have always had the division of a “guy’s movie” and a “girlie movie.” Romance, kisses, princes=girls. Blood, guts, explosions=guys. That’s where the brilliance of The Hurt Locker lies–it manages to come off as a guy’s film but appeal to everyone.

    The greatest irony is Bigelow kicked ass in making what is considered a guy’s film. I mean it’s about war! The greatest war films have male directors–Deer Hunter, Saving Private Ryan, Full Metal Jacket, etc. So it was assumed a woman could not possibly know what men like in movies. But, flip it, and guys are capable of making movies for women–Garry Marshall, anyone?

    But out of nowhere comes this film, which opens with such an intensity you’ll sweat as if in a sauna–and directed by a woman! But, beneath the explosive surface lies a rich story not just about war, but the human psyche. What do you do when you only know one thing for so long? The main character was best while in combat. Is it possible to become addicted to that?

    Bigelow delves into the mind of these men. In a sense she satisfies women in creating a character study, while giving blood for the men. Of course, that is only if we were to follow stereotypes.

    As for a change, I don’t think it will be immediate in Hollywood. I mean, we like to think there will be an acceptance of the plus-size actress, but she seems to be moved over to television after one hit.

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