Ladies and gentlemen, the most exciting match of awards season is officially James Cameron and Avatar vs. Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker. Forget the other eight Best Picture nominees and the other three Best Director contenders at next year’s Oscars. These are the two movies and filmmakers to watch, and come March 7 only one of the two Hollywood vets will be crowned King or Queen of the World.
Even if Bigelow wasn’t winning the majority of critics’ circle awards for best director (her film is doing quite well in most circles, too), and even if Cameron’s movie hadn’t surprisingly been named best picture by New York online critics, this would be an interesting battle. Why? Because these two filmmakers were once married. I don’t care what their relationship is like these days (they were divorced in 1991 after a two-year union, but they still collaborated on 1995’s Strange Days), it has to be more intense fighting your ex for an Oscar than for anything else — save for a child custody battle, but they didn’t have kids together so that’s a moot exception.
It’s very, very plausible that Avatar could end up Cameron’s second Best Picture winner, and Bigelow is the front-runner for Best Director, which she’d be the first female ever to win. Wouldn’t that be weird? Or, what if we’re all surprised and the wins are the other way around? Could Avatar possibly pick up both? Could The Hurt Locker? You know the Academy can’t control these things, though it might at least be in their interest to keep hyping this, as it might make for an interesting ceremony (meaning higher ratings!?!? OMG!!!).
Or, maybe we film bloggers can exploit this battle of the divorcee directors on our own. Here’s a sample of mentions of the relationship following the NYFCO announcement last night:
Looking for an Oscar first? Here’s one: Kathryn Bigelow, director of the much-praised and serious “The Hurt Locker,” could be in the running for best director against her ex-husband. Bigelow was married from 1989-91 to “Avatar” director James Cameron. […] The joke is that Academy Awards could turn into “Divorce Court,” except for one thing: The exes have remained good friends over the years.
Anyway, the New York Film Critics Online just revealed their selections, and while they’re not the most influential group out there, there’s good news for those hoping for a blockbuster presence in the awards season — and a battle of the exes on the Best Director front.
In an interesting twist to the Oscar race, Kathryn Bigelow could be up against her ex-husband, James Cameron.
THE HURT LOCKER
The Rap: Little film with a lot of very very committed fans in the critical world.
Favorable Winds: Swept critics awards this weekend; possible Cameron vs. ex-wife director Bigelow storyline may be irresistible for Oscar.
In the group’s voting on Sunday, James Cameron’s “Avatar” (left) was named best film, while Kathryn Bigelow took home the best director prize (in what was reportedly a tight race with Cameron, her ex-husband) for “The Hurt Locker.”
The online critics went with James Cameron’s Avatar for Best Picture and Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director for The Hurt Locker. This once again underlines my year-long hope for an ex-spouse battle come Oscar time. I’ve been a fan of Bigelow and Cameron, separately and together for 20+ years now. So it’s nice to see them enjoy a good year simultaneously.
Funny enough it wasn’t James Cameron labeled King for all his years of work into the project but his former Queen, Kathryn Bigelow, that was lauded as Best Director for the more gripping and low-tech explosives of The Hurt Locker. Both films walk away with nice percentages to become Oscar nominees from the group.
But if I’m wrong about Bigelow and she wins at DGA, her victory will be historic; no woman’s ever won there. It will also launch “The Hurt Locker” to an easy win at the Oscars, of course. It will also be terrific Hollywood soap opera to witness, considering she will beat her ex-husband. Bigelow and James Cameron were married from 1989 to 1991.
Hmmm … do you think any of Cameron’s other three ex-wives will ever get a shot at that too?
Yet while we are living through ongoing wars on two fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cameron returns to the same fixtures as before, despite the horrors of this conflict being displayed each evening on the news. Meanwhile this day-glo farce has been preceded by an actual contemporary Iraq war film, The Hurt Locker, by Cameron’s ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow. Why any man would attempt to allegorise the illegal conflict in the Middle-East with a cartoon that owes more to World of Warcraft than bodies returning to Dover Air Force base I do not understand. It is a failure of resolve, a disgraceful retreat into spectacle and the techno-fetishism of immersive CGI.