Backlot Bitch: You Can Win an Oscar, but You Can't Win Respect

Kathryn Bigelow back in 2010 when she took home the Oscar for Best Director
“Haters gonna hate.” That’s how I interpret writer Bret Easton Ellis’ misogynist tweets regarding Oscar-winning director Katheryn Bigelow. Her new movie, the Osama-capturing drama Zero Dark Thirty, hasn’t opened in the United States, but has already swept up awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review. Other critics’ groups—my own included—are set to vote in the following weeks, probably adding to her collection.

But back to Ellis. He’s not a fan of Bigelow’s work: Even Point Break failed to win him over. So what does he say to explain critics’ love affair with the, in his estimable view, “really overrated” Bigelow? It’s not the fact that her last film, The Hurt Locker sank her ex’s competing film at the 2010 Oscars. It’s not that he thinks her storytelling skills are lacking. It’s not the even the fact that her shaky-cam style makes his tummy hurt.

No, by his account:“Kathryn Bigelow would be considered a mildly interesting filmmaker if she was a man but since she’s a very hot woman she’s really overrated.”

“Kathryn Bigelow: Strange Days, K-19 The Widowmaker, Blue Steel, The Hurt Locker. Are we talking about visionary filmmaking or just OK junk?”

Given that he’s a guy whose last hit work dropped back when I was in middle school, maybe Ellis ought to stare a little less at Bigelow’s fine bod and instead eye up that Oscar on her shelf. She’s poised at getting the chance to win another, in a field whose female members <”> comprise just 7 percent of the whole.

If Ellis’s charming tweets were a grab at attention, mission accomplished, I guess, since I’m up in arms about this. We could just as easily forget about about the guy. But at the same time, I think it’s a fine example of the institutionalized sexism in the film industry. If Bigelow made RomComs (which she never has) instead of war movies (which few women do), would we hold her in the same esteem? It’s vital that we have a diverse group of talented individuals in ALL aspects of the industry. Anything short of this would be institutional segregation, and would stifle the creative possibilities and effect the collaborative process of filmmaking.

But, for Ellis, my pro tip of the day: If you’re going to take down a director, try picking a better excuse other than “she’s a very hot woman.” Otherwise, you look not just bitter, but bitter and sexist.

Shout out to the original source, since I try not to follow too many mansplainers on Twitter:

by Monica Castillo
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Monica Castillo is a freelance film critic. You can usually find her on Twitter talking about the movie she just watched at @mcastimovies.

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2 Comments Have Been Posted


Considering that she made Point Break and Blue Steel, I think we can safely say she's more than a one trick pony. She single handily revived both Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze's careers at the time or at least kept them relevant. That alone is god's work.

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