Bigelow ruling in man's world
Kathryn Bigelow has built her career via movies notable for their macho char- acters, whether it's bank-rob- bing surfers in Point Break to adrenaline-addicted bomb squads in The Hurt Locker.
The 58-year-old, who became the first woman in his- tory to win the Oscars best director crown on Sunday, has demonstrated repeatedly that in the male-dominated world of Hollywood she is more than capable of holding her own.
Bigelow's ex-husband James Cameron has said his former spouse revels in proving that "she can out-gun the guys."
Bigelow herself says she was first attracted to movies as an artistic medium after watch- ing Sam Peckinpah's infa- mously bloody Western The Wild Bunch while studying as a painter in New York in the 1970s. Born in California in 1951, Bigelow studied film at Columbia University before later teaching at the California Institute of the Arts.
Her first short film The Set Up offered a prelude of the themes that have been found throughout her career: a 20- minute depiction of two men brawling. Bigelow made her feature film debut with 1982's The Loveless, a biker movie starring the then little-known Willem Dafoe, but had to wait five years for her follow-up, the genre-blurring vampire movie Near Dark.
The action movie Blue Steel was followed in 1991 by Bigelow's breakthrough com- mercial success, Point Break.
The film went on to earn more than $83 million worldwide and has become a cult classic.
Bigelow's next three films, the 1995 thriller Strange Days, 2000's The Weight of Water and 2002's Cold War thriller K-19: The Widowmaker were commercial catastrophes how- ever, each faring poorly at the box office. The last of those three films was dubbed K-19: The Career Tanker by critics after it netted only $65 million dol- lars despite costing around $100 million and featuring stars such as Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson.
In fact Bigelow had not made another film until she returned t helm The Hurt Locker which saw her retur once again to the familiar territory of gling to adapt in the most extreme conditions.