Kathryn Bigelow's feature award from the Directors' Guild of America — the first ever for a woman — confirms her status as an Oscar favorite. She was also the favorite of quite a few of her male peers that night:
The Bigelow lovefest, according to reports (the event isn't televised or webcast) ranged from praise of her directorial chops to praise of her legs. (All nominated directors give speeches whether they win or not).
Quentin Tarantino recalled seeing Near Dark in 1987: "I went home and wrote 'Kathryn Bigelow is the queen of directors." Jason Reitman said, "Kathryn, I knew you were a great director. After seeing The Hurt Locker, I consider you one of the greats."
According to The Wrap's Steve Pond's Twitter feed, Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner joked, "The only thing to rival Kathryn Bigelow in a bikini is Lee Daniels in a one-piece."
Daniels himself said in his pre-award speech, "My sister sent me a text before the show. She just wanted to know if Kathryn Bigelow had won yet. Kathryn, your movie is as beautiful as your legs. You make me question my sexuality."
It was enough to disturb several observers, including Andre Soares at Alt Film Guide, who wrote, "Had she been a handsome guy, I wonder how many remarks would have been made about his physical attributes. And how many male directors and presenters would be publicly questioning their sexuality."
And what of James Cameron? (Did you know they used to be married?) Observers said he took particular care in lauding all of the other directors in his speech, including Bigelow. That continued even after the host tried to play up the rivalry:
After Bigelow's win, show emcee Carl Reiner... pointed towards Bigelow's fellow nominees and joked, "There are only four people in the room who are not happy about Bigelow." Cameron immediately shook his head, and insisted that he was indeed happy for her.
The DGA award is a strong predictor for the Best Director Oscar — the two have aligned in their picks all but six times since 1948. Per The Hollywood Reporter, "The Hurt Locker is now in commanding position in the Oscar race, although it would be the lowest-grossing film ever to win Best Picture."
Another woman, Lesli Linka Glatter won for directing an episode of Mad Men, "Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency."
Afterwards, Bigelow — who called it "the most incredible moment of my life" — displayed her characteristic reticence in discussing gender:
Bigelow...had trouble answering a question about how she felt to become the first woman to win the award.
"I suppose I like to think of myself as a filmmaker," she said, "and it's truly extraordinary to be honored by this amazing directorial body."
Yeah, I suppose she can think of herself as a filmmaker, plus or minus a few modest qualifiers.
Kathryn Bigelow Tops Directors With Hurt Locker [USAT]
Kathryn Bigelow Wins Top DGA Award [The Wrap]
DGA Awards: Focus on Kathryn Bigelow's Gender [Alt Film Guide]
A Big, Bold Crack In The Glass Ceiling [Women & Hollywood]