Among the films I've seen this year two are
directed by women: Kathryn Bigelow's
"The Hurt Locker" and Nora Ephron's "Julie & Julia," which opens August 7. Which makes me think -
could this be the year that a woman finally wins the Best Director Oscar?
Even to get nominated would be significant. Only three other female directors have been also been nominated: Lina
Wertmüller in 1975 for "Seven Beauties," Jane Campion in 1993 for "The Piano"
and Sofia Coppola in 2003 for "Lost in Translation."
And speaking of Campion, don't count her out
of the nomination race. Her latest film, " Bright Star," a
biopic about John Keats, premiered at Cannes to
high praise (Lisa Nesselson described it as "exquisitely wrought" in her Cannes wrap-up for the "Phoenix" ).
It opens September 25. And Mira Nair shows promise with her "Amelia," which
stars Hilary Swank as the 1930s aviatrix Amelia Earhart and opens October 23.
Do they have a chance? The fact that three of
the films ("Julie & Julia," "Bright Star" and "Amelia") are biopics gives
them an edge, since that is a genre that has shown a lot of success with the
Academy. On the other hand, the expansion of the Best Picture category to ten
nominees might not necessarily help the cause. True, it increases the chances
of the films getting nominated for Best Picture, which might clear voters'
consciences about stiffing them for Best Director. And finally, if more than
one gets nominated, would they split the vote?
But who knows? Not so long ago who'd have
thought we'd ever elect an African-American President?