“This gives me hope,” says 18-year-old Chloe Miller, an aspiring director who plans to begin film school next fall. “This win makes me think that Hollywood is not as closed a place as it has been and that maybe doors are opening for more diversity of all kinds.”
The time for change in Hollywood indeed has come, says Howard Suber, UCLA professor emeritus and author (“The Power of Film”), who maintains that Bigelow’s win was more about Hollywood’s desire to recognize a woman director than the inherent quality of the film. “Five or 10 years from now, I seriously doubt anyone will view ‘Hurt Locker’ as a classic or enduring film,” Mr. Suber says. Unlike a film such as “Avatar,” which pushed technical and stylistic boundaries, “The Hurt Locker” is a very conventional war film. While it is gritty and intense, employing what has now become standard techniques such as a cinéma verité style created by shooting with a hand-held camera, it does not break any new ground.
“Mainstream filmmakers have been using this for decades,” Suber says, adding that this is all about history. “If this film had been directed by [a male director such as] Ridley Scott, this film would never have won Best Picture,” he adds. It may have little impact on the film’s box office, but, he says, it will certainly immeasurably improve Kathryn Bigelow’s chances of getting a meeting at major studios for her next project.