The Confusing ‘Underrepresented Women at Oscars’ Meme at Los Angeles Times

Here’s Reed Johnson, discussing “Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow, in a February 28th piece at the Los Angeles Times:

In the old-boys club that is modern Hollywood, there are few surer ways to kill off a promising film career than by getting yourself labeled a “feminist” director.

Over the years, Kathryn Bigelow has quietly steered clear of that facile epithet, even while many film critics and academics have insisted that her movies cry out to be examined through the twin lenses of gender and genre.

But on the evidence of her latest movie, the taut war thriller “The Hurt Locker” — a front-runner for this year’s Oscar for best picture — Bigelow deserves to be recognized as one of cinema’s most astute analysts, male or female, of masculine identity. And although her perspective shouldn’t be tagged as “feminist,” it’s one that shakes up traditional notions of what men are and how they behave, whether on a battlefield, in the depths of a nuclear submarine or surfing off Malibu …

Okay, Kathryn Bigelow’s got game, right?

Well, not so fast. Better check first with Rachel Abramowitz, also of the Los Angeles Times:

By many counts, 2009 was a great year for women in Hollywood. Female directors knocked out such hits as “The Proposal,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” “It’s Complicated” and “Julie & Julia,” as well as the Oscar contenders “The Hurt Locker” and “An Education.”

Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep outperformed most of their male counterparts dollar for dollar at the box office, nabbing Oscar nominations to boot. The elusive female movie-going audience has started to gel into a potent force, driving such hits as the “Twilight” franchise, “The Blind Side” and this weekend’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

Now comes the capper, as Kathryn Bigelow stands poised to become the first woman to win an Oscar for directing, after spending seven years in proverbial director’s jail because her last film, “K-19: The Widowmaker,” flopped at the box office.

After winning numerous critic awards and the prestigious Directors Guild of America directing award, Bigelow is favored to take tonight’s prize for directing “The Hurt Locker,” her film about bomb-disposal technicians in Iraq that is also nominated for best picture.

Bigelow’s likely ascension to the podium at the Academy Awards has provided a jolt of adrenaline.

The director lent her own idiosyncratic eye to the most male of genres, the war film.

But she is considered by many in the business to be more of an outlier, an exception to the rule as a woman who’s made her name largely directing men in action films such as “Point Break” and “Strange Days” …

Okay. Right.

Must be some lingering gender bias in the industry? Except that Abramowitz just published a piece, on February 3rd, entitled, “In Oscar Directing Category, a Numbers Boost for Women and African Americans.”

A “boost” in February” but downgraded to a mere “outlier” in March, on the eve of the awards program? No surprise, actually. The leftist media elite gotta maintain that “underrepresented” line at all costs, lest they lose the shaming clout they’ve been building up for so long. Indeed, as one commenter said previously of Rachel Abramowitz:

What matters most in the Abramowitz worldview is vagina. Those who have one are inherently righteous because of their suffering at the hands of the powerful possessors of penis.

It’s true that Kathryn Bigelow would be the first woman to win the best director award. But you’re not getting context from Rachel Abramowitz at the Times, not to mention her contradictory reporting. For one thing, it’s not like women don’t make war films. Director Kimberly Peirce made “Stop Loss,” which bombed at the box office — so maybe folks should be talking about GREAT women film directors rather than filling gender and racial quotas for Oscar. And it’s not like Peirce is a stranger to the Academy Awards. Hilary Swank won best actress in Peirce’s earlier film, “Boys Don’t Cry. And women on tough, hard-hitting drama and violence? Well, maybe Jodie Foster, who carries water for no man, should direct a film on Iraq.

Anyway, Jules Crittenden’s got some good commentary on the Oscars tonight. My favorite line, warning not to hold your breath on authentic war films out of Hollywood: “WWII is after all a moral free throw.”

By the way, Steven Spielberg, who is Jewish, won best director for “Saving Private Ryan” in 1999. If you make powerful movies, the Academy will notice.

Cross-posted from American Power.

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