Now an Oscar thought: So what did James Cameron do to everyone's mothers? The corner of the Web that I observe seemed full of what stagger_lee77 is very good at spotting, which is "We won't feel better until you feel worse": The Hurt Locker's wins, especially Kathryn Bigelow as Best Director (woo hoo!), were the latest opportunity for a lot of people to justify attacking, or making fun of, Cameron. It continued the conventional wisdom much of the Net's had for the last three months, which boils down to "Avatar is stupid and Cameron is stupid and anyone who got enjoyment from Avatar is stupid." Which is easier to think than to think much about The Hurt Locker, which most of the Net hasn't actually seen yet. (I'll admit I haven't seen it yet.)
Okay, Cameron is Cameron. He's nuts. He's done crazy move after crazy move in his career. I admit I find his personal life maddening. And while I enjoyed Avatar a lot, I know he's done more coherent, thoughtful films before, and I think he'll do more coherent, thoughtful films again. I've been a Cameron fan since the 1980s; there's more to him than Avatar. I'm still with "Fatboy" Roberts, who said that Avatar is basically Cameron's head exploding for three hours. That film came from a very personal, weird place in Cameron's psyche, and it still managed to resonate with a lot of people. But it's not the end of films as we know it. It never threatened that, its pushing of the technological envelope notwithstanding. IT'S NOT THE ONLY STORY THAT'LL EVER BE TOLD. It's far from the only interesting story of film in 2009-10, just as Titanic (another film that came from a weird, personal place inside Cameron) was far from the only interesting story of film in 1997-98.
The Hurt Locker is its own thing. And now it's a multiple-award-winning thing. Kathryn Bigelow has had a fascinating career that's built on itself and has gotten attention through a lot of talent. These films are hard to make, and Bigelow hasn't gone the easy route when making them, either. She and her crew achieved something great with The Hurt Locker. Her win should celebrate that. But repeatedly last night, I saw people say some variation of "Her acceptance speech should be just 'Kiss My Ass, Jim!'" Which doesn't really work because THE TWO OF THEM ACTUALLY LIKE EACH OTHER. Don't ignore that they managed to get amicable with each other again after their divorce, or that Cameron has been (in his own crazy, maddening way, I'll admit) rooting for her to win Best Director. He knows how hard it is to make films, and he knows how crazy-making Hollywood politics can be, and he's supported Bigelow for much of their respective careers. (They've known each other since the 1980s, and worked together both before and after their marriage.)
Bigelow's win is huge, and wonderful. A small, harrowing film about a difficult subject that handles that subject with what I've heard is sensitivity has won the biggest award the film industry directly offers. It's a film that took a lot of chances, and those chances paid off. Chance-taking and risk-taking need to be encouraged; they need to be possible. (Precious is a chance-taker and risk-taker, too. So's Inglourious Basterds. So are many other films. People still want to make risky, chancy films.)
Not that Bigelow's ever going to see this, or that I'm ever going to meet her, but I'd say to her "Congratulations," not "Oh yeah, you really stuck it to him!!!!" Because I think that tries to diminish Bigelow's win and The Hurt Locker's win. It makes the award about someone else (Cameron) and something else (Avatar).
Let The Hurt Locker's win be about The Hurt Locker. Be positive about something good happening to someone good. Stay in Bigelow's corner and let her try something else interesting and thoughtful and risk-taking. She will. Other filmmakers will, too. And that's also worth celebrating.