Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program alumna Kathryn Bigelow (MFA '81) won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director at the 82nd annual Academy Awards on March 7 for her film The Hurt Locker. She is the first woman in Oscar history to win Best Director, an honor she has already claimed twice this season, winning Best Director at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards and the Directors Guild of America's (DGA) top prize, for "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film." The Oscar wins--six in total--cap an extraordinary awards season for Bigelow and the film, in which she repeatedly won Best Director and Best Film from critics' circles and film societies nationwide.
In addition, Film Program faculty member Geoffrey Fletcher won the Oscar for Writing (Adapted Screenplay) for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, a film that also won several top honors during this year's awards season.
"We look with great pride on Kathryn, a representative of our Film Program and the very best in screenwriting, directing and producing," said Jamal Joseph, Chair of the School of the Arts Film Program. "She is a groundbreaker as a female filmmaker, like so many of our graduates, in Hollywood, television, and independent film. As a School, we are extremely proud of her and her incredible achievements this year."
Bigelow honored by Columbia Film Students in 2009
Bigelow received the ninth annual Andrew Sarris Award at the 2009 Columbia University Film Festival. The award, named for School of the Arts Film Program professor and critic Andrew Sarris, honors outstanding service and artistic achievement of distinguished Film Program alumni. Bigelow also directed Point Break (1991), Strange Days (1995), and K-19: The Widowmaker (2002).
"It is a true honor to receive the Andrew Sarris Award," said Bigelow when she received the award. "My time at Columbia, and in Andrew Sarris's class in particular, was a time of great inspiration and creative expansion."
The 2010 Columbia University Film Festival will run April 26-May 7 in New York, and June 9-11 in Los Angeles. Visit www.cufilmfest.com for more information.