Kathryn Bigelow made history when she won the Academy Award for Best Director for "The Hurt Locker," as until that moment, not a single female filmmaker had ever received an Oscar in that category. While Bigelow absolutely deserves the Oscar, it's hard not to scratch your head and wonder — what took so long?
There is no shortage of incredibly talented female directors working both in and outside of Hollywood, so the fact that it took 82 Academy Award ceremonies for a woman to win Best Director is more than a little bit puzzling.
After the jump, we've listed five female filmmakers that absolutely deserved an Oscar for their work.
Amy Heckerling for "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"
Heckerling's "Fast Times" deserves a place in Oscar history not just because it's a terrific film — it absolutely is — but because of the insane amount of budding talent attached to the project. In many ways, this was the birthing ground for icons such as Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, Forest Whitaker, Cameron Crowe and more. Heckerling's eye for talent makes her worthy of a retroactive award, at least in my book.
Kimberly Peirce for "Boys Don't Cry"
While Hilary Swank won Best Actress and Chloe Sevigny was nominated for her performance as well, the Academy sadly neglected to honor Peirce's work on "Boys Don't Cry." In fairness, the director was up against tough competitors such as Sam Mendes, Spike Jonze and M. Night Shyamalan. In any other year, however, Peirce would not only have been nominated, she very easily could have won.
Mary Harron for "American Psycho"
Harron's "American Psycho" is easily one of my favorite films from 2000. The director did an exquisite job of ratcheting up the bloody tension throughout Patrick Bateman's escalating descent into madness, leaving the viewer wonderfully confused over what they've just witnessed. Given the film's hardcore content, however, Harron and "Psycho" never stood a chance at the Oscars.
Penny Marshall for "Big"
With films like "A League of Their Own" and "Riding in Cars with Boys" to her name, Marshall has plenty of meritorious movies under her belt. But for my tastes, "Big" tops them all. Marshall's guidance allowed for one of the first great performances of Tom Hanks' esteemed career, and her work presented moviegoers with a truly touching tale about what it means to grow up. That's not even mentioning the iconic piano scene — that has Oscar written all over it.
Sofia Coppola for "Lost in Translation"
Like so many other competitors at the 76h Academy Awards, Coppola's chances for Oscar gold were obliterated by the juggernaut sweep of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King." If "Rings" was taken out of the equation, Coppola would have easily won the Best Director award for her work on "Lost in Translation." At least she walked away with a statue for Best Original Screenplay instead.
- Catherine Hardwicke for "Thirteen"
- Claire Denis for "Chocolat"
- Jane Campion for "The Piano"
- Julie Taymor for "Frida"
- Norah Ephron for "Julie & Julia"
- Rebecca Miller for "The Ballad of Jack and Rose"
- Valerie Feris for "Little Miss Sunshine"
Tell us which female filmmakers you feel deserved an Academy Award in the comments and on Twitter!