Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director
After seeing Kathryn Bigelow's breathtaking follow-up to her Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, I walked out of the theater and into the crisp December air, where I joined a bundle of other critics in the resounding consensus that poor Ben Affleck had just lost his shot at the Best Director Oscar. Both filmmakers seemed a lock whenever talk of Oscar contenders arose, and today the director category offered the biggest shocks and snubs of all. Katey's already addressed Affleck, so allow me to talk Bigelow.

Focusing on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, it would have been understandable if Bigelow had favored sensationalism and nationalism-inspired revenge in Zero Dark Thirty. Instead, she rejected both and showed a remarkable restraint, offering a riveting war drama that was presented the complexities and moral quandaries of the War on Terror in a way that was hard-hitting yet not exploitative. While much has been shouted about the film's inclusion of torture, I think Zero Dark Thirty commands its audience to question the cost paid for the death of Bin Laden, but doesn't offer us the salve of a "right" or "wrong" answer. It's a brave move that sadly was not recognized by the Academy.

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