When she read Kathryn Bigelow’s name on the card as Best Director at
the Academy Awards ceremony in 2010, Barbra Streisand declared, “The
time has come!” She was expressing liberal feminist outrage at the acad-
emy’s previous exclusion of women from the prestige category. The remark
was also something of a star turn, as Streisand’s own snubs in the category
are well publicized.1 Bigelow, while gracious in her acceptance, made only
fleeting reference to gains made for women’s equality, and then only implic-
itly, in her dedication “to the brave women and men of the [U.S.] military
who risk their lives daily in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world.”
Film industry sexism was set aside, and what Arjun Appadurai calls “the
multiple worlds that are constituted by the historically situated imagina-
tions of persons and groups spread around the globe”—among them the
estimated half billion viewers tuned into the annual Oscar broadcast—were
consolidated under America’s watchful eye.2
During the buildup to the awards show, statistics about the paucity of
women directors were widely reported, ruffling a longtime journalistic in-
difference to the glaring gender inequities in Hollywood that was increas-
ingly challenged in the aftermath of Bigelow’s win. Martha M. Lauzen’s
annual study of the number of women employed in key creative behind-
the- scenes roles on the top- grossing domestic (U.S.) films put the propor-
tion of female directors at 9 percent in 2008, the same percentage she had
measured ten years earlier.3 Bigelow’s win was widely heralded and debated
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