Directors James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow will make Oscar history when they become the first previously married couple to go up against one another in both the best picture and director categories during the 82nd annual Academy Awards.
And although Cameron’s $300 million blockbuster Avatar recently beat his own Titanic to become the highest grossing movie ever, Bigelow’s war movie The Hurt Locker – which only cost $9 million to make – could snatch both awards on Hollywood’s biggest night.
Although The Hurt Locker was shut-out at the Golden Globes, Bigelow was named best director at the Directors Guild of America last weekend, the first time a woman had ever received that award in the ceremony’s 62-year history.
The DGA award is a key indicator of Oscar success, more so than the Golden Globes, with only six previous DGA winners failing go on to take home the Oscar for best director.
“I suppose I like to think of myself as a film-maker," Bigelow modestly said after receiving the award.
The film about a bomb disposal expert in Iraq has gained widespread acclaim from critics who have already hailed it as a classic.
Cameron and Bigelow were married from 1989 until 1991, but surprisingly in ego-driven Hollywood, the pair have actually remained good friends.
In fact, the first thing Bigelow did after getting the script for The Hurt Locker was to show it to her ex-husband, who encouraged her to make it.
Accepting the Golden Globe for best director last month, Cameron said: "Frankly, I thought Kathryn was gonna get this. And she richly deserves it."
Seven critic's groups named Bigelow the year's Best Director, while five called her film Best Picture. Interestingly, no critical circle gave Cameron a Best Director nod.
If Bigelow had won the Golden Globe for either Best Director or Best Drama, she would have been the first woman ever to do so.
Bigelow was Cameron’s third of five wives and she never re-married. Ironically it took him 15 years to release his sci-fi spectacular Avatar, yet it came-out in the same year as his former wife’s movie.
The 82nd annual Academy Awards, to be co-hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, take place Sunday, March 7, and will air live on ABC starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.