To be honest, I’m not sure what to say. I was very excited to hear that you were in Brazil with Avatar director James Cameron to protest the Belo Monte Dam project that will further damage the rain forest (a very Avatar-like scenario, to be sure). I just heard that a judge intervened and has stopped the project for now, so well done!
But I am puzzled by some comments you made to the Brazil press, specifically about the Oscar wins for Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker. Folha Online reported that when you were asked why James Cameron didn’t win for Avatar, you answered, “Jim didn’t have breasts, and I think that was the reason.”
At first, I laughed; surely, you were joking. A powerful and successful actor — and feminist — would never say such a thing in all seriousness. “Breasts!” Ha! Good one!
Except you apparently weren’t joking. You went on to say that you think the Academy was more interested in making history by honoring a woman than it was in choosing the best director and best film.
Then you trashed Bigelow’s movie, saying, “In the past, Avatar would have won because they [Academy voters] loved to hand out awards to big productions, like Ben-Hur. Today it’s fashionable to give the Oscar to a small movie that nobody saw.”
Um, Sigourney? Did you hear what you said? Sure, you love James Cameron. One of your most kick-ass roles was in a Cameron film. Personally, I will always be grateful to him for this:
And yes, Avatar was a remarkable film. The special effects were amazing and I totally enjoyed the visual wonder of the movie. Plus, the environmental message: spot on. But best movie of 2009? No way. Avatar’s story, such as it was, was far from original – and even farther from compelling. Apart from the 3-D effects, it just wasn’t Best Picture material.
But that’s beside the point. Even if you honestly think that Avatar and Cameron deserved Oscar wins, why belittle Kathryn Bigelow? It’s beneath you, Sigourney. And it sounds more than a little like sour grapes.
Besides, if breasts were the deciding factor for a Best Director nod, we would’ve had a winning pair long ago.
I hope you’ll tell us soon that something was lost in the translation of the Brazilian story. Because right now, a lot of your admirers are very, very sad.
PS: I’ve asked some of my friends to add their thoughts below, because they always have great things to say. So keep reading. Thanks.