Kathryn Bigelow Becomes the First Woman to Win the Academy Award for Best Director

Kathryn Bigelow today became the first woman in history to win the best director award at the Oscars.

Her low-budget Iraq war film, The Hurt Locker, about a bomb disposal team, was the big winner at the ceremony. It took six academy awards, including those for best picture and best original screenplay.

The Hurt Locker triumphed the over the 3D blockbuster Avatar, directed by Bigelow's former husband, James Cameron.

Cameron, who sat behind Bigelow at the ceremony in the Kodak theatre in Hollywood, was one of the first to offer congratulations when he reached over to tap her on the shoulder.

Kathryn Ann Bigelow (born November 27, 1951) is an American film director. Her best-known films are the cult horror film Near Dark (1987), the surfer/bank robbery action picture Point Break (1991), the historical/mystery film The Weight of Water (2000) and the war drama The Hurt Locker (2009). The Hurt Locker won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Picture, won the BAFTA Award for Best Film, and was nominated for the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Drama.

With The Hurt Locker, Bigelow became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director, the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing, the BAFTA Award for Best Direction, and the Critics' Choice Award for Best Director.

“The Hurt Locker” won the top two prizes at Sunday's Academy Awards, taking home the best picture trophy and the best director honor for Kathryn Bigelow.

Bigelow is the first woman in the 82-year history of the Oscars to earn Hollywood's top prize for filmmakers.

"There's no other way to describe it. It's the moment of a lifetime," Bigelow said. "It's so extraordinary to be in the company of my fellow nominees, such powerful filmmakers, who have inspired me and I have admired, some of them for decades."

She dedicated the award to the military men and women serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world: "May they come home safe."