Kathryn Bigelow: The Front Runner

Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker, is poised to make Oscar history. It's just one more stop on a career-long wild ride

Amanda Marsalis for TIME

Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker

There are two excellent reasons to watch the Academy Awards on March 7 through to the bitter end: 1) Kathryn Bigelow, 58, may be the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director, and 2) if she does, she'll beat out her ex-husband James Cameron. These are possibilities that never crossed her mind when she was shooting her Iraq-war movie The Hurt Locker in Jordan in 2007, perspiring in the 115°F heat, her face covered in dirt.

Just shy of 6 ft. tall, exuding self-assurance and intelligence, Bigelow is both...

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