A writer couldn’t have scripted a more Hollywood ending to the saga of Brenda Chapman, Pixar’s first female director. It was over two years ago when Cartoon Brew broke the story about Chapman being unceremoniously dumped from her film Brave. Last night, Brenda made history after becoming the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, a prize shared with co-director Mark Andrews.
It took only twelve years of the Best Animated Feature award before the Academy recognized a film directed by a woman. By comparison, it took 82 years before the Academy awarded an Oscar to a live-action film directed by a woman. That happened in 2009, when Kathryn Bigelow won both Best Picture and Best Director for The Hurt Locker. Let us hope that Hollywood leaves behind its pathetically homogeneous history and continues to embrace diversity and fresh perspectives on storytelling.
[UPDATE]: For the record, I should point out that Vicky Jenson co-directed Shrek, which won the very first Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2001. Sadly, Jenson did not receive an Oscar because the award was given to the film’s producer in that first year.