Kathryn Bigelow had nothing but praise for her Oscar rival and ex-husband, James Cameron, after beating him for the best director and best picture Oscars in an epic David and Goliath battle.

“I think he’s an extraordinary filmmaker,” she told reporters backstage after watching her scrappy indie movie, The Hurt Locker, take on the monster hit, Avatar, and win.

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“I have to say, all the nominees are phenomenal, powerful, talented filmmakers, and what an honor. And for me, how humbling it was for me to be in that company, in that conversation.  So I have to say, for me, it’s a humbling experience.”

She lavished her old spouse, to whom she was married for three years in 1989, with further plaudits: “I think Jim is very inspiring, and I think he inspires filmmakers around the world, and for that I think I can speak for all of them. We’re quite grateful.”

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So, what does it mean to be the first woman to win the golden statuette for best director? “I hope I’m the first of many,” the 58-year-old said last night. “And, of course, I’d love to just think of myself as a filmmaker, and I long for the day when a modifier can be a moot point.

“But I’m ever grateful if I can inspire some young, intrepid, tenacious male or female filmmaker and have them feel that the impossible is possible and never give up on your dream.”

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Celebrating her movie’s six Oscars, Kathryn had some advice for aspiring filmmakers, “I would say, and I don’t mean it to sound simple, but just to never give up on your dream. And, you know, I mean, I’ve been making films for a while.

“It’s only about 30 years. So when I say, ‘Don’t give up on your dream,’ I mean it quite literally. So just, you know, be tenacious, but work on the stories you truly, truly believe in, because then no obstacle is too great.”

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