Kathryn Bigelow: ‘Winter's Bone’ Is ‘Magnificent’

Oscar-winning director hosts private screenings to support indie drama

EXCLUSIVE

Last year's Best Director has taken a stand in this year's Oscar race – and Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman ever to win that award, announced at two private screenings at the Soho House that she is a fan of Debra Granik's "Winter's Bone," the evocative and chilling indie drama currently fighting for a slot in the Best Picture race.

Kathryn Bigelow"I just think it's a masterful film that deserves exposure – and if I can do anything to help it out, I'm happy to do it," the "Hurt Locker" director (left) exclusively told theWrap on Wednesday night at a small reception that followed the first screening, where guests included "Winter's Bone" star Jennifer Lawrence and Oscar show producer Bruce Cohen.

In the final two weeks of Oscar nomination voting, private screenings hosted by top talent are being used to stir up interest in films fighting for voters' attention. On Tuesday night, for instance, Julia Roberts hosted a screening of "Biutiful" and sang the praises of star Javier Bardem to the packed audience, and to Entertainment Weekly's Dave Karger

And Wednesday, "Winter's Bone" screened twice in the deluxe screening room in West Hollywood's Soho House, with Bigelow introducing the film alongside Granik (below).

Debra GranikThe two women had never met before Bigelow, a new member of the Academy's board of governors, decided to show her support for "Winter's Bone" in the final days of nominations campaigning.

"I was fascinated to meet her, because the film is so perfectly crafted," Bigelow said. "The performances are extraordinary, Jennifer Lawrence is a star turn. And it's got this prescient knowing, this confidence you feel watching a film that's haunting and provocative.

"It's just a magnificent film."

Granik's tale of a teenage girl in the Ozarks searching for her meth-dealing father is one of the most acclaimed films of 2010, and earlier on Wednesday received a nomination for the Scripter Awards, which honor literary adaptations. It was not eligible for the WGA Awards and was passed over by the Producers Guild, but has been nominated or awarded by the Critics Choice Movie Awards and many other critics groups, and leads all movies with seven nominations for the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

It also won the Best Feature award at the recent Gotham Independent Feature Awards, the same honor that "The Hurt Locker" took home the previous year.

Before returning to the screening room to introduce the second screening, Bigelow laughed about how it's easier to watch an Oscar race largely from the sidelines, rather than being pushed to campaign for her movie the way she did last year.

"Yeah," she said softly. "I'm naturally shy, so that process was … a process."