I don't know why Kathryn Bigelow wasn't nominated for Best Director, along with the Best Picture nomination for Zero Dark Thirty, in this year's Oscars. They did nominate Mark Boal for Best Original Screenplay, Jessica Chastain for Best Actress, and nominations each for Best Editing and Best Sound Editing.
The movie, with the logline "The Greatest Manhunt in History," culminates in that 30 minutes after-midnight raid on UBL's hideout in a middle-class enclave in Pakistan. But that gripping raid scene, made more realistic and immediate with shots using night vision goggles, is built up through the tedium of intelligence work - especially of the single-minded zeal (not so much different from the fanatical allegiance of the al-Qaeda militants) - punctuated by the depiction of brutal interrogations of captives and of suicide bombings and assassination attempts - as ably portrayed by Chastain in her role as the seemingly delicate but dogged CIA operative Maya. And that ending, with Maya boarding a military cargo plane as its sole passenger, sums up what the manhunt may have meant to her and to the rest of us.
And that buildup to its finish is why Bigelow should have been nominated. ✍
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