This is, of course, potentially disastrous news for the film’s chances of taking home the Best Picture prize at this year’s Oscars since generally speaking, a nominated film doesn’t win if its director isn’t at least in the running herself. While Jessica Chastain still seems a lock to take home Best Actress and David Boal’s screenplay stands a decent chance of emerging victorious (there are several other technical awards Zero will likely grab as well), the exclusion of Bigelow in the race is a bizarre, controversial development indeed. Bigelow’s Hurt Locker comeback, after years of being diminished to little more than James Cameron’s ex-wife and reportedly being passed up for big Hollywood films that ultimately went to flashier male directors, offered an irresistible narrative to complement Locker’s unprecedented slow-burn success. Bigelow telling the story of the decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden and his ultimate assassination—all apparently orchestrated by an obsessively committed female operative—seemed a natural fit, and her path to Best Director perfectly paved. Until last week, that is, when the nominations were announced and she was conspicuously absent.