HOLLYWOOD (2nd UPDATE) - Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman in history to win the Oscar for best director here Sunday, claiming the coveted prize for her Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker."
The 58-year-old film-maker -- only the fourth woman ever to be nominated for the award -- defeated ex-husband James Cameron to win the golden statuette at the Kodak Theater.
"It's the moment of a lifetime," a stunned Bigelow said as she accepted the award at the glittering Oscars' ceremony, and dedicated it to US troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bigelow's win had been widely expected after she won the top honor at the Directors Guild of America Awards recently, regarded as a reliable indicator of likely Oscars success.
"The Hurt Locker" also scooped up five other awards Sunday including for journalist Mark Boal for best original screenplay.
"Well the time has come," screen legend Barbra Streisand said as she announced the winner, referring to Bigelow's historic shattering of the Oscars glass ceiling.
"This is, again, the moment of a lifetime. I would not be standing here if it was not for Mark Boal who risked his life for the words on the page and wrote such a courageous screenplay," Bigelow said, clearly moved by her win.
"I'd just like to dedicate this to the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world and may they come home safe," she added.
Her ex-husband Cameron had been nominated for his science-fiction blockbuster "Avatar," the highest-grossing film in history with more than 2.5 billion dollars in earnings since its release last year.
Other nominees in the category on Sunday included Quentin Tarantino for his bloody World War Two film "Inglourious Basterds," Jason Reitman for "Up In the Air" and Lee Daniels for "Precious."