The movie, starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, follows upcoming boxer Micky Ward and his crack-addicted brother, former boxing champ Dicky Eklund. It might be set in the world of boxing but the film is primarily about Ward's struggle with his overbearing mother and desperate brother – a struggle he can only face with the support of his spitfire girlfriend.
The movie has since been critically acclaimed and is racking up the award nominations. The movie's stars, Wahlberg, Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, have all been nominated for acting Oscars, as has the director David O. Russell. The film has also been nominated for Best Picture.
Director Catherine Hardwicke on the set of Twilight. Photo: AP
Speaking to The Wrap last week Hardwicke said she was told the film had to be directed by a man. "I couldn't get an interview even though my last movie made $US400 million," she said. "I was told it had to be directed by a man.
"It's about action, it's about boxing, so a man has to direct it ... But they'll let a man direct Sex and the City or any girly movie you've ever heard of."
Hardwicke's Twilight movie was both a critical and financial success, despite being shot on a small budget. The four subsequent films in the vampire romance franchise have been directed by men.
The lack of opportunities has long been a bug bear for female directors in Hollywood but last year, when Kathryn Bigelow won the Oscar for her Iraq war film The Hurt Locker, it looked like times were finally changing.
With the historic win Bigelow became the first woman to win the Best Director Academy Award and seemingly smashed through the celluloid ceiling. The movie also took the gong for Best Picture.
"'There is no other way to describe it - it's the moment of a lifetime," said Bigelow.
Female directors must have been hoping there would be many more moments like this but the 2011 awards season has been a disappointment. No female directors have been nominated for an Oscar and only two out of the 10 films nominated for Best Picture were made by women: The Kids Are All Right and Winter's Bone.
This year the stars of the acclaimed film The Kids Are All Right have been vocal in their support of the movie's female director Lisa Cholodenko. While Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo have been cleaning up the award nominations, Cholodenko's name has been conspicuously absent.
Backstage at the Golden Globes Ruffalo said: "I would just like to say to academy members, why don't you grow a pair and vote for Lisa Cholodenko as well?"
"I thought she deserved all those nominations as well," said Bening.
"Very often good directors aren't calling attention to themselves in their filmmaking. Oftentimes they're less recognised because of that."