‘Hurt Locker’ triumphs at Oscars
The time has come, said presenter Barbra Streisand. As she paused a beat too long, Kathryn Bigelow took a deep breath. Within that breath, history was made. A woman had finally won best director at the Academy Awards. Bigelow’s Iraq War film The Hurt Locker was the biggest winner of the night, winning Best Picture and sweeping six out of nine awards that they were nominated for, upsetting fan favourite Avatar who only won three awards in Art Direction, Cinematography, and Visual Effects.
Though heavily predicted, it still seemed too good to be true when Bigelow was announced the winner for Best Director, the first woman to win the award in its 82-year history. The film that had been expected to provide sternest competition was Avatar, the groundbreaking 3D science-fiction film directed by Bigelow’s former husband James Cameron, who sat immediately behind her in the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles and seemed genuinely pleased for her success in the directing category.
Avatar was also nominated for nine awards, but went home with just three, all on the craft side. Bigelow dedicated her prize and, later, the best picture award to “the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world. May they come home safe.”
Meanwhile, Best Actor and Best Actress winners, Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock, gave heartfelt speeches and both stars dedicated their awards to their parents. “The Dude” abided in style when Jeff Bridges was named best actor of 2009 for Crazy Heart, a character study of a boozy country music has-been regaining his character. Bridges, 60, a long time Hollywood darling, cashed in his fifth Oscar nomination and accepted with the kind of laid-back affability he showed in the cult fave, The Big Lebowski.
Bridges’ triumph is the culmination of a strange trip for Crazy Heart, even by Hollywood standards. “Thank you mum and dad for turning me on to such a groovy profession,” said Bridges in his acceptance speech. He spoke fondly of his parents, actor Lloyd Bridges and poet/actress Dorothy Bridges, who used to teach him the basics of acting. He said, “This is honouring them as much as it is me.”
Bullock’s speech was decked out in her usual comedic flair. The first thing she said when she got to the microphone was, “Did I really win this or did I just wear you all down?” prompting laughter from the audience. Bullock thanked the academy and praised her competition, singling out each woman for praise, and alluded to a moment at the People’s Choice Awards when she and Streep comically locked lips. “Meryl, you know what I think of you, and you’re such a good kisser.”
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who played a multi-lingual officer Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds, picked up the award for Best Supporting Actor and called receiving the award from last year’s Best Supporting Actress winner, Penelope Cruz, “an uber-bingo”. This year’s Best Supporting Actress winner, Mo’Nique, paid a tribute to the first African-American who won an Oscar, also the category she won in, Hattie McDaniel for Gone With The Wind. In her acceptance speech, she thanked McDaniel for “enduring all she had to so that I would not have to.”
The stand-up comedienne also wore the same type of flower McDaniel wore in her hair, and same-coloured dress, when she accepted the award in 1939. Sunday night’s broadcast of the 82nd annual Academy Awards may have dragged here and there, but it can’t be blamed on co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, who descended from above the stage after a bouncy, suggestive song-and-dance bit by Neil Patrick Harris.
Martin and Baldwin, who co-starred with best actress nominee Meryl Streep in the holiday hit It’s Complicated, made her the brunt of several jokes only buddies can crack, including a reference to her “collection of Hitler memorabilia.” It was the first time the Oscars have relied on more than one host since 1987, when Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and Paul “Crocodile Dundee” Hogan had the gig.
The longest segment of the show’s first hour was a tribute to filmmaker John Hughes, who died in 2009 of a heart attack. The creator of The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and other models of 1980s teen movies was saluted by several actors he directed, including Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Macauley Culkin, and Matthew Broderick. Each spoke of their admiration for the filmmaker who essentially launched their careers.
THE NIGHT’S BIG WINNERS…
Picture: The Hurt Locker
Actor: Jeff Bridges
Actress: Sandra Bullock
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz
Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Adapted Screenplay: Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire
Original Screenplay: The Hurt Locker
Animated feature film: Up
Foreign language film: The Secret in their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos), Argentina
Documentary feature: The Cove
Documentary short: Music by Prudence
Live action short: The New Tenants
Animated short: Logorama
Art direction: Avatar
Costume design: The Young Victoria
Film editing: The Hurt Locker
Makeup: Star Trek
Original song: The Weary Kind, Crazy Heart
Original score: Up
Sound editing: The Hurt Locker
Sound mixing: The Hurt Locker
Visual effects: Avatar
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