‘Hurt Locker,’ ‘Up,’ ‘The Cove’ win with PGA

Posted by · 5:56 pm · January 24th, 2010

The Hurt LockerWow.  Summit Entertainment’s “The Hurt Locker” took down Goliath to win the PGA award tonight.  I’m at a total loss.  The film has asserted itself, rather dramatically, as a film to contend with, one that won’t be stampeded by the “Avatar” express.  And I am, quite frankly, ecstatic at the notion.

Actor Jeff Bridges presented the award to producers Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicholas Chartier and Greg Shapiro. We wanted a horse race.  We got one.  Wow.

Pixar’s “Up,” also nominated in the field of 10 Best Picture contenders, won the animated feature award, the highest grossing film of the category.  Louie Psihoyos’s “The Cove,” meanwhile, won the documentary prize.

Mo’Nique presented the Stanley Kramer Award to “Precious” director Lee Daniels, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen presented the David O. Selznick Award to Pixar honcho John Lasseter and Will Smith presented the Milestone Award to Sony’s Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton.

On to the DGAs next weekend, which will likely go in Kathryn Bigelow’s favor, too.  Watch out.

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87 responses so far

  • 1 1-24-2010 at 9:42 pm

    SHAAAARK said...

    HUZZAH. I love it that a movie that’s actually in my top 5 is doing really GREAT. Comeback time, bitches.

  • 2 1-24-2010 at 9:43 pm

    Hans said...

    You’d think that from the way people talk here and on AwardsDaily that it’s impossible to love both the monster hit and the little indie that could. I love them both (and IB), so it looks like whichever the way the dice rolls, I’m a happy camper.

    Count me in as one who loves that we have a race! I mean, let’s get serious, who here would put down with 100% confidence right now on their Oscar prediction ballot a win for either HL or Avatar?

  • 3 1-24-2010 at 9:48 pm

    Adam M. said...

    I don’t think Bigelow has the DGA in the bag the way we all (or many of us) thought Avatar had the PGA in the bag. You catch my drift?

    And the Basterds win at SAG didn’t mean very much. It was the only nominated film aside from maybe An Education that actually featured an ensemble cast. It was the obvious choice, and clearly not a vote of support for “best film” a la Slumdog’s ridiculous win last year.

    It’ll be a race between Avatar and THL right up until they open the envelope on Oscar night. What’s interesting is that with the newly implemented preferential voting tally to determine the winner, the Oscar will likely go to the film that has the most overall high-ranked support– so not just #1 votes, but #2 and #3 votes as well. Does THL have that kind of momentum? I don’t think so. But Avatar sure does.

    We shall see…

  • 4 1-24-2010 at 9:48 pm

    Erik 815 said...

    “I know… we all know that Avatar is bigger than anything out there”

    is what I meant. Too sleepy / surprised / excited for THL to be entirely coherent.

  • 5 1-24-2010 at 10:22 pm

    SHAAAARK said...

    LOL. the commenters at AwardsDaily went ballistic. And then turned on Sasha when she expressed delight. The Avatards are vicious. And this is suddenly ALL ABOUT how Bigelow is a woman, never mind the huge critical praise, the critic’s awards domination, etc. This is about a great film, an underseen film (it’s mostly the marketer’s fault, though) resurrected through sheer force. And it’s one of the top DVD purchases/rentals in the U.S. right now. TORPEDO fired on the “nobody’s seen it” argument. Woooooooo. Come on, DGA, don’t let us down.

  • 6 1-24-2010 at 10:49 pm

    sdafaf said...

    When was the last time that a film won neither the Critics Choice awards nor the PGA awards and still won Best Picture at the oscars?

  • 7 1-24-2010 at 11:37 pm

    The Other James D. said...

    ^Um, Crash.



    So much for the money factor. Keep on trucking, The Hurt Locker. I just hope Cameron doesn’t upset Goddess Bigelow at the DGAs. This surprise victory makes up for the lack of a surprise win last night (although I do decree that IB was worthy…mostly…save for a few cast members…).

  • 8 1-24-2010 at 11:41 pm

    The Other James D. said...

    P.S. SHAAAARK, seriously?! Hilarious! In particular, this is a lulzy reaction because Sasha has been a big supporter of Avatar, while simultaneously loving The Hurt Locker. Furthermore, with everyone complaining about this being “a year of populism, where money rules all”, ya’d think there’d be a little more ecstasy over such an underdog victory!

  • 9 1-24-2010 at 11:45 pm

    derek said...

    Since when does the biggest moneymaker become the front runner for all best picture awards when last year the FAR SUPERIOR THE DARK KNIGHT was the moneymaker not nominated? You can argue that the academy doesn’t like comic books so why in the world would they like a land of blue aliens that is built around a storyline so simple, uninteresting and pale by comparison to the basterds, up in the air and the hurt locker??????

  • 10 1-24-2010 at 11:57 pm

    André said...

    hate to be childish, but… happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy.

    and totally deserved! best surprise I could hope for this monday morning!

  • 11 1-25-2010 at 1:33 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    So could Basterds actually the big winner of this weekend? With Avatar and The Hurt Locker split could that be the sneak winner?

  • 12 1-25-2010 at 4:12 am

    Michael W. said...

    Holy s***

    This was the one award I had been expecting Avatar to take all season long. What the hell do me make of all this now!!? If The Hurt Locker had won the SAG ensemble too, then things would be more clear, but this is just insane.

  • 13 1-25-2010 at 4:15 am

    aspect ratio said...

    Wow, that has to be the most unlikely shocker of this whole awards season so far. Not that the PGA always gives the award to the biggest blockbusters, but I don’t think there were very many who predicted this. Even the biggest Avatar detractors were probably expecting it to win here.

    Pleasant surprise! Not just because The Hurt Locker is the better film in my own opinion (though I wouldn’t really have had any problem with Avatar winning this anyway), but also because it reignites the race!

  • 14 1-25-2010 at 4:22 am

    aspect ratio said...

    Interesting to read Steve Pond talking about the PGA using preferential voting, like the Academy will use this year as well. I’ve been thinking about that, and how I think it hurts Avatar.

    The system whittles down the contenders until there are only two films left, and the Best Picture winner will have to have the majority percentage of all the votes. It’s not hard to imagine that The Hurt Locker will feature higher on more ballots than Avatar.. But then again, who knows, The Hurt Locker won here which basically no one expected, so anything can happen.

  • 15 1-25-2010 at 5:40 am

    Matthias Zucker said...

    The thing is, aspect ratio, that THL is the safe choice, you know the film everyone can agree on is decent and people may thus be inclined to put it higher up on their list than they ordinarily would because it’s suddenly this prestige film. And this is precisely what I’ve been afraid of ever since the Academy announced the preferential ballot for the final voting: Films that polarize may never win again, yet will always be replaced by the slightly above-average that offends no one – and that is also how I feel about THL. It’s fine, yes, but where this groundswell of support is coming from is beyond me. It’s unevenly paced, it’s got an unlikable lead character and its message amounts to no more than the age-old “war is a drug”. So what?

    But with even the PGA jumping on the bandwagon, I’d say we close our Oscar pools right now. I wish there was a horserace, but I’ll resign myself to the idea of THL winning it and just hope to be pleasantly surprised. Sad that in a year where I loved nearly all the major contenders (Avatar, Basterds, Precious, Up in the Air, District 9), the only one I can’t fully get onboard with is the one that will likely win it.

  • 16 1-25-2010 at 5:59 am

    Dario said...

    Wouldn’t it be fun (for lack of a better word, but I mean a deeply nerdy sort of fun) if, perhaps for the first time ever, all the major guilds split? It’s not that unimaginable:

    SAG — Inglourious Basterds
    WGA — (500) Days of Summer
    WGA — Up in the Air
    DGA — Avatar
    PGA — The Hurt Locker

    The predictions circuit people would all just brainmelt.

  • 17 1-25-2010 at 6:04 am

    derek said...

    What do you mean insane and being more clear — I like that the race is this open and not everyone is giving the same award to the same picture like last years predictable Slumdog millionaire and actually now i’m glad that they have expanded it to 10 — didn’t like it before but I think it’s the right decision because it does make it even more suspenseful. I really hope Basterds takes it.

  • 18 1-25-2010 at 6:05 am

    Chris said...

    Yay, there’s another shift in the race! Hasn’t been this much fun since 2006, when the race was all over the place too.

    I know this is completely unrelated, but: if Kathryn Bigelow wins the DGA, and “The Hurt Locker” wins the Best Picture Oscar, then Ang Lee will be the only DGA winner this decade whose film did not go on to win the Oscar. It actually happened to him twice. Poor chap.

  • 19 1-25-2010 at 6:08 am

    james said...

    I honestly don’t know why everyone is predicting Avatar to win anyways, it’s not the best picture. The PGA has given the award to “smaller films” like Little Miss Sunshine and Moulin Rouge. For Me:

    1. Inglorious Basterds (by a mile)
    2. The Hurt Locker
    3. Up in the Air
    4. Star Trek
    5. District9

  • 20 1-25-2010 at 6:11 am

    derek said...

    Not to be technical but this is a brand new decade.

  • 21 1-25-2010 at 6:15 am

    Hans said...

    Actually, Derek, if you’re being technical, then 2010 and 2006 (when Ang Lee won) ARE in the same decade. Furthermore, the years of filmmaking that they represent are 2009 and 2005, which are indisputably in the same decade.

  • 22 1-25-2010 at 6:20 am

    evelyn garver said...

    I would love to know what the actor’s branch of the Academy thinks of AVATAR. My guess is they would prefer HL OR BASTERDS. It may now really be a three way race, something I did not believe until this past weekend.

  • 23 1-25-2010 at 6:21 am

    Michael W. said...

    @37 “What was the last BP winner that had NO major guild love?

    It has never happened. If we’re considering SAG, DGA, PGA and WGA as the four big guilds. Since SAG started their awards in 95 every winner of the best picture Oscar has won at least one of these guilds (Braveheart took WGA). And also with three big guilds (PGA, DGA and WGA) it has not happened. We have to go all the way back to 1985, when only the DGA and WGA was around and Out of Africa won best picture with no guild award. But it had the Golden Globe and several critics awards for acting.

    So yeah, Avatar has the Globe but no critics awards and probably no Oscars noms for acting. Just watch it take either the DGA or WGA!!!!!

    Crazy times! Me like :D

  • 24 1-25-2010 at 6:40 am

    JJ said...

    I don’t know. I don’t think the BP race is over at all.

    Look at BROKEBACK.

    That was nominated for a lot, and it won most of eveyrthing; including Best Director Oscar & Screenplay.

    CRASH won the biggee, with only a SAG ensemble win going in.

  • 25 1-25-2010 at 7:02 am

    Michael W. said...

    And a Writers Guild win. And a best picture win from one of the “major minor” critics groups (Chicago). And several screenplay wins through out the season. And several acting wins and noms.

    It Avatar doesn’t take the DGA or WGA, it should be, looking only at the precursors, considered much less likely to win than Crash ever was.

    I know that it won’t be considered that, but that will only be because of its worldwide popularity.

  • 26 1-25-2010 at 7:04 am

    Michael W. said...

    But by the way, I agree that the best picture race is not over at all. Even if Avatar doesn’t win DGA or WGA. It’s an abnormality :D

  • 27 1-25-2010 at 7:08 am

    Adam Smith said...

    I hate to stir up this old argument, JJ, but the big difference is that The Hurt Locker is about soldiers at war, and Brokeback Mountain was about a gay love affair. Conversely, Crash was a safe picture about race relations, whereas Inglourious Basterds is a crazy hair-up-your-ass revenge fantasy (not exactly warm and fuzzy like Crash, no?).

    I think that this is still a three-way race (THL, Avatar, Basterds), but the writing is slowly but surely going up on the wall that The Hurt Locker will prevail.

  • 28 1-25-2010 at 7:20 am

    The Dude said...

    I don’t mean to be a ball-buster, but…

    …how come so many news outlets are now reporting that, because “The Hurt Locker” took the PGA, we “officially have an Oscar race?” Dave Karger at EW is probably the one triumphing the most, saying that with an “Avatar” loss the race finally got interesting.

    To me, the race is over now. “The Hurt Locker” has this sewn up. It has just done TOO WELL in the precursor curcuit to assume otherwise. I think a “true race” existed a few weeks ago. Now it’s a one-horse show. If anything BUT “The Hurt Locker” triumphs come Oscar night, it’s gonna be a major upset (like, as already mentioned, “Crash” beating “Brokeback Mountain”).

  • 29 1-25-2010 at 7:23 am

    aspect ratio said...


    “Films that polarize may never win again”

    While I see what you’re saying, do polarizing films ever really win Best Picture? I can’t think of any Best Picture winner from the (recent) past that I would consider polarizing. Some choices have been bolder than others, but polarizing?

    The problem with the old way of voting was that with ten nominees, we could literally have a Best Picture winner that won with a mere 11% of the total vote. Even though it would be a highly unlikely scenario that the votes would be split so evenly across ten films, the notion that it could happen would mean there could be a Best Picture winner that wouldn’t be in any way indicative of the opinion of the Academy as a whole. Of course, the same was true with just five nominees and the Best Picture could win with just 21% of the vote, but with ten nominees it’s obviously even worse. Which is why they changed it.

    The preferential method ensures that the film that is best liked by the whole Academy wins Best Picture, which is how it should be, whether we agree with their choice or not. It may result in the “safe” choice, but that’s usually what wins anyway so I don’t think the end result will be all that different, it just makes it a bit more fair.

  • 30 1-25-2010 at 8:09 am

    RichardA said...

    I sorta think that BenButton last year started to tank in popularity once the comparison to Forrest Gump had gotten viral. As long as Avatar can’t keep off the comparisons to Dances with Wolfs and Pocahantas, it’s going to have problems with the voters. It might have caught up last night, losing it’s Golden Globes glory. Avatar will have to buy more ads.

  • 31 1-25-2010 at 9:11 am

    Earl said...

    If you really look at the pre-oscars, it is more like the Hurt Locker express than the Avatar express. I do not know why anyone rates the Golden Globes so highly. They just have a TV show but they clearly went for all things popular. I am just concerned that the Academy will not have the courage to pick a movie that grossed so little. Do they care about the Oscar ratings? If so they might go for Avatar to avoid the fall-out from last year’s Dark Knight fiasco. I liked both films but the screenplay for Avatar is just a copy of Dances with Wolves and maybe some earlier Sci Fi novels but with an unrealistic crowd pandering ending. It is like Brokeback Mountain being a copy of Same Time, Next Year but not as good as the original screenplay. GO Hurt Locker although Up in the Air was my favorite.
    I also am tired of directors getting all this credit for the work of CGI techies. I am way more impressed with Bigelow’s creation of Iraq than the creation of Pandora.

  • 32 1-25-2010 at 9:25 am

    Justin said...

    I’m actually rooting for a complete upset for “Up” to somehow pull out the BP prize, however unlikely.

    THL, in my opinion, is easily the most mediocre of the “big 4” contenders (Avatar, IB, Up in the Air, THL)

    Furthermore, The strength of THL was in the story, and I think most Hollywood directors woul have done a fine job. Avatar’s weak story, on the other hand, REQUIRED the brilliant direction Cameron gave it to even pass for a good film.

    Long story short, Cameron deserves the DGA and Best Director win, Up deserves BP, and if not, IB or Avatar

  • 33 1-25-2010 at 9:49 am

    JJ said...

    I think THL has a slight edge over AVATAR which has a slight edge over IB. I think any 3 ‘could’ win at this juncture.

  • 34 1-25-2010 at 10:09 am

    The Other James D. said...

    Interesting cop-out logic, Justin. Cameron’s direction helped propel Cameron’s shittastic screenplay. LOL forever.

  • 35 1-25-2010 at 10:37 am

    tintin said...

    Yes, Úp is more deserving, but THL is the winner.

  • 36 1-25-2010 at 4:06 pm

    Mark said...

    If Avatar wins the writers guild…. wow, just wow.

  • 37 1-26-2010 at 5:18 am

    aspect ratio said...

    At the top of this article linked below is an interactive graphic that is all you need to look at in terms of how the Oscar voting will work this year:


    It’s amazing how simple a graphic like that can make it, when explaining it in writing just never seems to get everyone to understand.