‘The Hurt Locker’ takes 6 Oscars, including Best Picture

Posted by · 9:12 pm · March 7th, 2010

Jeff Bridges at the 82nd annual Academy AwardsOh, let’s start with the positive.  The irony of the lowest-grossing Best Picture winner of all time coming in a year when the Academy did everything it could (right down to a hopelessly baiting horror film montage) to shove the Oscar telecast toward populist appeal couldn’t be more delicious.  Much of the season was deceptively tame, but a final week push from all sides (including within) to unseat the perceived frontrunner either came too late or simply didn’t work.

“The Hurt Locker” claimed six trophies, including Best Picture, Best Director and best Original Screenplay.  The latter became perhaps the tightest race of them all as The Weinstein Company worked aggressively to secure a prize for Quentin Tarantino, but again, it either came too late or didn’t work.

Kathryn Bigelow’s war saga wasn’t even daunted by its perceived competition as “Avatar” managed only three wins, for Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography.  Only one of those races included competition from “The Hurt Locker.”

The biggest surprise of the night, no doubt, was Geoffrey Fletcher’s Best Adapted Screenplay win for “Precious,” an award that seemed to be pre-ordained for “Up in the Air” scribes Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner.  How often we forget the Academy can be as unpredictable as not.  And Fletcher, by the way, is the first African American winner of a screenplay Oscar.  “Precious,” meanwhile, was one of three films (along with “Crazy Heart” and “Up”) to win two Oscars, and it seemed to receive a lot of respect and admiration in the room.

The acting categories also went as planned, with Sandra Bullock overcoming doubts in the end and proving the writing really was on the wall.  But we’ll never know how truly close it was.  I should also note that, whatever your feelings of her performance and win, whether they be sincere or from some hyperbolic pit of vitriol, hers was one of the finest Oscar acceptances speeches ever delivered.  Perfection.

As for the telecast itself, and utter disaster in so many ways.  The opening song and dance number bombed.  It felt frivolous and even arbitrary.  I don’t know how I feel about that American Idol line-up to kick of the show, either, by the way.

The orchestra was so trigger happy as to be embarrassing, the truly infuriating moment coming when Louie Psihoyos wasn’t able to deliver what would have been a profound and important address on a show that is the most watched program on Japanese television.  I imagine Ric O’Barry’s sign got them nervous, but be educated about the damn season — it was calling for a simple text that has been a part of the film’s marketing.  Jesus.  They even started to play Jeff Bridges off the stage.

And can we all take a moment and consider that?  Jeff Bridges is finally an Oscar winner.  What a story.  And I’m happy to say I called that as far back as November 4.  But then again, who wouldn’t?

The interpretive dance numbers were asinine, and I hope a fine replacement for the opportunity to showcase fine young talent like Ryan Bingham, novelty like Anika Noni Rose and Dr. John lightening up the festivities, etc.

Then there was the moment the show hit a screeching halt: the lead acting categories.  If you didn’t already notice the lifting of last year’s title designs, the show ran out of steam and just lifted this aspect of last year’s show, too.  Only it was more drawn out, feeling entirely inorganic.  Lazy.

The hosts, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin?  Inconsequential.  Things started out okay, some of the jokes worked.  But ultimately the style overstayed its welcome.  The best bits in the show were probably the animated feature sequence and Ben Stiller’s Sacha Baron Coen-less Na’vi sketch.  And those were still a bit lukewarm.

As for predictions, it looks like, after a quick glance, Steve Pond and our own Guy Lodge leading the field guessing 20 of 24 categories correct.  I nailed down 19 (22 with alternates) and there seem to be a few 18s out there, too.  The shorts tripped me up severely.  I missed all three, and I’m truly flummoxed at how they turned out.  I also missed Best Adapted Screenplay (Who didn’t?) and Best Sound Editing, which surprisingly went to “The Hurt Locker” in a sweep of the sound categories.

(Oddly enough, the day of the nominations, I correctly foresaw 20 of the 24 categories.  Maybe that’s indicative of how predictable the race because in phase two.)

Check out the full list of winners at The Circuit, and back tomorrow for a special season wrap-up edition of Oscar Talk.

→ 104 Comments Tags: , , , , | Filed in: Daily

104 responses so far

  • 1 3-08-2010 at 5:02 pm

    Me. said...

    Yay! I loved watching the Oscars yesterday. I had 19 out of 24 (I ended up predicting Avatar for cinematography in the end and I had all the shorts wrong… haha). Here were my thoughts:


    “The Hurt Locker” taking Best Picture and Directing. Ok, my heart was with “Avatar” for Best Picture but I REALLY wanted Bigelow to win because her directing was spectacular and “The Hurt Locker” was my second favorite nominee so I was really happy to see it win.

    Jeff Bridges, Christoph Waltz and Mo’Nique winning Oscars. Really deserved.

    The dancing numbers during the best score presentation. Amazing!

    Having clips for the performances. How I missed them last year!

    “Avatar” taking Visual Effects. I loved how the winner said something along the lines of: The world you live in is as beautiful as the one we created for you.


    Sandra Bullock winning. Yes, I knew it would happen, but SHE DID NOT DESERVE IT. I would have prefered to see her being emotional in THE BLIND SIDE rather than in her Oscar speech. Gabourey Sidibe should have won. It was the best PERFORMANCE

  • 2 3-08-2010 at 5:34 pm

    Benito Delicias said...

    The show was awful, the race was predictable, two surprises, but hey, we knew it would happen and we still love it and we’ll be back next year too.

    As for Tina Fey, she was great during those minutes, bring her in next year and we’ll be complaining about her too. Something happens to these hosts, maybe because Tina is a fresh writer it could be different, even if writing doesn’t seem to be 100% of the problem with Steve and Alec.

    Just wanted to thank Kris and Guy for the whole coverage. I’m obsessed with this site and Awards Daily so thanks to both of you.

  • 3 3-08-2010 at 5:59 pm

    sam said...

    I actually hate all you bullock haters who forced me to be in suspense about this show — thinking that she would not win — and not getting the benefit of the three other nominees who were sure things — even though all four won every award before this. All you Bullock haters can now suck it, but at least, it made me savor her win even more.

    Ugh,what happened to basterds — backlash to harvey? Hurt locker winning screenplay was the ultimate slap in the face — sorry there is no comparison. Love the hurt locker, but basterds script was so multilayered.

  • 4 3-08-2010 at 10:08 pm

    daveylow said...

    This was one of the worst Oscar shows ever. The pacing was so slow and everyone look lost on that vast stage.

    I think the Academy should think twice about 10 nominees. It makes no sense to include the more popular films in the Best Film category if you’re going to dismiss them as not “artful” enough in the end.