The awards season is officially over and "The Hurt Locker" has proven to be the best picture after winning awards left and right including the BAFTA, the director's guild award, the writer's guild award, the producer's guild award and ultimately the Best Picture Oscar and 5 more Oscars. The film won a total of six Academy Awards, beating out the biggest box office hit of all time "Avatar" which only took three awards. A complete list of winners, by film, is listed at the end of the article.
There were a few surprises tonight at the Academy Awards. All four major acting awards were won by actors that had been sweeping the awards season. Both Mo'nique and Christoph Waltz won the globe, the SAG, and the critic's choice as well as the awards from the major critic's circles. Sandra Bullock was the surprise winner in all major categories for her role in "The Blind side" and she tied Meryl Streep for the critic's choice, and went on to win the Golden Globe, and the determining factor that set her as a front-runner was the Screen Actor's guild award. She also won the Razzie awards last night for worst actress and worst on-screen duo, making her the first actor to win worst actress and the Oscar the same year. This has officially been, with "All about Steve" and "The proposal", Sandra Bullock's year. Jeff Bridges also won all the major awards, and also gave very similar speeched at all of them, thanking the director, his wife T-bone, his cast members and his stand-in who has been with him in over 60 movies.
Kathryn Bigelow had also become the front-runner for the directing award after she won the Director's Guild Award, becoming the first woman to ever win that award and the Oscar, as Barbra Streisand put it: "The time has finally come". Although her ex-husband James Cameron beat her to the Golden Globe, no one could stop her from taking the podium tonight and she went on to thank all the people serving in the military and her fellow crew members. Interestingly enough "The hurt locker" received a lot of bad publicity lately when they were sued by a real bomb technician, Sgt. Jeffrey Saver, as he claims the events on the film as his own stories and the producer's neglected him a cut of the share. Worse news came when producer Nicholas Chartier was banned from the awards after sending out an email encouraging people to vote for "The hurt locker" as "they needed the support" and enough people had already seen "Avatar".This obviously had no effect on the voting because the publicity came out the days after the ballots were due, leaving the question, "if these news stories would have happened before the ballots were due, would it have affected the results?" in the air forever.
Lately the news stories reflected the David vs. Goliath fight that "A hurt locker" vs. "Avatar" was, and although some people "Avatar" (including me) to win the award, in the end "A hurt locker" proved victorious. Of course "Avatar" deserved the recognition it deserved in the technical aspects of the award show, winning best visual effects, best art direction and best cinematography. But the film could not even win "The hurt locker" in the sound categories, losing both of them to the war movie. More on "The hurt locker" winning best picture here.
There were two major surprises this night. One was "The secret in their eyes" winning best foreignlanguage film. The race seemed to be between the BAFTA winner "A prophet" and the Golden Globe German film "The white ribbon". Last year a similar situation happened when "Departures" beat "Gomorrah" for the same category, which just asks the question: who are the people voting in this category? The films chosen as the best have very neatly wrapped endings, and can even be considered to have a happy endings (although "A secret" has a kind of nihilistic message, but that relates more to the governmental system in Argentina and how it works than to the social commentary of the film), The winner this year is a great film, yet all the attention seemed to be directed to the German and French film as they have won in festivals around the world, and have been critically acclaimed since they were first released.The people that vote in this category have to see all five films nominated, and their choices seem harder to predict every year, as the Argentinean film has not had as much publicity as the other two films, but it was been picked up by a US distributor: Sony Pictures classics. The release date for this film is April 16th. The other nominees in this category were the Peruvian "The milk of sorrow" about the psychological effects of terrorism, and "Ajami" an Israeli film dealing with stories of Christianity and Muslims. Read more on "The secret of her eyes" winning here.
The other surprise of the night was "Precious: based on the novel Push by Sapphire" beating the WGA winner "Up in the air" for best original screenplay. "Up in the air" was one of the favorites to win this category, as the script provided a great balance of comedy and drama and provided a message for the world post-recession. "Precious" fell flat in some parts of the script, and although this may have been on purpose, the film's directing is what stood out throughout the season, not the writing. Either way, "Up in the air" went home empty handed, a pity as this film was once considered one of the front-runners for the best picture category. More on the film winning best adapted screenplay here.
Apart from those surprises, there weren't many as "The hurt locker" was always a strong contestant inthe Best Original Screenplay category, and although Tarantino's script may have been stronger, the Academy decided to honor "The hurt locker" in its entirety tonight. The best costume design category, one of the hardest to predict, was won by a very arrogant Sandy Powell, who stepped on stage to get her award for "The young Victoria" and said: "well I already have two of these, so I feel a little selfish... who should I dedicate this one to?" A cut-away showed a member of the audience simply mouthing "wow" in disbelief of her words, and because of this speech this may be her last Oscar as the Academy holds grudges against people who don't give heartfelt speeches.
Talking about heart-felt speeches, the crew of "The cove" was cut short when Ric O'Barry, a very famous dolphin activist shown in the film, pulled up a sign stating: "Text Dolphins to 44144" but the camera cut away very quickly as the Academy Awards are known to be very politically neutral. The same thing happened when Michael Moore accepted his Oscar and starting insulting President Bush, which immediately queued the music and sent him offstage. "The cove" also won the Producer's Guild Award and the Director's Guild Award, and Fisher Stevens ( "Early Edition) accepted the award.
Other highlights of the night include Neil Patrick Harris' musical number at the start where he states that he fired his agent when he found out he was not hosting the Oscars, and Ben Stiller dressed as an Avatar to present best "Star Trek" with the best make-up award. The hosts, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were not given a lot of screen time, and the night was focused more on the young presenters which included Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Chris Pine, Amanda Seyfried, and Zoe Saldana. There opening monologue was not that funny though, and they failed to live up to Hugh Jackman's hosting job last year. The dance sequence to present best score was beautiful though and mixed traditional Broadway dancing with hip-hop and even had some break-dancing included.
The night also celebrated Horror movies and had a montage with many films like "The shining", "Jaws", "Dracula", "Saw" and many more including the summer flick "Twilight" which seemed like an odd choice, although it could be considered a horror if one takes all the romance away. Or maybe it was a horror to watch it? Interesting pick.
A full list of winners (I predicted all but four) by film, listed here:
The hurt locker
Best original screenplay
Best sound mixing
Best sound editing
Best Art direction
Best Visual effects
Precious: Based on the book Push by Sapphire
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Supporting actress (Mo’nique)
Best Animated feature
Best Actor (Jeff Bridges)
Best song (The weary kind)
The Blind Side
Best Actress (Sandra Bullock)
Best supporting actor (Christoph Waltz)
The Young Victoria
Best Costume design
El secreto de sus ojos
Best foreign language film
Best animated short film
Music By Prudence
Best short Documentary
The new tenants
Best live action short film
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