In the end, it was triumph for guerrilla filmmaking over excess as the Hurt Locker ran out the big winner at the Academy Awards. Avatar is the most successful film of all time, while the Hurt Locker made less than $20 million at the US box office. This is what the Oscars are all about though. The Shawshank Redemption may not have become one of the most popular films of all time had it not received seven nominations at the 1995 ceremony.
It is rather ironic that Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to receive the coveted Best Director Oscar for a male dominated war film. It made a late charge to beat out Avatar to the top prizes and left Bigelow’s ex-husband James Cameron nursing a few technical awards. Ultimately it was the right decision. Avatar did look amazing and it may ultimately prove to be game changer in cinema, but that does not mean it was the best film.
It was a night of few surprises at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. Jeff Bridges scooped the Best Actor Oscar for Crazy Heart – an excellent performance was combined with the fact that the 40 year veteran of Hollywood has been too often ignored by the Academy. If they had a sense of humour, he would have won for the Big Lebowski.
After Helen Mirren (The Queen) in 2008 and Kate Winslet (The Reader) in 2009, Carey Mulligan failed to make it a hat trick in the Best Actress category. Instead Sandra Bullock completed a historic double by adding the actress award for Blindside to the Razzie (for worst performance of the year) she won for All About Steve the night before. And fair play to Sandra, she picked up the Razzie herself and has said she will display the awards side by side.
It was a disappointing night for the Brits but at least Colin Firth and Mulligan already had already won BAFTA’s to compensate. Cinematographer Barry Ackroyd was one of the Hurt Locker’s only nominees to miss out on the big prize, leaving Young Victoria costume designer Sandy Powell to keep the British end up.