The night’s biggest winner by far was the gritty, nail-biting Iraq war film, “The Hurt Locker.” Nominated for nine Academy Awards, the indie flick led all other films with six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay (Mark Boal). By taking home the night’s biggest prize, “The Hurt Locker” also set the not so renowned record of becoming the lowest grossing Best Picture winner in history with a dismal $14.7 million domestic box office.
The most groundbreaking win, though, was undoubtedly Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first woman ever to win the Oscar for Best Director. If besting the likes of past winner and ex-husband, James Cameron, along with Quentin Tarantino and Jason Reitman wasn’t enough, Bigelow made history for her magnificent work on “The Hurt Locker” and even added a second Oscar as one of the film’s producers.
But Bigelow wasn’t the only woman with a reason to celebrate last night. Mo’Nique won for her traumatic performance in “Precious” — a surprise to no one — and after earning her first ever Academy Award nomination for dishing out tough love in “The Blind Side,” Sandra Bullock completed her award trifecta by adding an Oscar to go with her Golden Globe and SAG awards.
Whether Bullock truly deserved the win or if it was more a result of the tremendous buzz surrounding the film and her uncharacteristic performance will certainly be a topic of debate, but, regardless, you still have to respect the woman for her modest speech and willingness to show up and accept her Razzie for Worst Actress in “All About Steve” the night before.
It took five nominations, but Jeff Bridges also finally won an Oscar. The veteran actor, who played a washed-up, alcoholic country singer in “Crazy Heart,” beat out a rather talented group of men that included past winners George Clooney (“Up in the Air”) and Morgan Freeman (“Invictus”) to take home the Best Actor prize. Sure, he may have seemed a bit baked during an acceptance speech laced with “mans” and “dudes,” but, hey, he is and always will be the Dude.
Rounding out the acting categories was the night’s first big winner, Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor for his charming yet deadly role in “Inglourious Basterds.”
Other winners included “Up,” which gave Pixar its fifth Best Animated Feature Oscar in the category’s short nine-year span and also a Best Original Score Oscar; “The Cove” for Best Documentary Feature, and T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham for Best Original Song for “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart).”
With 16 lifetime Academy Award nominations, it seems wrong to call Meryl Streep a loser, but the truth is after losing Best Actress for her role in “Julie & Julia,” Streep has now gone 27 years since winning her last Oscar.
As far as films go, “Up in the Air,” which went 0-for-6 on the night, “Inglourious Basterds,” hitting a miserable 1-for-8 and “Avatar,” which only picked up three Oscars (all visual-related) were certainly the biggest losers yesterday.
To not pick the “In memoriam” montage honoring fallen Hollywood stars seems a bit wrong (especially considering how they blatantly forgot Farrah Fawcett), but this year’s best collection of film clips was the one devoted to horror films. Sure, it was kind of out of place and awkwardly presented by teenage Twilighters, but it was bloody good fun. An honorable mention goes to the John Hughes montage, which unfortunately seemed a lot worse when his decrepit, drugged-out stars came on stage to talk afterward.
A tie between Bullock and Geoffrey Fletcher, who became the first Oscar-winning African-American screenwriter when he won Best Adapted Screenplay for “Precious.” Fletcher’s speech was heartfelt and poignant — not to mention unexpected — and Bullock’s was both modest and humorous, a nice surprise for how many times she has already given an acceptance speech this year.
Without a doubt, this one goes to Sandy Powell, this year’s winner for Best Costume Design for her work in “The Young Victoria.” Few viewers may have recognized her name before last night, but now everybody knows her — as a real bitch. Sure the woman has been nominated for seven Academy Awards and had already won twice for “Shakespeare in Love” and “The Aviator,” but do you have to act like winning again is such an utter bore? In the end, the only redeeming quality of Powell’s speech was that it was short.
This one also goes to Fletcher for beating out Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner’s script for “Up in the Air,” which, up to yesterday, had taken home every major prize for screenwriting. Honorable mention goes to the winner for Best Foreign Language Film, Argentina’s “El Secreto de sus Ojos,” for unexpectedly pulling a win over the major frontrunner, Germany’s “The White Ribbon.”
Not a whole lot to say here. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are great performers, but the material they were given was god awful. In addition the Best Original Score dance-off, gaudy scenery, poor presenter choices and length were all major low points. About the only thing worth mentioning was Neil Patrick Harris. His performance wasn’t exactly fantastic, but anytime you get to see NPH perform a song-and-dance number is a plus.
Tony Lewis is a senior majoring in journalism and legal studies. He went 16 for 24 on his predictions. Did you do better? Let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org.