‘The Hurt Locker,’ Kathryn Bigelow, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Bridges Win 2010 Academy Awards

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CHICAGO – It was a triumph worthy of David and Goliath at The 82nd Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, March 7th, 2010. Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Hurt Locker’ became the lowest-grossing picture to take home the Best Picture Oscar, while its director, Kathryn Bigelow, became the first woman in history honored with the Academy Award for Best Director. The film won six awards total, including trophies for Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.

Kathryn Bigelow.
Kathryn Bigelow
Photo credit: Craig Sjodin

“The Hurt Locker”’s biggest competitor couldn’t have been more formidable, considering it is now the highest-grossing film of all time. Yet “Avatar” ended up claiming only three awards, while “Crazy Heart,” “Up” and “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire” racked up two apiece. The major wins for “Hurt Locker” were a thrilling finale to a rather lackluster evening, devoid of the vitality and excitement found in recent years.

All of the winners in the acting categories were expected. With his typical brand of heartfelt eloquence, Christoph Waltz accepted the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “Inglourious Basterds,” beating out Matt Damon for “Invictus,” Woody Harrelson for “The Messenger,” Christopher Plummer for “The Last Station” and Stanley Tucci for “The Lovely Bones.”

Mo’Nique was greeted with a standing ovation and delivered a stirring speech after being named Best Supporting Actress for “Precious.” She thanked her husband for helping her “forgo what’s popular for what’s right,” while beating out Penelope Cruz for “Nine,” Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick for “Up in the Air,” and Maggie Gyllenhaal for “Crazy Heart.”

Sandra Bullock displayed her crowd-pleasing self-deprecation upon accepting the Best Actress Oscar for her dramatic turn in “The Blind Side.” She opened by asking, “Did I win this, or did I just wear you all down?” Bullock’s win was also a groundbreaker, making her the first actress in history to win an Oscar and a Razzie in the same year (on Saturday, she accepted the Worst Actress Razzie for “All About Steve”). Her Oscar speech was one of the night’s highlights, as she praised the work of her fellow nominees, and tearfully paid tribute to her mother. Bullock beat out Helen Mirren for “The Last Station,” Carey Mulligan for “An Education,” Gabourey Sidibe for “Precious,” and Meryl Streep for “Julie & Julia.”

Sandra Bullock.
Sandra Bullock
Photo credit: Craig Sjodin

Jeff Bridges accepted his Best Actor trophy for “Crazy Heart” with a laid-back bemusement worthy of The Dude, while beating out George Clooney for “Up in the Air,” Colin Firth for “A Single Man,” Morgan Freeman for “Invictus” and Jeremy Renner for “The Hurt Locker.” The three-and-a-half hour show went into overtime as the lead actor nominees were each verbally honored by a former collaborator.

In an upset, Geoffrey Fletcher won Best Adapted Screenplay for “Precious.” He delivered one of the night’s most emotional speeches, saying that his award is, “for anybody who works for a dream everyday.” The other big surprise of the night was the winner of Best Foreign Language Film, Argentina’s “El Secreto de Sus Ojos.” Director Juan Jose Campanella took a playful swipe at “Avatar” by thanking the Academy for “not considering Navi a foreign language.”

Best Animated Film went to “Up,” Best Documentary to “The Cove,” Best Animated Short Film to “Logorama,” and Best Live Action Short Film to “The New Tenants.” One of the night’s most cringe-inducing moments occurred when “Music By Prudence” director Roger Ross Williams was interrupted by fellow winner Elinor Burkett during their acceptance speech for Best Documentary Short.

“Avatar” won for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects. Michael Giacchino’s music for “Up” predictably took home the Best Original Score Oscar, while Ryan Bingham and T. Bone Burnett’s memorable tune, “The Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart,” won Best Original Song. Best Makeup went to “Star Trek,” while Best Costume Design winner Sandy Powell (for “The Young Victoria”) gave the night’s cattiest speech. There was also a tribute to the late John Hughes, featuring members of the Brat Pack.

Jeff Bridges.
Jeff Bridges
Photo credit: Craig Sjodin

Expectations for the show skyrocketed at the beginning, as surprise guest star (and hopefully future host) Neil Patrick Harris performed a show-stopping musical number while introducing the two hosts, whom he referred to as, “the biggest pair since Dolly Parton.” Unfortunately, co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin delivered far more duds than slam-dunks, and set the tired, mediocre tone for the evening. Perhaps the morose stars in attendance were disenchanted with the award night’s increasing commercialization. Or maybe they were just bored with blue people.

In what was arguably the funniest moment of the night, Ben Stiller appeared onstage dressed in a Navi costume that illustrated just how hideous the creatures would have looked if they hadn’t been animated. Sporting yellow eyes capable of frightening away Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter, Stiller leered at a less-than-amused Cameron and said, “I want to plug my braid into your dragon!” Martin concluded the night with the quip, “This show is so long that ‘Avatar’ now takes place in the past.”

HollywoodChicago.com staff writer Matt Fagerholm

Staff Writer

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