First time luck sweeps Oscars

There was a David and Goliath battle brewing at the 82nd annual Academy Awards: indie underdog The Hurt Locker was going head-to-head with the big budget Avatar. In the end, The Hurt Locker emerged with a solid victory taking home six Oscars, including best picture, versus Avatar’s three well-earned technical honours.

Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow made history Sunday night with her unrelenting, independently funded drama about a bomb squad in Iraq by becoming the first woman to win Oscar’s top prizes in best picture and best director categories. They were Bigelow’s first Academy Award nominations and wins in her 32-year film career.

These successes are the cherry on top of an incredible story of the little film that could, which unbelievably almost went straight to DVD. However, rave reviews and critical acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008 proved the start of a remarkable journey. The Hurt Locker earned just $12.7 million domestically since its June theatrical release; only a fraction of the record $706 million taken by Avatar, which was directed by Canadian James Cameron, who’s also Bigelow’s ex-husband.

Presenter Barbara Streisand proclaimed at almost midnight (the awards running nearly 30 minutes over time), “Well, the time has come!” The announcement drew a standing ovation and Bigelow dedicated the directorial award to the “women and men of the military who risk their lives daily in Iraq and Afghanistan … may they come home safe.” She repeated these sentiments just moments later, taking the stage with the main cast members and her boyfriend and winner earlier in the night for best original screenplay Mark Boal to accept the best picture trophy from Tom Hanks.

Sandra Bullock won her first Oscar nomination, earning the best actress award for The Blind Side, a drama about a white woman who helps a poor black youth achieve his football dream. After a standing ovation, she wondered out loud, “Did I really earn this, or did I just wear you all down?” before graciously acknowledging her fellow nominees. Bullock beat out Academy favourite Meryl Streep, who with 16 nominations is the most-nominated woman in Oscar history.

Jeff Bridges was also a first-time winner, receiving best actor honours for his portrayal of a fallen country star in Crazy Heart. It was his fifth nomination. Bridges appeared giddy, ignoring the 45-second time limit to thank everyone from his parents and wife to everyone who worked on the film.

Supporting acting trophies went to two outstanding and disturbing performances. Mo’Nique took home best supporting actress for her portrayal of a monstrously abusive mother in Precious: Based on the Novel `Push’ by Sapphire, an inspiring tale of a teen girl that overcomes all manner of adversity. Mo’Nique thanked the academy for proving “it can be about the performance and not the politics” after receiving some criticism for not campaigning enough. Christoph Waltz earned the best supporting actor title for playing the nefarious Jew hunter in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, accepting the first nomination award as a welcome to Hollywood after years of making films in Europe.

Geoffrey Fletcher provided yet another rookie upset, winning best adapted screenplay for Precious. Canadian Jason Reitman was the heavy favourite to win for Up in the Air with his co-writer Sheldon Turner.

Pixar also took home their first Oscar for best animated feature, Up, after six nominations.

Here’s the complete list of winners for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Winners appear in bold.

BEST PICTURE
Avatar – James Cameron and Jon Landau, producers
The Blind Side – Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson, producers
District 9 – Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, producers
An Education – Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, producers
The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro, producers
Inglourious Basterds – Lawrence Bender, producer
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, producers
A Serious Man – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, producers
Up – Jonas Rivera, producer
Up in the Air – Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, producers

DIRECTING
Avatar – James Cameron
The Hurt Locker – Kathryn BigelowInglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – Lee Daniels
Up in the Air – Jason Reitman

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side
Helen Mirren in The Last Station
Carey Mulligan in An Education
Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
George Clooney in Up in the Air
Colin Firth in A Single Man
Morgan Freeman in Invictus
Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Penélope Cruz in Nine
Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air
Mo’Nique in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Matt Damon in Invictus
Woody Harrelson in The Messenger
Christopher Plummer in The Last Station
Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
The Hurt Locker – written by Mark Boal
Inglourious Basterds – written by Quentin Tarantino
The Messenger – written by Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman
A Serious Man – written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Up – screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
District 9 – written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
An Education – screenplay by Nick Hornby
In the Loop – screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
Up in the Air – screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Coraline – Henry Selick
Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wes Anderson
The Princess and the Frog – John Musker and Ron Clements
The Secret of Kells – Tomm Moore
Up – Pete Docter

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
Almost There from The Princess and the Frog – music and lyrics by Randy Newman
Down in New Orleans from The Princess and the Frog – music and lyrics by Randy Newman
Loin de Paname from Paris 36 – music by Reinhardt Wagner, lyrics by Frank Thomas
Take It All from Nine – music and lyrics by Maury Yeston
The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart) from Crazy Heart – music and lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Avatar – James Horner
Fantastic Mr. Fox – Alexandre Desplat
The Hurt Locker – Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
Sherlock Holmes – Hans Zimmer
Up – Michael Giacchino

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)
Burma VJ – Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
The Cove – Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
Food, Inc. – Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers – Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
Which Way Home – Rebecca Cammisa

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Avatar – Mauro Fiore
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Bruno Delbonnel
The Hurt Locker – Barry Ackroyd
Inglourious Basterds – Robert Richardson
The White Ribbon – Christian Berger

FILM EDITING
Avatar – Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
District 9 – Julian Clarke
The Hurt Locker – Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
Inglourious Basterds – Sally Menke
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – Joe Klotz

VISUAL EFFECTS
Avatar – Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
District 9 – Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
Star Trek – Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

ART DIRECTION
Avatar – art direction Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; set decoration Kim Sinclair
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – art direction Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; set decoration Caroline Smith
Nine – art direction John Myhre; set decoration Gordon Sim
Sherlock Holmes – art direction Sarah Greenwood; set decoration Katie Spencer
The Young Victoria – art direction Patrice Vermette; set decoration Maggie Gray

MAKEUP
Il Divo – Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
Star Trek – Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
The Young Victoria – Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

COSTUME DESIGN
Bright Star – Janet Patterson
Coco before Chanel – Catherine Leterrier
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Monique Prudhomme
Nine – Colleen Atwood
The Young Victoria – Sandy Powell

SOUND EDITING
Avatar – Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
The Hurt Locker – Paul N.J. Ottosson
Inglourious Basterds – Wylie Stateman
Star Trek – Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
Up – Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

SOUND MIXING
Avatar – Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
The Hurt Locker – Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
Inglourious Basterds – Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
Star Trek – Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
Ajami – Israel
The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada) – Peru
A Prophet (Un Prophète) – France
The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) – Argentina
The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band) – Germany

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province – Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner – Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant – Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
Music by Prudence – Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
Rabbit à la Berlin – Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
French Roast – Fabrice O. Joubert
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty – Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte) – Javier Recio Gracia
Logorama – Nicolas Schmerkin
A Matter of Loaf and Death – Nick Park

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
The Door – Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
Instead of Abracadabra – Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
Kavi – Gregg Helvey
Miracle Fish – Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
The New Tenants – Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

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