The big 'Hurt'
By Carrie Rickey
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Kathryn Bigelow made history last night at the 82d Annual Academy Awards, becoming the first woman to win best director, for "The Hurt Locker," which captured six awards, including best picture.
The tense film about thrill junkies who defuse bombs in Iraq won original screenplay, sound editing, sound mixing and editing.
"This really is there's no other way to describe it the moment of a lifetime," said Bigelow, 58, who dedicated her award to "the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis. ... May they come home safe."
Bigelow, whose movie barely recouped its $15 million budget, bested her ex-husband, James Cameron. His "Avatar," which won three Oscars, including cinematography, is the highest-grossing movie ever, with $2.5 billion in global revenue.
Hollywood veterans Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock won their first Oscars. Bridges, a second-generation performer, won best actor for his role as a boozy country music has-been in "Crazy Heart."
"Thank you, Mom and Dad, for turning me on to such a groovy profession," said the 60-year-old, whose first nomination was in 1971. "The Weary Kind," a ballad from the film, won original song.
Bullock, the Miss Congeniality of comic actors, proved adept at drama as the adoptive mother of NFL star Michael Oher in "The Blind Side."
"Did I really earn this, or did I just wear you all down?" joked Bullock, 45, accepting her award.
On Saturday she won a Golden Raspberry as worst actress for "All About Steve," making her the first performer to win an Oscar and Razzie in the same weekend.
Comedian Mo'Nique won the supporting-actress Oscar for her shattering performance as the abusive mother in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire." She thanked the academy for showing "it can be about the performance and not the politics."
Mo'Nique, 42, also cited Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Oscar ("Gone with the Wind"), "for enduring all that she had to, so that I would not have to."
"Precious" screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher won for best adapted screenplay.
Christoph Waltz, 53, captured supporting-actor honors for his role as the nefarious Nazi in "Inglourious Basterds."
"Up," Pixar's soaring animation about a retiree on an adventure, took two Oscars, one for best animated feature, the other for Michael Giacchino's sprightly score.
The wins by "The Hurt Locker" and "Precious" marked another year in which indies triumphed over studio blockbusters.
Not since 1943, when "Casablanca" was named best picture, had there been 10 contenders in the top race. An added wrinkle was the new "preferential voting" system for best picture, which guaranteed that the winner received not just the most votes, but a majority of them.
As the nominees and presenters filed into the Kodak Theatre, some of the gowns were an azure hue that might be called Na'vi blue (the color of the tribespeople in "Avatar"). Cameron's wife, Suzy Amis, wore a dress in that shade. So did Mo'Nique and Gabourey Sidibe, both from "Precious."
"Star Trek," J.J. Abrams' reboot of the beloved franchise, was presented the award for best makeup by Ben Stiller outfitted as a Na'vi, with blue skin and frisky tail.
Last night's show opened with the 10 lead-actor and actress nominees on stage, followed by a musical number by Neil Patrick Harris introducing the evening's emcees as "the biggest pair since Dolly Parton."
Co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin (co-stars of "It's Complicated") began the show with cheeky patter modeled on the naughtiness of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
The late John Hughes, subject of a posthumous tribute from his discoveries Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick, received the evening's first standing ovation.