Controversial Oscar

Controversial Oscar

June 30, 2011
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‧ Do you agree with the jury's decision to award the Best Director Oscar to Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) instead of James Cameron (Avatar)?

‧ Do you think this success is unfear to the soldiers in Irak?

‧ What do you think should be done to recognise Irak soldiers?

Refers to:

Hurt Locker takes the top Oscars, including first first for a female director

Reuters

Hollywood has finally entrusted a female director with an Oscar, with Kathryn Bigelow becoming the first woman in the 82-year history of the Academy Awards to take the prize, as her gritty Iraq war movie The Hurt Locker outshone Avatar.

The Hurt Locker also took home the top prize of best picture and four awards in other categories.

Avatar, the 3-D smash directed by Bigelow's former husband James Cameron, ended up with three awards, all in technical categories.

The acting races finished as expected, as all four winners took home the first statuettes of their careers.

Jeff Bridges won for his lead role as a drunken country singer who gets a shot at redemption in Crazy Heart. Sandra Bullock got the gold for playing a suburban mum who guides a homeless black teenager to football stardom in The Blind Side.

In the supporting field, the prizes went to Austrian actor Christoph Waltz for the Nazi revenge fantasy Inglourious Basterds, and stand-up comic Mo'Nique for the dark urban drama Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.

The biggest shocks were in the adapted screenplay and foreign language categories.

Geoffrey Fletcher became the first African-American to win the writing prize, for his work on Precious. The prize had been expected to go to Up in the Air, a six-time nominee that was snubbed.

The Argentinian crime drama El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes) beat Germany's Das Weisse Band (The White Ribbon) and France's Un Prophete (A Prophet) to claim the country's second prize in the foreign-language field.

In voting for The Hurt Locker, Hollywood insiders clearly showed a preference for a relatively obscure movie that suffered a similar commercial fate as other films revolving around the Iraq war. With North American ticket sales of about US$15 million - about half of what Avatar earned in its first day - The Hurt Locker is one of the least commercial best-picture Oscar winners ever.

Based on a story by journalist Mark Boal, the film follows an American bomb-disposal squad in Iraq. Boal won an Oscar for his original screenplay and was also a producer, along with Bigelow, Greg Shapiro and French financier Nicolas Chartier.

The best-picture win was a bittersweet moment for Chartier, who was banned from the ceremony last week after breaking Oscar campaign rules by sending out an e-mail to voters.

Bigelow, 58, shot the film on a shoestring budget of US$15 million. It marked her first movie since the costly 2002 submarine flop K19: The Widowmaker.

As Bigelow left the stage clutching her statuette, the orchestra played Helen Reddy's feminist anthem I Am Woman. But the shy horse-lover has bristled at the "female filmmaker" tag, and her works are often showcases for strong male roles. Even Cameron had predicted he would lose the directing race to Bigelow, with whom he has remained on good terms since the couple split in the early 1990s.

All the acting winners except for Bridges were first-time nominees.

Bullock, 45, ran a close race with Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia. It is now 27 years since 16-time nominee Streep won her second Oscar.

Waltz, 53, who played a Nazi with a twinkle in his eye, becomes the first actor to win an Oscar for a film directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Mo'Nique's role as an abusive mother was a departure for the comedienne, 42. She has said she got into character after recalling the sexual abuse she suffered as a youngster.

The 31/2-hour ceremony, hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, drew brickbats from bloggers. Film critic Roger Ebert wrote: "I don't remember when I've seen a less exciting Oscar cast."

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