Sunday, March 7, 2010

And the Oscar Goes to The Hurt Locker

We are comparing our Oscar predictions from February 2 with the winners tonight.

Best PictureAvatarThe Hurt Locker
DirectorKathryn Bigelow, The Hurt LockerKathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
ActorJeff Bridges, Crazy HeartJeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
ActressSandra Bullock, The Blind SideSandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Supporting ActorChristoph Waltz, Inglourious BasterdsChristoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Supporting ActressMo'Nique, PreciousMo'Nique, Precious
Original ScreenplayMark Boal, The Hurt LockerMark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Adapted ScreenplayNick Hornby, An EducationGeoffrey Fletcher, Precious
Animated Feature FilmUpUp
Foreign Language FilmThe White Ribbon, GermanyThe Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos), Argentina
Art DirectionAvatar
Visual EffectsAvatar
Film EditingThe Hurt Locker
Sound MixingThe Hurt Locker
Sound EditingThe Hurt Locker
Costume DesignThe Young Victoria
MakeupStar Trek
Original ScoreUp
Orginal SongThe Weary Kind from Crazy Heart, Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
Documentary Feature FilmThe Cove
Documentary Short FilmMusic by Prudence
Animated Short FilmLogorama
Live Action Short FilmThe New Tenants

We had picked The Hurt Locker for one of the top awards, it instead won three of those picks for six Oscars overall. Clearly it beat out Avatar, which did win three Oscars. Crazy Heart, Up, and Precious won two Oscars each.

But don't feel sorry for Avatar. The Hurt Locker has only grossed $18,100,000 worldwide, whereas Avatar has grossed $2,564,689,342 worldwide (and counting). The Best Foreign Language Film, The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) from Argentina, has grossed $18,000,000, and it has not yet been released in the United States.

Hollywood votes for the movie it wants you to see, not the movie you would want to see. In my opinion, both Avatar and The Hurt Locker had flawed story writing. Avatar is nonetheless a great movie, The Hurt Locker is merely good, Crazy Heart is very good, and Up is excellent. Up is the movie we would have given our Best Picture vote (the Animated Feature Film category is designed to discourage that, which is why we predicted it only for that award and not for Best Picture).

And why does Hollywood want you to watch The Hurt Locker? The director is the ex-wife of James Cameron, who made Avatar, so there is a double revenge irony fantasy. And The Hurt Locker is an anti-war film about the Iraq war, that tries not to be too obvious. Avatar sometimes went over the top with its anti-war themes. And Hollywood thinks big office receipts are their own reward, and likes to save its big awards for small movies.

Several other deserving films were nominated for Best Picture. So, in the final analysis, The Hurt Locker won because on several levels it was judged the most anti-Avatar movie nominated. That may be the ultimate tribute Hollywood could give to Avatar.

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