Bigelow scores historic first for female film-makers

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

In the end, like a well-made film, it all went according to the script: a David versus Goliath battle saw the little guy triumph, Kathryn Bigelow scored a historic first for female film-makers, and The Hurt Locker walked away with six awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, at the 82nd Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

Ms Bigelow’s thriller about a US Army bomb disposal squad in post-invasion Baghdad cemented its claim to be perhaps the first truly great film to come out of the Iraq war, losing out to the $300m science-fiction blockbuster Avatar in just one of the seven categories where they were paired against each other.

“There's no other way to describe it, it's the moment of a lifetime,” she said, after receiving the first of the two awards. “I’d like to dedicate this to the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world. May they come home safe.”

The victory represents an affirmation of artistic endeavour over commercial might: The Hurt Locker was an independent movie made for just $15 million, which generated $20 million at the box office; its big studio rival boasts a budget 20 times that size, and ticket sales of $2.5 billion, making it by some distance the most lucrative film ever produced.

It was also in keeping with expectations, which had Hurt Locker as a marginal favourite to take the night’s two big prizes. Indeed most of the major awards ended-up where expected: odds-on favourites took every acting gong, with victories for Sandra Bullock, Jeff Bridges, Christoph Waltz and No’Nique.

In the absence of an upset to steal headlines, historians will remember 2010 as a red-letter Oscars for women in film. Ms Bigelow becomes the first ever female winner of the Best Director Oscar, an achievement which seems all the more of an achievement when you consider that James Cameron, the director of Avatar, happens to be her ex-husband.

“I hope I’m the first of many [female best directors],” she said backstage,. “I love to just think of myself as a filmmaker, and I long for the day when a [female] modifier can be a moot point.”

Asked about Mr Cameron, she added: “He’s an extraordinary filmmaker. But all the nominees are phenomenal, powerful, talented filmmakers; how humbling for me to be in that company.”

Aside from the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars, The Hurt Locker won for Best Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Its writer Mark Boal, a former journalist who came up with the idea for the tale while embedded with US troops, won for Best Original Screenplay.

The night’s other leading lady was Sandra Bullock, who was named Best Actress for her performance as a Southern housewife who adopts a homeless youth and helps him become an American Football star, in The Blind Side.

Ms Bullock’s long career has seen her produce many commercial hits, but far fewer critical ones. And her victory came just 24 hours after she was also named the “worst actress” of the year at the 2010 Razzie awards, making her the first ever performer to win gongs at both events in the same year.

“Did I really win this, or did I just wear y’all down?” she asked after picking up the Oscar. Backstage she added that the trophies will “sit side by side,” on display at her home “as they should.” “In the entertainment business, you take the good with the not so good. It’s the great equalizer. You know, nothing ever lets me get too full of myself. So they’ll sit side by side in a nice little shelf somewhere, the Razzie maybe on a different shelf, lower.”

A note of politics was injected into proceedings by the comedian Mo’Nique, who was named Best Suppporting Actress for her turn as the abusive mother of a black schoolgirl in Precious, which also won Best Adapted Screenplay.

After winning the award, Mo’Nique, whose real name is Monique Imes-Jackson, dedicated it to Hattie McDaniel, the first black Oscar winner who in 1940 was forced to sit in a segregated seating area at the Academy Awards.

“The reason why I have on this royal blue dress is because it's the colour that Hattie McDaniel wore in 1940 when she accepted her Oscar,” she said.

“The reason why I have this gardenia in my hair, it is the flower that Hattie McDaniel wore when she accepted her Oscar. So, for you, Ms. Hattie McDaniel, I feel you all over me, and it's about time that the world feels you all over them.”

The reference to Ms McDaniel, the daughter of slaves who played Mammy in Gone With the Wind raised eyebrows among viewers with a knowledge of Oscar history.

The Academy has always controversially refused, for reasons that remain unclear, to replace the pioneering actress’s Oscar trophy, which was left to Howard University but lost during a civil rights protest during the 1960s.

That, however, was about as edgy as things got, at an event that was a touch short on genuine surprise. The night's two other big acting winners had both already taken home the bacon in pretty much every previous awards event this year.

Jeff Bridges was named Best Actor honoured for his portrayal of alcoholic country music star Bad Blake in Crazy Heart. Christoph Waltz, an Austrian actor previously-unknown his native country, won Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of a Nazi officer in Quentin Tarantino’s Holocaust fantasy Inglorious Basterds.

Elsewhere, the Pixar film UP won Best Animation, as was widely expected, and Best Original Score. The three wins that were managed by Avatar, which like The Hurt Locker had been nominated for nine awards, came in technical categories.

After years of struggling with historically-declining TV radings, the Oscar show’s organisers experimented with an old-school style of show presented by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.

For the first time since 1988, presenters of awards said “and the winner is…” rather than “and the Oscar goes to…” But while the opening song and dance routine and initial salvo of jokes hit the mark, the 3 ½ hour ceremony lost some momentum towards the end, a development not helped by the absence of any serious upsets.

In one notable departure from recent years, it was also a notably poor year for British hopes. The Wallace and Gromit animator, Nick Park, lost out in the Best Animated Short category, the first time he has not won an Oscar for which he’s been shortlisted.

Carey Mulligan, the star of An Education was overlooked, along with the BBC film’s screenwriter, Nick Hornby. So too were Armando Iannucci and his co-writers of In the Loop and Colin Firfth, who was up for Best Actor.

The only British winners were Ray Beckett, for Sound Mixing, and Sandy Powell, the costume designer for Young Victoria, who has now been nominated for a total of seven Oscars, and won a hat-trick of them. “I’ve already got two of these, so I’m feeling greedy,” she joked, on being presented with the trophy.

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there