The 82nd Academy Awards
The "Hurt Locker", a film based on accounts of Mark Boal, a freelance journalist who was embedded with an American bomb squad in the war in Iraq, won best picture Oscar during the 82nd Academy Awards, while its director, Kathryn Bigelow, became the first woman to win the directing award.
Although "Avatar" a film made by James Cameron - former husband of Kathryn Bigelow - had a vast budget and an enormous popularity, the war film won over the science fiction one.
“I would not be standing here if it wasn’t for Mark Boal, who risked his life for the words on the page and wrote such a courageous screenplay,” said Ms. Bigolow in accepting her award, which was presented to her by Barbara Streisand. "And I'd just 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. And may they come home safe. Thank you.”
Films that were also featured in the best film category include "Up in the Air", "The Blind Side", "Precious" and "District 9".
Among other winners, Christoph Waltz took best supporting actor for his performance in "Inglourious Bastards", where he played a Jew hunting Nazi officer. Mo’Nique took best supporting actress for her role as a dysfunctional and abusive mother in the film “Precious” based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire. Aside from her husband, Mo’Nique thanked Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey, “because you touched it, the whole world."
Jeff Bridges, took best actor for his portrayal of a destitute country music singer-songwriter who tries to change his life after beginning a relationship with a young journalist. Although he had been nominated five times and grew up in a showbiz family, this was Jeff Bridges first Oscar. Bridges received a standing ovation. In his acceptance speech, he thanked his parents who had a great influence in his life. “Oh, my dad and my mom, they loved show biz so much. I remember my mom, getting all of us kids to entertain at her parties. You know, my dad sitting me on his bed and teaching me all of the basics of acting for a role in Sea Hunt.”
Sandra Bullock, won best actress for her performance as a loving surrogate mother in “The Blind Side.” Like Bridges, she was clearly one of the most popular ones in the auditorium, though she had never been nominated or received an Oscar before and had been best known for romantic dramas like “The Lake House “and the action film “Speed.”
"Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down?" Bullock asked her cheerful audience.
The show had several Las Vegas style dance scenes and ended after three and a half hours. The highlight of the show was Ben Stiller who came dressed up head-to-toe as a Na’vi and spoke in Na’vi language to “Avatar” director James Cameron. The stage was bathed mostly in blue. During the In Memorian, Patrick Swayze, David Carradine and Michael Jackson, but not Farah Fawcett Majors was mentioned.
Where the tribute to Horror movies seemed too long, the tribute to Lauren Bacall, who received her Long-Time Achievement Award, seemed too short. The show also presented excerpts of nominated screen-plays that were projected onto a screen and read by an invisible narrator.
George Fletcher won his first Oscar for adapted screenplay and was so taken by it that he kept his acceptance speech short. "I don't know what to say. This is for everybody who works on a dream every day." In the category best documentary short subject, the Oscar went to Roger Ross Williams, who made a film about a physically disabled woman from Zimbabwe, who became part of an Afro Fusion band called Liyana, after her family had neglected her. Roger Ross William was cut off in the middle of his acceptance speech by Elinor Burkett. Since this seemed strange, he was invited by Larry King the following day to give his full speech.
The best documentary feature , presented by Matt Demon, went to Fisher Stevens and Louie Psihoyos for “The Cove”, which is a film that describes the annual killing of dolphins in a National Park at Taiji, Wakayama, in Japan. In his acceptance speech Stevens said: “I just want to say it was an honor to work on this film and to try to make an entertaining film that also tries to enlighten everybody.” Other than expected the best foreign language feature did not go to Michael Haneke's "White Ribbon" but to Argentinian filmmaker Juan José Campanella for “The Secret in Their Eyes” (“El Secreto de Sus Ojos”). “It is on behalf of a crew and cast that comprise mostly of people that I love and that are very close to my heart that I want to thank the Academy for not considering Na'vi a foreign language, first of all. And for letting us spend three great days in the company of incredible filmmakers.” The award was presented by Pedro Almodóvar and Quentin Tarantino.
Going into the evening the cameras kept on focusing on a somewhat grim looking George Clooney (Up In the Air) who had run along a fence and shaken hands with cheerful fans before he came into the Kodak Center. In addition, there was a short humerous film clip with Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as they were sharing a bed together and being in each other's space.
The 3-D blockbuster science-fiction film "Avatar " received an award for best art direction and went to Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg and Kim Sinclair. Stromberg gave a moving acceptance speech "You know, 13 years ago, the doctors told me I wasn't going to survive and I thought that this dream of standing here would never come true." The award was presented by Sigourney Weaver, who came to fame through the science-fiction film "Alien."
However, one of the most inspiring speeches in the evening came from Michael Giacchino, who received an award for Achievement in Music written for "Up", a feature which received an animation Oscar. "Thank you, guys. When I was... I was nine and I asked my dad, "Can I have your movie camera? That old, wind-up 8 millimeter camera that was in your drawer?" And he goes, "Sure, take it." And I took it and I started making movies with it and I started being as creative as I could, and never once in my life did my parents ever say, "What you're doing is a waste of time." Never. And I grew up, I had teachers, I had colleagues, I had people that I worked with all through my life who always told me what you're doing is not a waste of time. So that was normal to me that it was OK to do that. I know there are kids out there that don't have that support system so if you're out there and you're listening, listen to me: If you want to be creative, get out there and do it. It's not a waste of time. Do it. OK? Thank you. Thank you."
Written by Simone Kussatz
Photo: by Simone Kussatz