Oscars 2010 Winners: The Hurt Locker is no longer hurting

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List of winners
  • Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
  • Original Screenplay: The Hurt Locker
  • Song: The Weary Kind, Crazy Heart
  • Animated Feature: Up
  • Animated Short: Logorama
  • Documentary Short: Music by Prudence
  • Live Action Short: The New Tenants
  • Make Up: Star Trek
  • Adapted Screenplay: Precious!
  • Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique
  • Art Direction: Avatar
  • Costumes: The Young Victoria
  • Sound Editing: The Hurt Locker
  • Sound Mixing: The Hurt Locker
  • Cinematography: Avatar
  • Score: Up
  • Visual Effects: Avatar
  • Documentary: The Cove
  • Editing: The Hurt Locker
  • Foreign Film: The secret in their eyes
  • Actor: Jeff Bridges
  • Actress: Sandra Bullock
  • Director: Kathryn Bigelow
  • Picture: The Hurt Locker

Hollywood decided that it would honour the little engine that could and ignore box office number. How rebellious! It was about paying your dues, wasn't it? With Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock winning their respective category, less for their actual role than for their career and being so darn likable? (Admit it, you teared up during Bullock's speech too!) I'm just pleasantly surprised that Up In The Air went home empty handed, like it should. My favoured horse, The White Ribbon, is not the kind of picture the Academy would usually go for, so it's not a big surprise that it lost out. Still, I was a bit disappointed because the film could've used some free advertisement.


Oscars 2010 Predictions: painting Hollywood blue?

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May this be the last time they're trying the 10 best pic nominations experiment. If TV-movie-of-the-week The Blind Side can be included as one of the year's best pictures, you know it's gone to the crap shooter. Not to diss TV production or anything (LOST for the win!), best picture should be a short-list field, not an all inclusive one. It's a race, gosh darn it, not a feel-good circle jerk! Well, okay, not just a feel-good circle jerk. It's not all that honourable if every movie not completely hated by the critics is considered 'best of the year.' Can we have some standards here, people?

Anyway, predictions galore! (Mine / Special guest, Griz's)

Best Picture
Avatar / The Hurt Locker
Alternates: The Hurt Locker / Avatar

Best Actor:
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart / Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Alternate: George Clooney, Up in the Air / Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side / Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Alternate: Helen Mirren, The Last Station / Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia

Supporting Actor:
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds / Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Alternate: Christopher Plummer, The Last Station / Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Supporting Actress:
Mo’Nique, Precious / Mo'Nique, Precious
Alternate: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart / Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air

Best Director:
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker / Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Alternate: James Cameron, Avatar / James Cameron, Avatar

Original Screenplay:
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds / Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Alternate: Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker / Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Adapted Screenplay:
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air / Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Alternate: Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious / Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious

The Hurt Locker / The Hurt Locker
Alternate: Inglourious Basterds / Avatar

Avatar / The Hurt Locker
Alternate: The White Ribbon / Avatar

Art Direction:
Avatar / Avatar
Alternate: Imaginarium / Sherlock Holmes

The Young Victoria / The Young Victoria
Alternate: Coco Avant Chanel / Nine

The Hurt Locker / Avatar
Alternate: Avatar / The Hurt Locker

Sound Editing:
The Hurt Locker / Avatar
Alternate: Avatar / Star Trek

Up / Up
Alternate: Fantastic Mr. Fox / Avatar

Foreign Language Film:
A Prophet / The Secret in their Eyes
Alternate: The White Ribbon / A prophet

Doc Feature:
The Cove / The Cove
Alternate: Food, Inc. / Which way home

Animated Feature:
Up / Up
Alternate: The Fantastic Mr. Fox / The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Visual Effects:
Avatar / Avatar
Alternate: District 9 / District 9

Star Trek / Star Trek
Alternate: The Young Victoria / The Young Victoria

Best Song:
The Weary Kind, Crazy Heart / The Weary Kind, Crazy Heart
Alternate: Take it all, Nine / Almost There, The Princess and the Frog

Although every precursor award points to The Hurt Locker, it seems too small against the record-breaking Avatar to win best picture. If either Avatar or The Hurt Locker wins best picture tomorrow, and the rest of the field looks like what I predicted here, it'd be an empty sort of best picture win - a best picture that either looks good or sounds good, but without award-winning substance (comparable to other pictures). At least, that's what the Academy is telling us with their awards should things go as predicted. And that is, if you care. Which, you really do.


Horror in the mirror

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What is it about mirrors that makes them so effective at scaring the bejeesus out of us? Visually, it is jarring: the camera angle is usually such that an unexpected figure in the mirror distorts our sense of reality, for we only see one person in front of the camera. In effect, for a brief moment, the monster is us, the audience, as well as the character, by our adoption of her point of view. In the context of horror films, surprises are often of the unpleasant kind. We are conditioned to fear the unexpected (part of the great unknown), so that even if the monster wears a human face, for a brief moment, we experience that jolt of fear. While mirrors may be used cinematically to express a character's fear from within - and thereby ours - they are effective emotional device that banks on our fight or flight instinct triggered by the confrontation of an unexpected physical event as well.

Furthermore, mirrors themselves are quite strange - the ability to recognize one's self in the mirror has been linked to consciousness / self awareness. You, as human beings, understand that the reflection in the mirror is actually yours and are not terribly confused by the lack of an actual person in the mirror. While some people may claim consciousness to be the sole province of humans, researchers have set out to test for presence of self awareness in other animals. Elephants, for example, have been found to be able to indicate that they recognize when their 'face' is painted (Plotnik, de Waal, & Reiss, 2006). Luckily for them, there isn't any elephant horror film to speak of. The fact that we are self aware and thereby understand what to expect of mirrors is exploited in horror films, as filmmakers subvert our expectations of normal mirror behaviour, much to our delight (or horror?). So the next time you jump out of your seat when that mirrored medicine cabinet is closed and a monster reflection appears on it, don't be ashamed of your manipulated state of fear. You're only human.



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