'The Hurt Locker' rules on historic Oscars night

HOLLYWOOD, Rob Woollard- Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker" blew away box office king "Avatar" to take six Oscars, with Kathryn Bigelow becoming the first woman to win the best director award on a historic Hollywood night.
The nerve-jangling movie about a US Army bomb disposal squad in Baghdad also took best picture and best screenplay while "Avatar", made by Bigelow's ex-husband James Cameron, won just three Oscars at Sunday's awards.

Sandra Bullock pictured last year (AFP/File/Gabriel Bouys)
Sandra Bullock pictured last year (AFP/File/Gabriel Bouys)
"This really is, there's no other way to describe it, the moment of a lifetime," said Bigelow, only the fourth woman to be nominated for best director by Academy voters.
"I'd like to dedicate this to the women and men in the military who risk their lives in a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world," Bigelow added. "May they come home safe."
Top acting honors went to Hollywood veterans Jeff Bridges for his performance as an alcoholic country singer in "Crazy Heart" and Sandra Bullock as a feisty housewife in the sports drama "The Blind Side."
It was a perfectly scripted night at the Kodak Theater for Bigelow, whose low-budget film had been locked in a duel with "Avatar" and Cameron, whose 500-million-dollar science-fiction epic has become the highest-grossing film in history with more than 2.5 billion dollars in earnings. "Avatar" mainly won its Oscars in technical categories.
The face-off had been billed as the "Battle of the Exes" but Bigelow and Cameron smiled and joked throughout the evening as they sat just a few feet apart.
Bridges finally landed an Oscar after four previous nominations. He thanked his late parents in an acceptance speech which came 39 years after his first nomination.
"Thank you mum and dad for turning me on to such a groovy profession," he said.
Bullock completed a uniquely dubious double with her best actress award, which came 24 hours after she was crowned worst actress at the Razzies, the annual Oscars parody.
"Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down?" said Bullock, whose role was based on the true story of Leigh Anne Tuohy, who took on a homeless black teenager and helped set him on the road to an American football career.
Bullock, who wore a dazzling silver beaded gown with an elegant train, later revealed she planned to display her Razzie award next to her Oscar statuette.
"You take the good with the not so good," she said.
The supporting actor awards went to Austria's Christoph Waltz for his portrayal of a sadistic Nazi officer in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," and Mo'Nique, a monstrous parent in harrowing drama "Precious."
Mo'Nique was only the fifth black actress to win an Oscar.
The 42-year-old paid tribute to Hattie McDaniel, the first black actress to be garlanded for her role in "Gone With the Wind", in her acceptance speech and revealed she had picked out her Oscars outfit in honor of her predecessor.
"I want to thank Miss Hattie McDaniel for enduring all that she had to so that I would not have to," she said.
"The reason why I have on this royal blue dress is because it's the color that Hattie McDaniel wore in 1940 when she accepted her Oscar."
Waltz, 53, meanwhile was in raptures after collecting his statuette from Spanish siren Penelope Cruz.
"Oscar and Penelope -- that's uber bingo," he said.
Waltz, who has also won a Cannes film festival award, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a British Bafta prize, was heralded in his native Austria on Monday. "Triumph" said Die Presse newspaper.
"Up," about an elderly gent who ties balloons to his home to live his dream of seeing the wilds of South America, took the award for best animated feature.
Juan Jose Campanella's latest feature "El Secreto de Sus Ojos" (The Secret in their Eyes) landed Argentina its first Oscar in 25 years when it scooped the award for best foreign film.
On the red carpet before the show, platinum and silver dominated Hollywood's traditional display of glitz and glamour.
Bigelow charmed with a simple form-fitting platinum column dress while Kate Winslet displayed the most exquisite jewelry of the night: a pendant style necklace of white and yellow diamonds with matching earrings believed to be worth more than 2.5 million dollars.

Tuesday, March 9th 2010
Rob Woollard

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