The introduction to this year’s Oscars is evidential of the Academy’s urgent attempts to increase its ratings. It began with a rousing, and at times, bawdy number by Neil Patrick Harris, who was accompanied by professional dancers. The opening banter between Martin and Baldwin was comical, and they were not afraid to take cheap shots at each other or at the actors and actresses in the audience. It all seemed to be in good fun, but George Clooney looked as if he was in considerable pain whenever he was addressed by the co-hosts.
After a decision made in June of 2009, the Academy expanded the Best Picture category to accommodate 10 movies in the hopes that it will increase ratings. The award went to The Hurt Locker. Competing against The Hurt Locker for the coveted best-picture award were Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, Inglourious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, A Serious Man, Up, and Up in the Air.
The night truly belonged to The Hurt Locker, which won six Academy Awards in total. Katherine Bigelow won the award for Best Direction. She made history as the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director. The Hurt Locker also won awards for Best-Original Screenplay, Best Sound Editing and Mixing, and Best Film Editing. When accepting the award for Best-Original Screenplay and Best Director, Mark Boal and Katherine Bigelow dedicated the awards to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, even citing statistics of those abroad, injured, and who have perished.
Avatar was awarded for Best Cinematagraphy and Best Visual Effects, but was not the frontrunner that most predicted.
Somewhat of a dark-horse candidate was Jeff Bridges, who took home the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in Crazy Hearts. This was Bridges’ fifth nomination and first Oscar.
Sandra Bullock rightfully earned the award for Best Actress for her role in The Blind Side. She competed with greats like Julie & Julia’s Meryl Streep, who holds the Academy record for most nominations, Helen Mirren in The Last Station, Carey Mulligan in An Education, Gabourey Sibide in Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire.
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire won the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. As predicted, Mo’Nique was awarded as the Best Supporting Actress for her role in Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire.
The winner for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role is Christoph Waltz for his role in Inglourious Basterds. Waltz competed against Matt Damon in Invictus, Woody Harrelson in The Messenger, Christopher Plummer in The Last Station, and Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones for this incredible honor.
Up accepted the awards for Best-Animated Feature Film and Best Original Score.
In a moving tribute to director John Hughes who passed away in 2009, the actors of his beloved family and teen-angst films like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, and the holiday classic, Home Alone, appeared on stage to pay homage to the beloved director, including Molly Ringwald, MaCauley Culken, and Matthew Broderick. Hughes’ movies have been a celebration of youth and have given a voice to all teens who dread growing up to be just like their parents.
Photo of Katherine Bigelow and Mark Boal: AP Images