Hurt Locker Beats Avatar! Oscar gets it right (for now).

Posted on 09 March 2010 by Quaid

Why am I writing this article? Because I think it wouldn’t be right if MCS didn’t celebrate the Oscars getting it right, for once.

And to rub James Cameron’s (intensely wealthy and successful) nose in the fact that he was unable to duplicate the awards love he (rightly) got for Titanic.

See, when you follow the awards season as heavily as we do, and when you make movies a good chunk of your entire life, it’s easy to get jaded (I’m looking at you, Shep). When movies like Million Dollar Baby or Chicago or Shakespeare in Love win the top award, it’s easy to get discouraged and argue that the best movie simply did not win.

The Oscars have had a long history of being short-sighted. How Green Was My Valley beat out Citizen Kane for the Oscar in 1941, for God’s sake. I think we can all agree that that was a mistake.

So even though Katheryn Bigelow’s amazing film The Hurt Locker was the front-runner for the top prize, I was skeptical. Avatar was a huge hit and seemed to be gaining momentum coming out of the Golden Globes. And even though that is a terrible Oscar predictor, I was also concerned with the Academy’s new voting system and decision to include ten nominees in the Best Picture category. There was some speculation that the other “more serious” movies would split the vote and Avatar would reign supreme.

It didn’t happen, and it shouldn’t have happened. The one thing I still love about the Oscars is that it honestly doesn’t matter how much money your movie made or what its budget was. I mean, sure, your movie has to garner enough buzz to be noticed, and studios throw millions of dollars into Oscar marketing, but it’s still a slightly more “pure” system than the MTV Movie Awards…or even the Grammy’s for that matter.

Still, when a movie like Avatar comes along, I get a little shaken. Audiences want it to win. Many critics want it to win. It “revolutionized” 3D cinema, so the technophiles want it to win. And it’s got enough money to just about buy every vote possible from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (not making accusations, just saying).

But there’s only one problem: it’s not the better movie.

The Oscars is a crapshoot. When the intensely overrated A Beautiful Mind took home the top prize, I lost a little faith. Sometimes they “get it,” sometimes they don’t. It’s a subjective experience, that whole movie-watching thing, and I’m not enough of a snob to believe that I know the objective truth of the quality of the films. Still, when you put a tense and emotionally affecting character-driven story like The Hurt Locker up against the crowd-pleasing Avatar, it’s difficult not to come away with the belief that The Hurt Locker is the greater cinematic achievement.

So congratulations, Hollywood. You got it right, and I raise my imaginary glass to you. I’m not going to give you too much credit, though. You did nominate Norbit (Just kidding…that fat suit was the BOMB!).


Categorized | Commentary

7 Comments For This Post

  1. passa passa Says:

    Haha so true.

  2. Nick Says:

    I have to say, I didn’t want Avatar to win, but I also didn’t want The Hurt Locker to win. I wanted Precious, Up In The Air, District 9, or (my favorite) Inglourious Basterds to pull an upset and walk away with it. Oh well.

  3. Quaid Says:

    Nick…I’m with you with all but Precious. And I think it would have been one of the coolest things ever in the world for Inglourious Basterds to come from nowhere and win.

  4. Former Oscar Fan Says:

    Having viewed all of the films this year that were nominated for Best Picture, I can honestly say that “Hurt Locker” was my 10th favorite. “Tense and emotionally-affecting”? This film did nothing but waste two hours of my life that I will not get back. Mediocre acting, bland story and documentary-style filming would be more appropriate tag-lines. Movies are meant to pull you into the story, to lose yourself in the experience, to walk away knowing you have just witnessed something memorable. A decade from now, I will fondly remember Inglorious Basterds, Avatar and District 9… but this piece of celluloid will be lost to the ages much like Shakespeare in Love and Chicago.

  5. Sandy Cather Says:

    I love the Avatar 3D film, particularly the story line, not solely it brings a very new sensation but inspiring ideas of humanity. I heard the New Avatar 2 is comming soon, can’t wait to see it again…!

  6. Darin Jankins Says:

    I really like the Avatar 3D movie, particularly the story line, not solely it brings a completely new sensation however eye opening thoughts of humanity. I heard the New Avatar 2 is comming soon, cannot wait to see it again…!

  7. A paramotor pilot Says:

    I’m pissed that BOTH Avatar & Up in the Air didn’t win!!!!

    I watched Hurt Locker and fell asleep!

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