We’ve just watched history in the making at the 82nd Academy Awards: The first woman to win a Best Director Oscar, deservedly, Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker.” ”The Hurt Locker” is also the major winner of the night, garnering 6 Academy Awards from its 9 nominations:
- Best Picture
- Original Screenplay
- Film Editing
- Sound Mixing
- Sound Editing
“Well the time has come…” Barbra Streisand said as she announced the Oscar for Best Director. It took 82 Academy Awards to arrive. Only three other women had ever been nominated in this category, but none had won. I’m excited to see Kathryn Bigelow turn a new page of Oscar history last night.
She was clearly moved by this honor, describing it as: “The moment of a lifetime.” Bigelow gave credits to many, but especially to Mark Boal who was an embedded journalist in a bomb disposal team in Iraq for writing the story, and dedicated the award to “women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis. May they come home safe.”
To me, the last half hour was the most worthwhile, as with all Oscar award shows, but especially this one. The comedic duo of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin was a disappointment. I expected better. When jokes were made at the expense of color and race, personal relationships of exes, and Meryl Streep’s record Oscar losses, you know they could have put in more effort. Was that a postmodern, deconstructing comic gig? Or simply denigrating the very films the night was supposed to honor? Of course, the audience could take a joke, or two… but I didn’t see all of them laughing. After Neil Patrick Harris’s enthusiastic opening musical, Martin and Baldwin paled in comparison. We might have just discovered who could be the next Oscar host.
However, there were a few more memorable moments that saved the show:
The tribute to John Hughes was especially touching. Passed away last year, Hughes was the legendary director whose movies were themselves expressions of teen angst. They represented a generation of youth striving to belong and to connect, in whatever way they knew how. It was quite a moment to see these actors come on stage to honor their director. The now middle-age Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick, stars of the iconic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” gave a moving tribute. They were later joined on stage by Jon Cryer, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, the truant youths of “The Breakfast Club”. And who would forget “Sixteen Candles”, “Pretty In Pink”, and a bit more recent, the “Home Alone” movies. Macauley Culkin also joined in. The Hughes family was in attendance to acknowledge the tribute.
Sandra Bullock won Best Actress for her role in The Blind Side. ”Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down?” she asked. Just a day ago she won another acting award, the Razzie, the Worst Actress Award for “All About Steve”. But she took it all in stride. ”I had the best time at the Razzie… it’s the great equalizer. No one lets me get too full of myself,” she said after the Oscars. Ahh… what a deserving Oscar winner.
Jeff Bridges won Best Actor finally after four nominations, his first one dating back to 1971 for “The Last Picture Show”. On the red carpet, when asked what his late father Lloyd Bridges would have said to him if he were here tonight, he answered: “He’d say, atta boy, atta boy!” I was most impressed by his performance in “Crazy Heart” as a washed-up country-western singer, not just acting, but singing as well.
While I had expected Jason Reitman to win Best Adapted Screenplay, I was glad to see Geoffrey Fletcher getting the recognition for “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire”, the first African American to win a screenwriting Oscar, and with his first feature screenplay. He was definitely moved, “This is for everybody who works on a dream every day, Precious boys and girls everywhere.”
When interviewed after the show, Kathryn Bigelow had this to say to all prospective female directors: “Never give up on your dream.”
So, it was a late-winter night’s dream for many. And it’s gratifying to see some deserving talents have theirs realized in a most amazing way.
For a full list of Oscar Winners, CLICK HERE to the official site of The Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts and Sciences.