Monday, March 8, 2010

'Hurt Locker' Locks it Up at Academy Awards

At the Los Angeles Times, "'Hurt' Locks it Up":

"The Hurt Locker," a gritty, challenging and little-seen drama about bomb disposal in the Iraq war, was the leading winner with six Academy Awards on Sunday night, including best picture and the first directing honor for a female filmmaker.

Academy Award organizers had doubled this year's best-picture contest to 10 movies to rope in more mass-appeal hits and boost the ceremony's ratings; but "The Hurt Locker," an emotionally exhausting account of an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, stands apart as the lowest-grossing film in modern history to capture Hollywood's highest award.

"This has been such a dream -- beyond a dream -- for all of us," screenwriter and producer Mark Boal said in his best picture acceptance speech, calling the film's performance in the 82nd annual ceremony "beyond anything we could have imagined." The film also was honored for its original screenplay, editing and two sound awards.

The Iraq-bomb-defusing drama's Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Academy Award for directing. "There's no other way to describe it. It's the moment of a lifetime," said Bigelow, who was only the fourth woman nominated for directing in academy history.
Notice how the film is described as a "little seen drama." But in my case, it's one of the films I made sure to see. The other was "Precious," which also did very well last night, for example, with Mo'Nique taking the best supporting actress award. I think, in my movie-going, I seek out genuine meaning in film beyond entertainment, which is why I caught both of the productions at the theater. "Hurt Locker" and "Precious" are of course both riveting productions. But they're also films that speak to us at a deeper level than is common in what goes for popular movie culture. And by that I mean that popular culture of leftist media indoctrination or uber-commercialization that truncates real thinking.

As for the leftist Hollywood culture, "Hurt Locker" in particular has come under fire for NOT being an antiwar movie. And keep in mind that screenwriter Mark Boal was a journalist in-country who wanted to chronicle his experiences in Iraq on film. The Times on Saturday ran a piece on Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films, which is funding a number of hardline leftist films on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. See, "
Veterans Put Their Own War Stories on Film." But keep in mind that these vets will provide a staple for Greenwald's longstanding anti-American ouevre (see here).

In contrast, I first read about "Hurt Locker" at Hot Air, in Ed Morrissey's clear-eyed account from last October, "
Film Review: The Hurt Locker." Plus, more recently I've been reading Jules Crittenden's film commentary. He's had a lot of praise for Hurt Locker," and his remarks are grounded especially well in his own experience of having been an embedded reporter in Iraq. See, "World of Hurt."