The inevitability of a major Oscar-night skirmish between Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” and James Cameron’s “Avatar” continued to grow over the weekend. The Iraq war film won six of the eight categories in which it was nominated at Sunday night’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards.”
Cameron’s 3-D fantasia was shut out of the major categories, as ex-wife Bigelow became the first woman to take the BAFTAs’ Best Director honor.” The film about a bomb-disposal unit in Iraq also won Best Picture, Cinematography, Editing, Sound and Original Screenplay (for screenwriter Mark Boal). Bigelow dismissed talk of a rivalry with Cameron, saying she was “real honored” to be nominated alongside her former husband.
Cameron shouldn’t feel bad, also swept in the major categories was Quentin Tarantino, whose Nazi drama “Inglourious Basterds” got blanked with the exception of a Best Supporting Actor win for the amazing Christoph Waltz. “Avatar” did manage to notch wins for Best Production Design and Special Visual Effects.
Jason Reitman’s downsizing drama “Up in the Air” won for Best Adapted Screenplay, beating out such serious competition as “District 9,” “An Education,” “In the Loop” and “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.” English actors had a good night, with Colin Firth winning Leading Actor honors (over “Crazy Heart” strummer Jeff Bridges) for his role in “A Single Man” as a college professor struggling to find the meaning of life after the death of his longtime partner. Newcomer Carey Mulligan took home the Leading Actress prize for her lauded breakout role in “An Education.”
Both drew healthy applause, but one of the loudest ovations on the red carpet came for Kristen Stewart of “Twilight” fame. The Los Angeles native took home the night’s only audience-voted award, the Orange Rising Star prize, in which she aced out Mulligan, Jesse Eisenberg (“Zombieland”), Nicholas Hoult (“A Single Man”) and Tahar Rahim (“A Prophet”).
Continuing a string of pre-Oscar wins, Mo’Nique won the Best Supporting Actress award for her harrowing work as a harsh mother in “Precious.” Duncan Jones, the son of British rock icon David Bowie, won the award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for his trippy space film “Moon,” and “Up” won the trophy for Best Animated Film and Best Score for Michael Giacchino.
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Hurt Locker.”
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