bigelow’s big night

Has anyone ever had a better Oscar night than Kathryn Bigelow?

The only thing she didn’t do during the four-hour telecast Sunday was cure cancer. Wait, did she? In the span of four hours, consider the following:

not a bad night for bigelow. not bad at all.

not a bad night for bigelow. not bad at all.

–She watched and smiled ear-to-ear and clapped profusely while her little movie about an American Army bomb defusing team in Iraq started nabbing awards it wasn’t supposed to, highlighted by a surprising nod for best original screenplay, an award everyone — including me — thought was destined to end up in Quentin Tarantino’s hands. She was getting more face time than Steve Martin and no one at last night’s show looked like they were having more fun than her.

–She became the first female director to win best director ever for a movie first scheduled to be released in 2008, but then pushed back to 2009. How close was it to being released in 2008? The movie was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards in 2009, for actors Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie. It’s one of the few movies ever that has been doing the award circuit for two years. It’s almost impossible for a movie released in the early part of the year to be considered for an Academy Award, but Hurt Locker did it on the strength of endless word of mouth. Neither she nor the movie was even nominated for a Spirit Award in 2009, but it won the Oscars a year later. That’s like LeBron James not being nominated for best basketball player, but winning best athlete.

–While she was still backstage after winning best director — clearly stunned and still trying to absorb the gravity of what just happened — Tom Hanks popped out of the background holding an envelope and in such a hurry he might as well have been wearing a track suit. Because of how long the show was running, he quickly opened the envelope and announced best picture belonged to Hurt Locker, the movie that so far has made just more than 2 percent of what Avatar has made at the North American box office ($15 million vs. $720 million). It was the biggest David vs. Goliath win in Oscar history. She was pushed back out on stage and forced to take another Oscar with a look on her face like, “You have to be effing kidding me, another one?”

–In doing all of it, she got to show up her ex-husband, James Cameron. Read any story you want to about how they’re still friends and they’re on great terms — but that has to be pretty dang sweet. You think Kim Basinger was OK with Alec Baldwin hosting? Did she, a former Oscar winner, even show up? Bigelow seems like too cool of a lady to get up on the podium, point to her ex and say “Neener neener neener!” and flip him the bird, but there is some kind of healthy medium in there somewhere. Like when she gets home and tells her boyfriend, “I got that dirty SOB. Linda Hamilton my butt crack!” And she deserves to. I wanted them to keep showing Cameron during the best picture acceptance so you could see him pulling out his cell phone and texting her, “Can I finally stop the alimony payments now???”

when did the granddaughter from Titanic turn into the grandmother?

when did the granddaughter from Titanic turn into the grandmother?

–But most importantly, she completely showed up Cameron’s current wife Suzy Amis, who has aged 40 years in the last 15 and currently looks like a grandmother. I absolutely cannot believe that’s Edie Finneran from Usual Suspects. If you put these two women next to each other, you’d say Amis was was 65 and Bigelow was 45. If they were in a hotness boxing match, the ref would have stopped it in the first round like Bigelow was Tyson and Amis was Michael Spinks. Truth is, Amis just turned 48 and Bigelow is 58. So the biggest director in the world traded down and just lost to his ex-wife twice in a span of five minutes on the biggest Hollywood night of the year. The King of the World is going to need some time to recover from this.

Which brings us to Cameron and the movie that obviously has major commercial appeal, but just didn’t seem to resonate with the Hollywood crowd. Now we’re left wondering — did his theatrics during the Titanic Oscars and his subsequent brashness about the quality of Avatar have something to do with him being left cheering for his ex-wife last night? Th guy already has a couple Oscars and has more money than God if God won the lottery, so he had no problem going home last night and sleeping on his water bed stuffed with million-dollar bills. But when Amis greets him this morning, she might have to wipe off the last bits of egg off the side of his cheek.

Here’s how the rest of my Oscar picks went:

Best picture: In early February, Avatar was a lock among locks. It certainly seemed like there was an “it’s too popular and not that good” backlash against it though. Then it started losing at awards shows — and didn’t even make the Orange Street top 20, a no-no for any movie in contention. Thoroughly happy for Hurt Locker, even though I picked Avatar.

Best actor, actress: Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock only had to show up and you knew what was happening. Picked them both.

i'm going to have to insist that this be the last time any hosts from a vh1 reality show win an oscar.

i'm going to have to insist that this be the last time any hosts from a vh1 reality show win an oscar.

Supporting actor, actress: Ditto, but at least there was a little more intrigue here since no one knows who Christoph Waltz is and Mo’Nique decided to stick it to the man while not campaigning for the award. Picked both of them.

Adapted screenplay: This was the one I thought would muck up every one’s office pool. I stuck with Up in the Air because I left the theater after seeing Precious and needed to go right to the bar. I hate when movies make me do that (Passion of the Christ and Requiem for a Dream were some others). Plus, I thought Up in the Air was a movie that would have been poison in lesser hands. Anyone could have adapted Precious. But it was a weak category, so I’m fine with Precious winning.

Original screenplay: My only complaint of the night in the big categories. I liked Hurt Locker a lot — but I didn’t necessarily love the script. It was pretty run-of-the-mill as a script, it was the execution of that script that made the movie great. That’s why Kathryn Bigelow 100 percent deserved her director Oscar. But Inglourious Basterds was a script that only comes along once every couple of years. Original, funny, tense, and emotional all at the same time, it was the one script this year that stood out. It deserved this award. Maybe Hollywood didn’t like the movie changing history, but isn’t that what made it great in the first place? Great original scripts take an easy concept — Jews hunting Nazis, anyone can think of that — and turn it on its ear. I’m an unabashed Tarantino fan, but he got suffered through a major screw job on this one.

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