Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar victory isn't all that, says Maria Tadeo

The 82nd Academy Award ceremony may have seemed the ultimate celebration of female talent but Uncle Oscar still played it safe in a predictable night with few surprises.

Women may have ruled the Oscar ceremony as Kathryn Bigelow made history as the first woman to win an Academy award for best director. But the night was all about the All American flicks that took conservative Hollywood by storm.

Bigelow’s Oscar winning picture The Hurt Locker proved yet again that nothing works better than a bit of war drama where American heroes are presented as heroes to make the members of the academy tick.

The Hurt Locker is based on the lives on explosive disposal experts as they struggle to accomplish their lethal missions across a bomb-infested Iraq.

However the film tells us very little about the political implications of the Iraq and the ordinary life of both soldiers and civilians after seven years of heavy combat that has turned Iraq into a ghost nation.

The other big winners of the night included Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges for their leading performances in The Blind Side and Crazy Heart respectively.

Both critically acclaimed dramas where Bullock plays a caring mother who rescues a black kid from a miserable life and leads him to success as an American football player.

Jeff Bridge’s Crazy Heart is all about redemption as he plays an alcoholic country singer who tries to turn his life around when he meets a young journalist played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Hollywood can’t help but love a good old story about forgiveness and atonement where the leads become better people sobbing their sins away.

It may have been a night to remember for women but the Academy played by its own rules under conservative choices and turned its back yet again on Hollywood’s gay film industry as Tom Ford’s A Single Man left the Kodak Theatre empty-handed.

A critically acclaimed drama centred on the life of a gay English professor who struggles to cope with death and loss after his lifelong partner passes that was barely noticed by the US critics.

So too was Colin Firth’s performance as the film’s leading man that won him the Volpi Coup for best actor at the Venice International Film last year.

It may have seemed a glorious night for female talent reaching the top in the generally male-dominated categories. But it’s all always good to scratch the surface beneath the Hollywood razzle-dazzle.

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