Los Angeles–Last night’s Academy Awards ceremony, otherwise known as the Oscars, saw independent films win out over major studio productions in a ceremony that was nonetheless predictable with the past year’s critically acclaimed films dominating the awards.
"The Hurt Locker," a film about a bomb deactiviation squad in Iraq, took six awards including best picture and best director, beating out James Cameron’s multi-million-dollar sci-fi blockbuster "Avatar" for top awards.
"Avatar" took three Oscars in technical categories–visual effects, cinematography and art direction.
Bob Murawski, editor on "The Hurt Locker," summed up the outside-the-studio view when he collected his Oscar.
"Thank you to the Academy for giving this award to a movie that was made without compromise," Murawski said.
"We didn’t have any preview screenings or focus groups or studio notes," he said. "Everybody made the movie we wanted to make, and it turned out great."
"Hurt Locker" director Kathryn Bigelow won the top directing honor for her intimate Iraq war drama, making her the first woman to take the prize.
"I hope I’m the first of many [women]," she said afterward backstage. "I long for the day when that modifier can be a moot point."
As fellow director Barbra Streisand put it in announcing Bigelow’s victory, "Well, the time has come."
Jeff Bridges won best actor for his portrayal of a boozy country singer in "Crazy Heart." Sandra Bullock took the best-actress prize as a brassy Southern mother in "The Blind Side." Christoph Waltz won best supporting actor for his chilling performance as a Nazi colonel in "Inglourious Basterds." And Mo’Nique walked away with top supporting actress as a cruelly abusive mom in "Precious."
Waltz was the only winner from multiple nominee film "Inglourious Basterds," Quentin Tarantino’s wildly revisionist World War II saga. The Austrian-born actor joked that winning an Oscar–and receiving it from presenter Penelope Cruz–was "uber bingo."
The biggest surprise of the night came in the foreign language category, which Argentina’s "El Secreto de Sus Ojos" won. "The White Ribbon" from Germany and "Un Prophete" from France were the favorites.
Last year’s best picture winner "Slumdog Millionaire," was made independently but distributed by major firms.