Last night I won my Oscar pool when The Hurt Locker (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was named best picture. I wasn’t picking with my heart, mind you, I simply played the odds and picked the film which had won the Producer’s, Director’s and Writer’s Guild award. Only eight times has a film won all three of those awards, and seven of those eight films went on to win the best picture Oscar.
However, as I said, I didn’t pick what I wanted to win, I picked what I thought would win. It’s not that I disliked The Hurt Locker, but after a second viewing Friday night I could confirm what I felt upon first seeing it some 18 months ago: that it was good, but not great. That it had some terrific moments, but that it also veered into a tone-deaf section (which at the time I called “the John Wayne factor”) and glossed over the psychological impacts. That it just didn’t rock me back the way Slumdog or No Country did.
True, there were few other films which could have legitimately challenged for the best picture title. Up was a sure thing in the animated feature category. The Blind Side, An Education, District 9 and Up In The Air were too light. A Serious Man was too obscure and Precious was too not. And Avatar…no way. Stunning as it was to watch, there’s no way that thing should be feted as a standout film. It should just win every technical award up for grabs.
That leaves the film I think should have won it all: Inglourious Basterds. From eight nominations it took one award — Christoph Waltz, a no-brainer for best supporting actor — but in my opinion it got robbed on original screenplay. I don’t think they were ever really in it for best picture though. Maybe the academy doesn’t consider Tarantino a worthy Oscar winner, or maybe they just didn’t want a remade/re-imagined film to win the big prize. Or maybe it just didn’t have the votes. Whatever the case I wish they’d reconsidered. I found it far more epic, inventive, entertaining and memorable than The Hurt Locker, and would’ve liked to see the Bear Jew climb onstage and take his victory.