'The Hurt Locker' Wins National Society of Film Critics Best Picture

1/06/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Matt Jussim

“The Hurt Locker” just continues to rack up awards this season. Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq war drama swept the National Society of Film Critics awards this week, winning Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.

Written by Mark Boal, “The Hurt Locker” is the story of a bomb squad during the Iraq War and the life-threatening bomb-diffusion missions they take on. The margin of error is zero, and the soldiers talk of explosions as sending you to "the hurt locker."

“The Hurt Locker" already has won a slew of awards, including Best Pictgure by the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Boston Society of Film Critics, Gotham Awards and other groups as well.

Okay, so “The Hurt Locker” won some more awards, but what does this mean for its Oscar chances?

Although the National Society of Film Critics is an influential group, they often stray from the more traditional films that end up as big winners at the Academy Awards. They have a reputation for choosing artsy and foreign films over big box office hits. The group also hands out their awards a little differently than everyone else. Instead of an awards ceremony, members vote at Sardi's restaurant in New York and send scrolls to winners instead of statuettes.  Sardi's also is best known for the Broadway crowd.

But winning Best Picture from the National Society of Critics isn’t always the path to Oscar glory.

According to the Web site Cinematical: “Going back to 1999, seven of the last 11 films that they have named as Film of the Year have failed to even get a nomination. Only four times since there existence in 1967 have the group matched their choice with the eventual Oscar winner. Their first came in 1977 with "Annie Hall" with their most recent in 2004 with "Million Dollar Baby." They saw back-to-back victories in 1992-93 with "Unforgiven" and "Schindler's List.”

On the other hand, the site says things should look brighter for Bigelow and Renner. “Six of the NSFC's last 10 choices for Director went onto nominations and nine of their last 10 Actors have done the same. The better news for Mr. Renner is that their last five choices (and six of the last seven) have WON the Oscar.”

Obviously, only time will tell when it comes to Oscar nominations for “The Hurt Locker,” but it seems to be critic’s consensus for the best film of the year. I myself saw the film--fortunately it was playing in ONE theater in the New York City area way back in August (two months after it’s initial release) and it is just as good as the critics have said.

The Academy Award nominations will be announced Tuesday, February 2, 2010.

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