That film about the Iraq War — "The Hurt Locker" — is turning out to have the same kind of mixed popularity as the war itself during this awards season. After a shut down by the Golden Globes last week and the Screen Actors Guild awards this weekend, "The Hurt Locker" won the Producers Guild of America's Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year award on Sunday night.
The PGA trophy went home with the film's producers Kathryn Bigelow (director), Mark Boal (writer), Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro. The other nominees were: "Avatar," "District 9," "An Education," "Inglourious Basterds," "Invictus," "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," "Star Trek," "Up" and "Up in the Air."
The Academy Awards won't announce their own nominees until Tuesday, February 2 but already the season has seen some trends and some surprises. "The Hurt Locker" seems to be right in the thick of that action. Maybe even on a fast track (most definitely for a nomination). Like the PGA, the Academy is expanding the Best Picture category from five nominees to ten this year.
If you haven't seen it, the film is about a bomb-defusing unit in Iraq, a job that comes with a guarantee of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when you go home. Although it won at the Critics' Choice Awards, it lost ground when the Globes chose "Avatar" as best dramatic film and then SAG gave its film ensemble award to "Inglourious Basterds."
What's it all mean? Well, for starters, this PGA award always gets looked at as an indicator for which way the wind's blowing in the race for the Academy Award for best film. During the past two decades, a baker's dozen (13) of previous PGA winners have gone on to win the best film Oscar. The last time they didn't connect was when the producers gave "Little Miss Sunshine" the win while the film academy went with "The Departed." But, hey, if Producers should have respected anything this year, wouldn't it be the profit, box-office and production that went into "Avatar," particularly on the night it's cruising toward #1 status of all-time? But they didn't, so now it's a race…
Feel like checking out the Movie Smackdown treatment? Click here to read Sherry Coben's The Hurt Locker (2009) -vs- In the Loop (2009).
By the way, the next big race for this film will be January 30 when the Directors Guild of America (DGA) awards take place. Kathryn Bigelow stands a chance to be the first woman ever to win that key award if she can beat her ex-husband James Cameron and some little known director named Tarantino. Here's our own poll which, so far, seems to show a very close race but not between Bigelow and Cameron but Cameron and Tarantino. Vote!