Not quite satisfied with making history as the first female Oscar winner for Best Director with The Hurt Locker (2008), Kathryn Bigelow, working again with screenwriter Mark Boal, is back with Zero Dark Thirty, another topical and suspenseful Middle East adventure that’s already a serious contender for this year’s top Oscars. The new film expands far beyond the modest scope of its predecessor, taking on one of the biggest stories of recent years, the decade-long, multi-country search for 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and how it eventually found closure, a mere 19 months ago (maybe you heard about that part). […]
It’s not a good time for the American occupation of Iraq. The news from “over there” is that the followers of Moktada al-Sadr, the radical cleric who led the Shia insurgency against the American occupation, have emerged as Iraq’s equivalent of the 1994 Republican Party. Meanwhile, back in the United States, Americans voted about Iraq, too, refusing to give “Green Zone” any mandate whatsoever. And, keep in mind that the other Iraq film that just won the Best Picture Oscar, “The Hurt Locker,” basically was one of the worst-peforming winners in that category ever. Maybe it’s just the hot button political sensitivities, war-weariness, or that it is simply “too soon.” Other critics can decide that, however, because here at the Smack, we simply want to know which film about the Iraq War gets it most right, box-office be damned!
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 Tarantino’s “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.”