Iraq movie dominates Critics Choice Awards.
"The Hurt Locker," a low-budget movie about an American bomb-disposal unit in Iraq, was named best picture on Friday at the Critics' Choice Awards, a ceremony that has an uncanny knack of foretelling Oscar success.
"The Hurt Locker" is a suspense portrait of a military squad who volunteer to disarm a wave of roadside bombs on the streets of Baghdad battling insurgents and one another in the way for their mission. The movie's director, Kathryn Bigelow, also was honored, beating a high profile field that included her ex-husband, James Cameron, for "Avatar."
Jeff Bridges was named best actor for playing a drunken country singer in "Crazy Heart," while the actress award was a tie between Meryl Streep for "Julie & Julia" and Sandra Bullock for "The Blind Side."
" Inglourious Basterds " did win three awards, including supporting actor (Christoph Waltz), original screenplay and best ensemble. Along with the all-star musical "Nine," it led the field with 10 nominations.
Other awards went to Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for their adapted screenplay for "Up in the Air," and to comedienne Mo'Nique for her supporting turn as an abusive mother in the harrowing urban drama "Precious."
"Avatar," which scored nine nominations, was named best action movie, and picked up five other awards in newly established technical categories to lead the overall field.
The Critics' Choice Awards, organized by the 235 members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, have established a reputation as the leading barometer of Oscar success. In the past 10 years, 80 percent of its best-picture winners went on to take Oscar gold. The success rate for director, best actor and actress is 70 percent.
The Golden Globes, by contrast, have a 60 percent rate for best picture in the same period, even after dividing its category into drama and comedy. Its hit rate with best director is 50 percent. "Up in the Air" is the leading contender.
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