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In the end, it seemed the voters' referendum was more about humbling Cameron than awarding Bigelow, and while I won't quibble with that decision, it certainly seemed like the Academy’s version of negative campaigning.
HURT'S SO GOOD: THE IMPORTANCE OF WINNING OSCAR
Kathryn Bigelow Tops Her Ex-Husband as The Hurt Locker Grabs Six Oscars
Avatar director James Cameron may be King of the World (and the box office), but his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow is Queen of the Academy Awards after The Hurt Locker, her film about a bomb unit in Iraq, won six Oscars from its nine nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, in last night's 82nd annual gala from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

The show itself played out like a particularly lopsided Super Bowl, with the late momentum seeing the critically acclaimed film overcome the 3-D Nav'i extravanganza, which has so far earned $2.6 billion in worldwide box office, compared to a paltry $21 million worldwide for the winner.

The rest of the Oscars went pretty much according to chalk, with Crazy Heart's Jeff Bridges and The Blind Side's Sandra Bullock taking top acting honors, and Inglourious Basterds' Christoph Waltz and Precious' Mo'Nique the supporting categories.

The show itself both doubled the number of hosts and the number of Best Picture candidates from five to 10, but played out without too many surprises...and, by decree of the producers, not a single Tiger Woods joke nor Best Original Song performance.

Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin proved affable, intermittently amusing hosts, and there wasn't a single streaker or major gaffe, unless you count Cameron Diaz calling her co-presenter Steve Carell "Jude" as in Law or ABC cameras cutting away from The Cove producer holding up a text number to save the dophins.

In the music categories, Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett took home Best Original Song for "The Weary Kind," the theme from Crazy Heart, while Michael Giacchino was the Best Score winner for his marvelous work on Up, one of the few Oscars not taken home by The Hurt Locker.

Highlights included a touching tribute to the late John Hughes, with many of his films' stars, including Matthew Broderick, Molly Ringwald and an almost unrecognizable Judd Nelson; Ben Stiller in full Avatar gear, sneaking in the Hebrew Passover prayer for drinking wine before handing out the award for Best Make-up; Mo'Nique's speech thanking the Academy for acknowledging "performance" over "politics"; Sandra Bullock's Sally Field-like "“Did I really earn this or did I just wear y’all down?” and the sight of Cameron, sitting directly behind his ex, getting his lunch handed to him after Avatar won just three technical honors.

The only real shocker of the night was the Argentinian El Secreto de los Ojos edging both A Prophet and The White Ribbon for Best Foreign Film, though Precious and Hurt Locker did score mild upsets in the Adapted and Original Screenplay categories.

In the end, it seemed the voters' referendum was more about humbling Cameron than awarding Bigelow, and while I won't quibble with that decision, it certainly seemed like the Academy’s version of negative campaigning.

It’s a certainty that in 25 years, movies are going to look a lot more like Avatar than The Hurt Locker (you did catch the ad for the Samsung 3-D TV?) and if Bigelow’s film is nothing more than an extremely modern version of the age-old credo that war may be hell, it did so in a way that definitely resonated.

Still, like the the venerable Oscar show itself, The Hurt Locker balanced moments of excruciating boredom with sudden outbursts of violent destruction. If nothing else, as Barbra Streisand, who presented the award to Bigelow, noted, “The time has come” and this year’s Oscars will probably be remembered as the one where a female director finally won for Best Director. And, come to think of it, that’s more of a revolution for the future of film than anything Cameron accomplished in Avatar

For a complete list of winners, go here.

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