“Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow beat her ex-husband last night.
Bigelow won best director and best picture for “The Hurt Locker” at the Critics’ Choice Awards, thus trouncing her ex-husband James Cameron and his computer-generated “Avatar.”
In what is the most telling awards show pre-Academy Awards, the Critics’ Choice Awards on VH1 often accurately predicts the Oscar. Last night at the Hollywood Palladium, the well-produced two-hour telecast was the kick-off for awards season.
The big winners were Jeff Bridges for “Crazy Heart,”’ a tie between Meryl Streep (for “Julie & Julia”) and Sandra Bullock (”The Blind Side”), Mo’Nique (”Precious”), and Christoph Waltz (”Inglourious Basterds”).
What we really learned: “Avatar” is a stunning technical achievement. But because it has a terrible screenplay and no acting, the Cameron spectacle is destined only for technical awards. Even if the Hollywood Foreign Press succumbs to those charms on Sunday night, “Avatar” will not be a player for best picture at the Oscars.
Streep, who has not won an Oscar in 27 years, told me after she came off stage last night: “I am really surprised. And I’m happy! I am so happy!”
Bullock was too, and really was funny as she accepted. She may not win anything else this season, but she’s definitely a popular choice and a class act.
After the show, Waltz — an Austrian actor working in Germany and the U.K. who was plucked from obscurity by Quentin Tarantino — was aglow. He’s also still a little disbelieving that all this is happening. “It’s amazing,” he said several times.
One pleasant moment from the Critics’ Choice: Mo’Nique, who made a lovely and funny speech, and was dressed beautifully. After having an itchy-scratchy relationship with press and publicity over “Precious,” the BET talk show host now looks to be on track for her many upcoming accolades. Her husband told her to “leave it on the floor,” an expression which may become the key phrase of 2010.
Meanwhile, absent from the proceedings last night: George Clooney. Perhaps sensing that Bridges was going to win, Clooney spent the day working on his Haiti telethon — which this column announced exclusively on Thursday morning. Clooney spent Friday night meeting with Wyclef Jean, who flew directly from the’Dominican Republic to Los Angeles after leaving Haiti Friday morning.
“George is exhausted. He’s been on the phone with everyone from Sylvester Stallone to Brad Pitt,” a friend told me. “Mostly he had to see Wyclef to be part of the show. He doesn’t want this to be just white Hollywood for Haiti. He wants everyone.”
Knowing Clooney, he’ll get them, too.