Hurt Locker v Avatar: The decider
Hurt Locker versus Avatar is the story of this year's film awards season and it's playing out like the final stages of UEFA's Champions League. Avatar won 2-0 at the Golden Globes. Now Hurt Locker has responded with a 6-2 thrashing at the Baftas, leaving things nicely poised for the big decider: the final on 7 March at the Oscars.
The fact that Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron are ex-husband and ex-wife adds a bit of spice to the competition, as does the perception that Avatar is a big, expensive "commercial" movie, while Hurt Locker is taken to be a low-cost work of heart. Will the Academy really vote against the 3D spectacular, which many see as the future of cinema? And is it simply a case of one or the other for Best Picture? A Serious Man, anyone?
The general feeling among the cognoscenti I spoke last night was that Hurt Locker won more for its subject matter than for the quality of the movie. And while there were plenty of good tidings for the British clean sweep of best actor for Colin Firth (A Single Man) and best actress Carey Mulligan (An Education), there was a general feeling that home advantage might have come into play.
So we move on to the Oscars, looking into the sediment at the bottom of last night's wine glass for Bafta signs of would-be Academy winners. In the past, the Baftas have only been a partially-reliable indicator of Oscar success. Can Mulligan and Firth complete the double away from home? And will best supporting actress Mo'Nique (Precious) and best supporting actor Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) score a hat-trick after succeeding at the Golden Globes and now the Baftas?
The one I will be watching out for is Kathryn Bigelow. Last night, she became the first woman ever to win the best director Bafta. And she would also be the first to win the best director Oscar. Now that would be quite a double.