Disclaimer: Although The Hurt Locker was not in my top ten, it does not mean that I do not think it was a fine film, and if it were to receive the Best Picture win, I would be thrilled for its entire crew especially the wonderful Kathryn Bigelow. Okay, now that I have that out of the way, let me dive into the meaning of the title of this post. If the Academy were to reward the Best Picture prize to the best film of the year, then many would say that The Hurt Locker would take the prize. Of course, I find it interesting when people say that one movie is the best, pure and simple. What is considered the best is subjective, which is why every year there are those bloggers and fans and such that love the Best Picture choice and some that loath the Best Picture choice. That being said, isn't there an argument to be made that the Best Picture Oscar is more than just critical reviews. To me the top awards should be considered on a variety of different factors.
1) Quality of Movie: This is probably the most obvious, but simply put is has to be a good movie, it has to have good reviews, and be generally well-received. For the five frontrunners this year, Avatar, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, Up in the Air, and of course, The Hurt Locker, this factor is completely mute. All of them were well received by critics and have the industry behind them.
2) Box Office: No one wants to here that this is a factor, but let's face it, it could be the potential derailer of The Hurt Locker's improbable ride to the Oscars. Now let's be frank, just because a movie is big doesn't mean that it is go, ala Transformers 2. However, it doesn't hurt that people saw your movie and liked it, and by people I mean outside of Academy members. To me The Hurt Locker is a critic's darling that has been completely missed by the general public.
3) Momentum: There were some great movies that came out earlier this year that are slowly being forgotten, even films like Precious who might have seen its peak way to early in this race. For Avatar and The Hurt Locker, momentum is what is making this a two-horse race. Both of them have been splitting the big awards and therefore have now left other contenders in the wind.
So I'm sure you are asking what these factors and this article has to do with it's title. The Academy Awards purposefully expanded this Best Picture race to ten in order to include big movies that are great, but normally ignored. Alas, Avatar, District 9, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, and others are in the running for one of those ten spots. So how would it look if they purposefully created ten slots for monetary purposes then rewarded The Hurt Locker, the box office dud with Best Picture? As I've said before it is unfortunate that these types of factors even come into play, but it is worth considering. If The Hurt Locker wins BP over its more popular rival, namely Avatar, many people who purposefully tuned in to finally see a movie they liked be a contender may see themselves skipping the Oscars in future years. So the question remains, Is The Hurt Locker going to hurt the Oscars? One Word: Ratings.