Left-leaning opinion-makers and some Facebook activists are fuming about ‘The Hurt Locker’ winning six Academy Awards. How could the Academy award a pro-America, US Army-sympathizing film?
For many of us in many parts of the world, anti-Americanism or anti-American rhetoric has become a badge of our identity. Often we disregrad the fact that a very compelling human story can be set in a bomb-diffusing squad of the US Army.
The Academy hasn’t been known to be unbiased. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ getting that many awards proved its blatant lapse of judgement—or the power of lobbyists in the Academy. I can’t be sure why one film seems to sweep all the awards every year. Even ‘Hurt Locker’ which is a gritty, flawlessly- executed, brilliantly-performed film doesn’t deserve all six awards. But Kathryn Bigelow certainly deserves the director’s prize. Of late, the Academy has been awarding small films set against a bigger, political canvas—not necessarily the best or the most powerful human drama. There’s no reason but this for ‘Revolutionary Road’ not getting Best Film the same year that ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ got it.
But ‘Hurt Locker’ is a great film. Like many war f ilms, it does focus on one side of the story. But to consider it a propaganda film is to entirely disregard the maker’s competence, vision and hard work. It didn’t have big names, but had skillful film technicians and a very skillful film-maker at work. Let’s just be happy that the Academy has recognized that.
‘Avatar’ certainly didn’t deserve it. It is not a director’s film—it belongs to a technical whiz with a powerful visual imagination. It has all the correct messages, which doesn’t make it the best film of the year.