A tough movie about the adrenaline rush of war, seen through the experiences of a bomb-disposal unit in Baghdad, took the top prize at the 82nd Academy Awards on Sunday night.
"The Hurt Locker," a gritty portrayal of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, won six Oscars -- including Best Picture and Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman ever to receive the statuette for directing a film.
"There's no other way to describe it: It's the moment of a lifetime," Bigelow said on her first trip to the Kodak Theatre stage.
Bigelow praised screenwriter Mark Boal, who was embedded with troops in Iraq as research for his script, which won the Original Screenplay Oscar. Boal, she said, "risked his life for the words on the page."
Bigelow dedicated her directing and Best Picture Oscars to "the women and men who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world, and may they come home safe."
"The Hurt Locker" took six Oscars, including awards for film editing, sound editing and sound mixing.
The Oscars for leading roles went to veteran performers getting long-awaited recognition.
Jeff Bridges took Best Actor for his portrayal of an alcoholic country singer in "Crazy Heart." He whooped and hollered on the Kodak stage, thanking his actor parents "for turning me onto such a groovy profession" and recalling his father, Lloyd Bridges, "sitting me on his bed and teaching me the basics of acting for a role on 'Sea Hunt.' "
Sandra Bullock won Best Actress for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy, a real-life mom who took an illiterate black teen into her home, in the football drama "The Blind Side."
Bullock began her acceptance speech with a self-deprecating joke: "Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down?" She then praised her fellow nominees, and thanked "the moms who take care of the babies and children, no matter where they come from."
Supporting-acting honors went to stand-up comic Mo'Nique for her angry portrayal of an abusive mom in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival hit "Precious," and German actor Christoph Waltz for playing a nasty Nazi in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds."
"Avatar," James Cameron's multi-million-dollar science-fiction blockbuster, won three Oscars -- for cinematography, art direction and visual effects.
"Precious" won two Oscars, for Mo'Nique and a surprise win for Geoffrey Fletcher's screenplay adaptation of Sapphire's novel. Pixar's airborne adventure "Up" won two, for animated film and for Michael Giacchino's score. "Crazy Heart," besides winning for Bridges, received a second Oscar for its song "The Weary Kind."
Another 2009 Sundance hit, "The Cove," won for documentary feature. The movie spotlighted a secret dolphin slaughter in a coastal Japanese town.
The win for "The Cove" also spotlighted the problems with the Oscar ceremony, which was studiously devoid of genuine excitement. When activist Ric O'Barry, who was featured in "The Cove," held up a banner -- urging viewers to send a text message in support of protecting dolphins -- the cameras quickly cut away to the audience.
The ceremony also displayed a lack of class. A tribute to horror movies featured clips for films, such as "Friday the 13th," that were rightly ignored by Oscar the first time. Then there the condescending choice of music for Bigelow's exit from the stage: Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman."
Here are the winners in Sunday's Academy Awards:
Best Picture: "The Hurt Locker"
Actor: Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
Actress: Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"
Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Director: Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
Screenplay (Original): Mark Boal, "The Hurt Locker"
Screenplay (Adapted): Geoffrey Fletcher, "Precious"
Costume Design: "The Young Victoria"
Film Editing: "The Hurt Locker"
Makeup: "Star Trek"
Original Score: "Up"
Original Song: "The Weary Kind (Theme from 'Crazy Heart')," "Crazy Heart"
Sound Editing: "The Hurt Locker"
Sound Mixing: "The Hurt Locker"
Visual Effects: "Avatar"
Animated Feature: "Up"
Foreign-Language Film: "El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes)," Argentina
Documentary Feature: "The Cove"
Documentary Short Film: "Music By Prudence"
Animated Short Film: "Logorama"
Live-Action Short Film: "The New Tenants"