'The Hurt Locker' trounces 'Avatar' at the Oscars, Bigelow creates history

The $16 million 'The Hurt Locker' that tells a story about the travails of a US bomb disposal squad trounced James Cameron's 'Avatar' to win six trophies out of the total nine categories in which it was nominated for the Oscars. 'Avatar' won the rest

'The Hurt Locker', a gritty Iraq war drama, swept the Oscars this year by winning six trophies with Kathryn Bigelow creating history by becoming the first woman director to win an Academy Award, reports PTI.

The $16-million film about the travails of a US bomb disposal squad trounced James Cameron's 'Avatar' to win the Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing trophies. It was nominated in nine categories along with the sci-fi blockbuster.

'Avatar', which was in a neck-and-neck race with 'The Hurt Locker', won three golden statuettes —for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Visual Effects.

"It is a moment of (a) lifetime. I am so honoured to be sitting in this extraordinary company of powerful filmmakers, who have inspired me. I would not be standing here but for Boal (writer) and the extraordinary cast and the technicians. I would like to dedicate this award to the women and men in the military and pray that they come home safe," said the 58-year-old Ms Bigelow.

Only three women have ever been nominated in the Best Director category in the 80-year-old history of the Academy.

The 82nd Academy Awards, which was held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, had no surprises in the acting categories with favourites Jeff Bridges (‘Crazy Heart’) and Sandra Bullock (‘The Blind Side’) winning the trophies for the Best Actor and Best Actress respectively.

Unlike last year, when Mumbai-based potboiler 'Slumdog Millionaire' walked away with eight Oscars, including trophies for AR Rahman and Resul Pukutty, it was a blank for India this time.

'Kavi', a short Hindi film about modern day slavery in India, lost out to Danish film 'The New Tenants' in the Short Film (Live Action) category.

Mr Bridges, 60, who won his first Oscar for his portrayal of alcoholic country singer Bad Blake in 'Crazy Heart', beat off competition from Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney (‘Up In The Air’), Morgan Freeman (‘Invictus’), Jeremy Renner 'The Hurt Locker' and Colin Firth (‘A Single Man’).

"I would like to thank my mom and dad for this. I remember my mom taking me to the showbiz parties and dad giving me acting lessons. I am an extension of them and this award is an honour to them," said Mr Bridges, who then went on to thank his director, cast and the crew as well as his wife of 33 years.

Ms Bullock, also a first timer, took home the trophy for the Best Actress for her role as Leigh Anne Touhy in 'The Blind Side', a film about a feisty Southern homemaker, who changes the life of a troubled African-American teenager.

The 45-year-old actress beat off competition from veteran actresses like Meryl Streep (‘Julie & Julia’), Dame Helen Mirren (‘The Last Station’) and newcomers Carey Mulligan (‘An Education’) and Gabourey Sidibe (‘Precious’).

"Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down? I would like to thank the Academy for allowing me in the last month to have the most incredible ride with rooms full of artists," said Ms Bullock, dedicating her award to 'moms across the world'.

Actress Mo'Nique, who plays an abusive mother in 'Precious', gave an emotional speech after winning the Best Supporting Actress trophy.

"I thank the Academy for proving that it can be about performance and not the politics," said Ms Mo'Nique.

The award for Best Supporting Actor went to Austrian Christoph Waltz for his role as a Jew-slaying Nazi in Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds'.

'Crazy Heart' also won in the Best Original Song category for 'The Weary King’ (Theme from ‘Crazy Heart’).

Disney-Pixar's film 'Up', which was also nominated for the best picture, won the Oscar for the Best Animation Film. It received a second award in the Best Original Score category.

'Precious' won its second award for the Best Adapted Screenplay, which went to Geoffrey Fletcher for his adaptation of novel 'Push' by Sapphire.

The award for Best Short Film (Animated) went to 'Logorama' by Nicolas Schmerkin while 'Music by Prudence' by Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett won in the Best Documentary (Short Subject) category.

The Best Costume Design award went to opulent period drama 'The Young Victoria' while the trophy for Best Make-Up went to the futuristic franchise 'Star Trek'.

The award for the Best Documentary (Feature) went to 'The Cove', which depicts the illegal slaughter of dolphins in Japan.

Argentinian film 'El Secreto de Sus Ojos' (The Secret In Their Eyes) won the award for the Best Foreign Film.

The Governor's awards were received by Hollywood veterans, producer-executive John Kalley, actress Lauren Bacall, producer-director Roger Corman and cinematographer Gordon Willis.

The Academy also paid a tribute to 'Home Alone' director John Hughes, Patrick Swayze, 'King of Pop' Michael Jackson, actress Brittany Murphy and Jean Simmons, who passed away recently.


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Auto sales in February surpass previous record

According to a SIAM report, total sales of vehicles across categories increased 35% to 11.3 lakh units in February against 8.4 lakh units in the same month last year

The Indian auto industry on Monday said its February sales have been the highest ever for a month breaking the earlier record, which was set only in January this year, as consumers rushed to beat a possible hike in prices following the Budget, reports PTI.

"The highest-ever sales by the auto industry were achieved mainly because people anticipated an excise duty hike in the Budget. Also it was pushed (up a) little by pent-up demand," SIAM director general Dilip Chenoy told reporters in New Delhi.

During the month, all the major manufacturers, including Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor and General Motors reported their individual best sales ever. Domestic passenger car sales jumped by 33.2% to 1.53 lakh units in February. According to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Monday, motorcycle sales in the country during the month were also up 30.7% to 6.42 lakh units from 4.91 lakh units in the corresponding month last year.

Total two-wheeler sales in February grew by 32.8% to 8.4 lakh units from 6.3 lakh units in January 2009.

Sales of commercial vehicles jumped by 87.1% to 58,024 units from 31,011 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said.

Total sales of vehicles across categories increased 35% to 11.3 lakh units in February against 8.4 lakh units in the same month last year, it added.

The industry is expected to continue the robust uphill drive in the current month also as customers would try to avoid another obvious price hike in April on account of shifting to stricter emission norms, Mr Chenoy added.

Passenger cars and commercial vehicles will switch over to Bharat Stage IV emission norms in 13 cities, while the rest of the country will become Bharat Stage III compliant from April.

Mr Chenoy, however, cautioned that growth could receive a jolt if interest rates were hiked in the coming months.

"Recently, private banks have hiked rates, but in the last one year, the financing of vehicles has heavily skewed towards the public sector banks. If interest rate hikes are significant, it can be detrimental to the industry," he added.

In the motorcycle segment, sales rose 30.72% to 6.42 lakh units in February from 4.9 lakh units in the same month in 2009, SIAM said.

"The anticipation of a hike in excise duty helped the motorcycle segment to post highest monthly sales of this fiscal," Mr Chenoy said.

The Budget hiked excise duty on all non-petroleum sectors to 10% from 8%, besides raising duty on big cars, sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and multi-utility vehicles (MUVs) to 22% from 20%.

Carrying forward the upward march that began in July 2009, sales of commercial vehicles soared by 87.1% to 58,024 units against 31,011 units in the same month in 2009.

In the domestic passenger car segment, sales of market leader Maruti Suzuki increased by 18.2% to 73,812 units in February from 62,449 units in the year-ago period.

The country's second largest carmaker Hyundai Motor India also registered 46.1% growth at 31,000 units compared with 21,212 units in February 2009, SIAM said.

Tata Motors' sales rose to 22,980 units from 15,524 units in February 2009, up 48%.

In the motorcycle segment, market leader Hero Honda's sales rose 13.9% to 3.5 lakh units in February 2010 compared to 3.1 lakh units in the year-ago month.

For rival Bajaj Auto, sales soared by 94.2% to 1.8 lakh units in February against 90,473 units last year in the same month. Chennai-based TVS Motor Company posted 34.7% growth at 46,047 units from 34,183 units in the same month a year ago. Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) saw bike sales rise 23.9% to 45,326 units from 36,593 units.

SIAM said total two-wheeler sales in February 2010 surged 32.78% to 8.4 lakh units from 6.3 lakh units in the corresponding month in 2009.

In the scooter segment, sales jumped 44.7% to 1.5 lakh units against 1.0 lakh units in the year-ago period, it added.

HMSI's scooter sales were up 20% at 69,828 units against 58,209 units in the same month in the previous year.

SIAM said TVS Motor's scooter sales also increased by 37% at 25,979 units compared with 18,841 units in the same month in 2009. Hero Honda's scooter sales were up 46.5% at 22,641 units against 15,452 units in the year-ago period.
Three-wheeler sales during February were up 31.9% at 39,558 units compared with 30,002 units, it added. Light commercial vehicle sales rose 65.7% to 29,925 units from 18,058 units.

Medium and heavy commercial vehicle sales surged over two-fold to 28,099 units compared with 12,953 units in the same in the month previous year, SIAM said.



Shadi Katyal

7 years ago

This a very good economic news and I am sure most of it in metro areas but question is about roads capacity to take all this load.
Chines buy cars too but they still use public transport and will anyone follow that.

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