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Gold Derby nuggets: 'The Hurt Locker' accuracy questioned | Sandra Bullock vs. Meryl Streep

February 24, 2010 |  5:45 pm

The Hurt Locker Oscars • After acknowledging he is not a film critic, Paul Rieckhoff, executive director and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), writes in a guest column for Newsweek: "As a voice of the new veterans' movement, and of thousands of IAVA members across the country, I have a responsibility to serve as pop-culture watchdog, and to help the American public understand what accurately depicts the military's experience in Iraq and what doesn't. Especially because with less than 1 percent of American citizens now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, films are one of the few ways to connect the other 99 percent of Americans to the reality of modern combat." He then says, "'The Hurt Locker' tries to articulate that experience, but those of us who have served in the military couldn't help but be distracted by a litany of inaccuracies that reveal not only a lack of research, but ultimately respect for the American military" and catalogs these errors. Rieckhoff concludes, "Americans want to think they know what the ground truth is in Iraq, but until Hollywood and the media give them the right information, our experience will continue to be lost in translation. So someone, do us a favor and tell our story properly. Or maybe Hollywood will help one of us tell it ourselves." NEWSWEEK

Christopher Torchia talks to the members of a bomb disposal squad in Afghanistan and discovers "finding and destroying IEDs is, of course, slower and more nuanced than the high-octane version portrayed in the movie thriller directed by Kathryn Bigelow, which could make a run for the Oscars." While the soldiers like "The Hurt Locker" well enough as a movie, they questioned its accuracy. Platoon leader Sgt. 1st Class Natividad Ruiz said, "We don't dress up in that big old suit," referring to the heavy bomb gear worn in the movie. Staff. Sgt. Joshua Rickerts "said his job was about teamwork, and that the movie's portrayal of 'an EOD guy gone rogue' was inaccurate, though he acknowledged its entertainment value." And Senior Airman Kyle Brown said, "Some of the things he does in the movie -- quite out there. I wouldn't say we were that undisciplined. It makes us look like rebels in the military." AP

Pete Hammond surveys the Oscars race and observes, "Most see this as 'The Hurt Locker' versus 'Avatar,' or David versus Goliath as it has been called so many times. Now in the final stretch, with awards galore and the wind behind its back, 'The Hurt Locker,' it seems, has turned into Goliath and 'Avatar' is becoming David. Weird. The real question is, what 'message' do academy voters want to send? Do they want to embrace the future, the global popularity and the success of 'Avatar'? Or the independent spirit and pure visceral film experience of 'Hurt Locker'? Or will those 'Basterds' creep in?" NOTES ON A SEASON

Sandra Bullock Meryl Streep OscarsAnne Thompson writes, "At this stage of the Oscar race, Jeff Bridges ('Crazy Heart') has taken the momentum away from  former front-runner George Clooney ('Up in the Air') for Best Actor, but some in Hollywood sense growing support for newcomer Jeremy Renner ('The Hurt Locker'). Meanwhile, rookie Oscar nominee Sandra Bullock ('The Blind Side') and 16-time nominee, two-time winner Meryl Streep are in a tight race for Best Actress. In this dueling blog, Moviefone Oscarologist Jack Mathews and I consider the odds of a Renner upset and another Streep defeat." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

Scott Feinberg crunches the numbers for the 81 best actress races to date at the Oscars and discovers that the statistics favor a win by Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side"). Among the factoids Scott uncovers: "Since the first SAG Awards in 1994, only 4 women have won the Golden Globe for best actress (either drama or comedy/musical) but not the SAG Award for best actress and still gone on to win the best actress Oscar. This bodes well for Bullock, but not for Streep." AND THE WINNER IS

•The academy is celebrating the Oscars with a week-long series of screenings and symposia at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. It is not surprising that the screenings of the nominated shorts -- at a bargain $5 for the public and just $3 for members -- are selling out while the free sessions on foreign film and makeup and hair are fully booked. AMPAS

Melena Ryzik has fun with the following news: "In a move that absolutely no one saw coming whatsoever, 'Avatar' swept the International 3D Society’s inaugural awards. It got both the month-old group’s top prize and a People’s Choice award for best live-action film over worthy competitors like 'G-Force' and 'Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.' Somewhere, Nick Jonas is crying. Giovanni Ribisi, who played a baddie but not the baddest of the bunch in 'Avatar,' accepted the awards on its behalf. 'Up' won best 3-D animated film. Nope, not predictable at all." THE CARPETBAGGER

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Top photo: Scene from "The Hurt Locker." Credit: Summit

Bottom photos: Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side" (Warners) and Meryl Streep in "Julie & Julia" (Columbia).

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Comments

I wonder what you have to say - or say your name is - for this moderated blog to mod you. Looks like the rules are pretty loose.

I have to say that THL's somewhat implausible plot points - a guy like that being unpunished for his cowboy tactics, that bizarre dueling sniper sequence - belong more to the "action movie" genre than the "war film" genre. Hurt Locker makes more sense as a kind of high-end (don't)-blow-'em-up movie than a sort of "Saving Private Ryan" (which itself was pretty implausible and only loosely connected to reality outside of the legendary opening sequence.) I found it rather disappointing as I was expecting to experience the kind of war-junkie rush I get from voyeuristic observation of recreated reality; instead I got a very well-made, and handsome, action movie.

I am probably playing into Harvey's meatlike hands by saying this, but I feel Basterds might be the movie of the year.

Meryl has a Best Actress win (1982) and a Supporting Actress win (1979)...so it's high time to award Ms. Streep with another Best Actress win...also very deserving at that! And please note to those Sandra Buttocks...oops Bullock supporters Meryl has done comedy as well and nails it always...I guess we forgot about IT'S COMPLICATED. So Ms. Streep always does excellent work but winds up empty-handed for her most deserving performances. Meryl all the way...but if the academy wants to shut up the Meryl and Sandra supporters then a Gabbie or Carey win is the solution.

Michael, I would be happy to give the Oscar to Sandra if she gave the best performance of the year. But I have three reasons not to give her the Oscar: 1)Meryl Streep 2)Carey Mulligan 3)Gabourey Sidibe

Go Sandy!! Go Jeff!!

I'm pulling for Meryl, but a Gabbey or Carey win is fine by me...wouldn't an upset like this be just grand???

Lord eatmypoosandra needs to wake up. I suppose Meryl should be given an Oscar everytime she is nominated simply because she does fine work. Why nominate anyone against her? And excuse me but Sandra botox? The woman comes from good jeans. She is no botox, cosmetic surgery nightmare.
What a sad jab. Sandra Bullock has chosen to do comedic roles and nails them. Her dramatic turns in "The Blindside" and "Crash" have been Oscar worthy. Streep is great, but "Julie&Julia" is not her finest work. She was only in half the movie. Pity she only has two Oscars to her name. We all know she will win for a finer performance in the future, she is only 61. Katherine Hepburn was 74 when she won her third Oscar. Sandra carried ALL of "The Blindside." I hope she wins Oscar this year. TEAM SANDRA!

On that last item: Yeah. As unpredictable as, say, the International Talkies Society organizing in 1928, then giving awards to "The Jazz Singer" and "Steamboat Willie". (Oswald the Lucky Rabbit sulked over that last one right up till the Al Michaels trade.) :D

I don't think that Meryl herself would be pleased with the earlier post.

Anyway, I love Sandra but I adore Meryl. I feel the oscar committee keeps nominating her to maintain the prestige of the award. All the best Meryl!

It's a silly thing to debate the "authenticity" of a movie, unless it is a documentary.

"The Hurt Locker" justly receives criticism for several details and just how close it is to the genuine experience our troops can and should be questioned. But the same is true of all such movies, whether it be "Saving Private Ryan" or this year's feel-good pic, "The Blind Side." "The Blind Side" varnished all its characters, making what was a very good, thought-provoking read into morally-good-for-you pablum. And that movie is based on a non-fiction book, whereas THL is known to be fictional.

We the viewers can (usually) understand that movies can only serve as incomplete visions of the truth. "Suspension of disbelief", anyone?

----

And on a side note, pulling for Streep to be awarded an Oscar after 26 years of waiting. Her wait is becoming Susan Lucci-esque.

seriously, this sandra botox cant act.
how could she even be nominated in the same category that meryl, the ONLY acting LEGEND did?
this is such a disrespect to la belle Streep.

TEAM MERYL!


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