Double blow for SA films at Oscars

SOUTH Africans woke up to another disappointment yesterday.

SOUTH Africans woke up to another disappointment yesterday.

The Oscar statuette movie lovers expected Morgan Freeman to walk away with, eluded him again, as his role in Invictus was not recognised. Freeman had been nominated for the Best Actor Award.

The veteran actor has been roundly praised for his portrayal of freedom icon Nelson Mandela, yet Freeman missed out on an Oscar on Sunday in Los Angeles.

SA movie lovers had crossed their fingers, hoping that Freeman would bring them joy. This was after he raised their hopes last week by winning the Best Actor Award in Invictus at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Awards.

Part of the movie was filmed in SA. The movie is based on the Springbok's triumph in the 1995 Rugby World Cup - a year after Mandela was elected president.

It was a double blow for SA movie lovers because another movie, District 9, which was also in the running for an Oscar for Best Picture was eluded by the oscar statuette.

Meanwhile, women ruled Hollywood finally when a female director was entrusted with an Oscar.

Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman in the 82-year history of the Academy Awards to take the prize as her gritty Iraq War movie The Hurt Locker outshone Avatar after a nail-biting campaign season.

The Hurt Locker also took home the top prize, best picture, and four awards in other categories. Avatar, the 3D smash directed by Bigelow's ex-husband, James Cameron, ended up with three awards, all in technical categories.

Jeff Bridges won for his lead role as a drunken country singer, who gets a shot at redemption in Crazy Heart. Sandra Bullock got the gold for playing a suburban mom, who guides a homeless black teen to football stardom in The Blind Side.

In the supporting field, the prizes went to Austrian actor Christoph Waltz for the Nazi revenge fantasy Inglourious Basterds, and stand-up comic Mo'Nique for the dark urban drama Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire.

In voting for The Hurt Locker, Hollywood insiders clearly showed a preference for a relatively obscure movie that suffered a similar commercial fate as other films revolving around the Iraq War.

With North American ticket sales of about $15 million (R110million) - about half of what Avatar earned in its first day - The Hurt Locker is one of the least-commercial best-picture Oscar winners ever. - Reuters and Staff Reporter