I have written extensively about "The Hurt Locker," which I consider the best American movie of the decade. Today, Hollywood gave the film some major recognition, with nine Oscar nominations. "Avatar," which I have also posted about on this blog, had the same nomination count. The fact that the two films tied is stunning, considering Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq war film has made about $580 million less at the U.S. box office than ex-husband James Cameron's special effects extravaganza.
I generally have little interest in celebrities or watching them honor themselves. But I am admittedly very pleased that Jeremy Renner, who played Staff Sgt. Will James in "The Hurt Locker," received a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Renner visited the CNN.com newsroom in June 2009 to discuss the little-known film with CNN.com Live anchor Naamua Delaney, who left CNN shortly before I did. If you watch the interview, which is embedded below, you will see how deeply affected Renner was by this role. It is also obvious, particularly as he discusses one powerful scene, how much he respects the men and women of the Armed Forces, as well as the Iraqi people.
My favorite scene in "The Hurt Locker" does not involve IEDs or gun battles with insurgents. It is a transition masterfully portrayed by Bigelow, showing Renner's character going from the unforgiving streets of Iraq to the boring aisle of a grocery store at home. That moment taught me a lot about how hard coming home must be for many veterans, and helped me understand why some are having such difficulties adjusting to the homefront. To me, the film has no agenda except helping Americans appreciate that our troops, while not superhuman or perfect, do extraordinary things.
If you haven't seen "The Hurt Locker" on the big screen, you will probably get another chance now that it is a frontrunner at the Academy Awards. Regardless of how many nominations it got, the film is well worth your time and money.