The Hurt Locker was obviously the weekend’s big critics-group winner with three Best Picture wins from the Los Angeles Film Critics Associaton, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the Alliance of Women Journalists. But the relationship between The Hurt Locker and female moviegoers is the source of three regrettable ironies.
The AWJ win is ironic given that the main reason for Kathryn Bigelow‘s Iraq War film having only made $12 million is the fact that most women have refused to see it (or, as I’ve detected in recent Manhattan conversations, have claimed not to have even heard of it).
If Bigelow wins the Best Director Oscar it will be doubly ironic that a film by a female pioneer has been largely shunned by her own gender. No film outside of The Cove has gotten the shaft from female moviegoers like The Hurt Locker.
The third irony is that due to Hurt‘s underwhelming box-office Academy voters may be reluctant to vote it Best Picture. It’s a staple of industry thinking, of course, that a film deserving of being chosen Best Picture perhaps shouldn’t be chosen if it hasn’t made a decent amount of dough. So women moviegoers, in effect, will be the ones responsible for The Hurt Locker not winning the top prize, if and when. Proud of yourselves, guys?
Last night I asked a brilliant female friend and writer if she’s seen The Hurt Locker, and she immediately looked at the floor and said, “No, no…I have trepidations.” But it’s really not that violent, I replied. It’s mainly about tension and uncertainty — an existential razor’s edge thing. She was unmoved, and this is a woman who’s seen and loved The Cove!