The Academy Awards went according to expectations tonight, as the Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker'' was named best picture and Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock took home the top acting awards.
"The Hurt Locker'' won a total of six Oscars during the 82nd annual ceremony, out-dueling the 3-D fantasy "Avatar'' to win the top prize. The dramatic portrayal of an elite bomb-disposal unit in Iraq also earned a best director prize for Kathryn Bigelow, making her the first woman to win that honor.
"This really is -- there's no other way to describe it. It's the moment of a lifetime,'' Bigelow said.
The film also won Oscars for producer/writer Mark Boal for best original screenplay, along with prizes for sound editing, sound mixing and film editing.
Bridges won the best actor prize for his role as hard-drinking country singer Bad Blake in "Crazy Heart.'' He dedicated the Oscar to his parents, Lloyd and Dorothy Bridges, whom he thanked for "turning him on to such a groovy profession.''
"Oh my dad and my mom, they loved show biz so much,'' he said. "I remember my mom getting all of us kids to entertain at her parties. You know, my dad sitting me on his bed and (teaching) me all of the basics of acting for a role in `Sea Hunt.' They loved show biz so much and I feel an extension of them. This is honoring them as much as it is me.''
He also thanked his wife of 33 years, Susan, and their three children.
"I wouldn't be up here without you,'' he said.
Bridges had been nominated for Oscars four times before -- for a leading role in "Starman'' and supporting parts in "The Last Picture Show,' "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot'' and "The Contender.''
Bullock completed her transformation from romantic-comedy queen to dramatic actress with her Oscar win for best actress for her turn as a Southern housewife who mentors a young black football player in "The Blind Side.''
"Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down?'' Bullock joked as she accepted the award. "I would like the Academy for allowing me in the last month to have the most incredible ride with rooms full of artists that
I see tonight and that I've worked with before and I hope to work with in the future who inspire me and blaze trails for us.''
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz and standup comedian-turned-dramatic actress Mo'Nique continued their winning ways by claiming the Oscars for their respective supporting roles in "Inglourious Basterds'' and "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' by Sapphire.''
Bridges, Bullock, Waltz and Mo'Nique had already won Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards.
Waltz, who portrayed a Jew-hunting Nazi in writer/director Quentin Tarantino's World War II adventure, gave Tarantino full credit for the award.
"Quentin, with his unorthodox methods of navigation, this fearless explorer, took this ship across and brought it in with flying colors. and that's why I am here,'' Waltz said while accepting his first career Academy
Award at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. "This is your welcoming embrace and there is no way I can ever thank you enough. But I can start right now. Thank you.''
Mo'Nique won her Oscar for her role as an abusive mother in "Precious.''
``First I would like to thank the Academy for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics,'' Mo'Nique said.
"I want to thank miss Hattie McDaniel for enduring all that she had to so that I would not have to,'' she added, referencing the first black performer to win an Academy Award, for "Gone with the Wind.''
"To my amazing husband Sidney, thank you for showing me that sometimes you have to forego doing what's popular in order to do what's right,'' Mo'Nique said. "And baby, you were so right.''
The Disney/Pixar film "Up'' was named best animated feature. Director Peter Docter thanked the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for recognizing "this oddball film.'' He also thanked his family for inspiring him.
"It was an incredible, incredible adventure making this movie,'' Docter said. "But the heart of it came from home.''
"Up'' was also nominated for best picture.
The Kodak Theatre ceremony featured 10 nominees for best picture for the first time since 1943, when "Casablanca'' won the Oscar.
"Avatar'' and "The Hurt Locker'' both had nine nominations going into the ceremony, making them obvious front-runners. But while "Avatar'' has been dominant at the box office, "The Hurt Locker'' was an awards-season favorite, earning the top prize from the Producers Guild of America and a best director award for Kathryn Bigelow from the Directors Guild of America. Both the PGA and DGA awards have traditionally been precursors to Oscar glory.
Tarantino's World War II yarn "Inglourious Basterds'' had eight nominations, while the gritty teen drama "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' by Sapphire'' and the high-flying recessionary romance "Up in the Air'' each had six.
Other films up for best picture were "The Blind Side,'' "District 9,'' "An Education,'' "A Serious Man'' and "Up.''
"Avatar'' won Oscars for best visual effects, art direction and cinematography.
"Hurt Locker'' writer Mark Boal dedicated his original-screenplay Oscar to his father, and to the men and women of the military.
"I was a reporter back from Iraq with the idea for a story about these men on the front lines of an unpopular war,'' said Boal, whose father died one month ago. "I thought it might make a movie. The result wildly exceeded my expectations. And that is thanks to so many people. ... Most of all to one extraordinary individual and visionary filmmaker, Kathryn Bigelow. This belongs to you.
"I would also like to thank and dedicate this to the troops -- the 115,000 who are still in Iraq, the 120,00 in Afghanistan and the more than 30,000 wounded and 4,000 who have not made it home,'' he said.
Geoffrey Fletcher won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for "Precious."
"I don't know what to say,'' Fletcher said. "This is for everybody who works on the dream every day, Precious boys and girls everywhere.''
Fletcher also thanked his mother, whom he called the 'angel of my world,'' and his father, "who spent so much time with us and taught us everything.''
Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett won the Oscar for best original song for "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart).''