Kathryn Bigelow today celebrated winning a place in Oscars history after becoming the first woman to be named best director while her Iraq war drama 'The Hurt Locker' landed best film.
Her ex-husband James Cameron’s big budget blockbuster 'Avatar' had to make do with just three awards compared to six for Bigelow’s film.
Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock were recipients of the best acting gongs, leaving British hopes Carey Mulligan, Helen Mirren and Colin Firth empty-handed.
Bigelow, 58, described winning best director as “the moment of a lifetime” and was shaking with emotion by the time she took best picture at the Los Angeles ceremony.
She said: “I would like to dedicate this to the people who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan – may they come home safe.”
She paid tribute to screenwriter Mark Boal, “who risked his life for the words on the page” and who won best original screenplay for the film.
Bullock, who a day earlier had received a “razzie” for worst female performance for 'All About Steve', praised her fellow shortlisted actresses after landing the best actress title for her role in 'The Blind Side'.
Turning to 24-year-old 'An Education' actress Mulligan, she said: “Carey, your grace and your elegance and your beauty and your talent makes me sick.”
Of Mirren, who was in the running for 'The Last Station', she said: “Helen, I feel like we are family, I don’t have the words to express just what I think of you.”
Addressing Oscar veteran Meryl Streep, Bullock joked: “You know what I think of you and you are such a good kisser.”
An elated Bridges honoured his parents after winning best actor for 'Crazy Heart', saying: “Mum and Dad, yeah look – woo-hoo! Thank you Mum and Dad for turning me on to such a groovy profession.
“I can remember my mum getting all of us kids to entertain at parties. I can remember my dad (the actor Lloyd Bridges) sitting me on his bed and teaching me all of the basics of acting. This is honouring them as much as it is me.”
'Avatar', the biggest-grossing film in history, won prizes in the technical categories for visual effects, cinematography and art direction.
Both 'Avatar' and 'The Hurt Locker' had gone into the 82nd Academy Awards with nine nominations each.
Hard-hitting movie 'Precious' did well, taking best supporting actress for Mo’Nique and beating Armando Iannucci’s 'In The Loop' and 'An Education' to adapted screenplay.
Christoph Waltz won the best supporting actor award for playing a bloodthirsty Nazi in Quentin Tarantino flick 'Inglourious Basterds'.
Irish animator Richard Baneham won the Oscar for best visual effects for 'Avatar'.
'Up' won the animated feature film category, beating 'Fantastic Mr Fox' among others.
Best foreign language film went to Argentinian movie 'The Secret in Their Eyes' (El Secreto de Sus Ojos).
The event at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles was hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, who kicked the show off with a round of cheeky quickfire gags targeting the cream of Hollywood.
Baldwin joked of 16-times nominated Streep: “No matter what, they nominate Meryl Streep.”
Martin pointed out “Damn Helen Mirren” in the audience.
Baldwin corrected him, indicating at the autocue: “See, that’s Dame Helen Mirren.”