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Forum and wire reports, Published March 08 2010

‘Hurt’ so good: Bigelow becomes first female to win best director

History was made Sunday night as Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win an Academy Award for directing.

She was awarded the Oscar for helming “The Hurt Locker,” a visually crisp film about bomb-removal units in the Iraq war. Her movie also won the night’s top prize for best picture and beat out “Avatar,” the highest-grossing film of all time that was directed by Bigelow’s ex-husband James Cameron.

But while her movie was given the ultimate accolade, the night belonged to Bigelow and her vanguard moment.

“Well, the time has come,” said presenter Barbra Streisand moments before announcing Bigelow’s win for direction.

Bigelow was tearfully grateful as she accepted the trophy.

Earlier in the evening, another woman had a major moment as Sandra Bullock won best actress for her role in “The Blind Side.” In her speech, she poked fun at her “feud” with fellow nominee Meryl Streep and thanked her mom. It was her first Oscar.

Jeff Bridges also won his first Oscar when the veteran won the best-actor Academy Award for his turn as a boozy country singer trying to clean up his act in “Crazy Heart.”

The Oscar marks a career peak for Bridges, a beloved Hollywood veteran who had been nominated four times in the previous 38 years without winning.

Bridges held his Oscar aloft and thanked his late parents, actor Lloyd Bridges and poet Dorothy Bridges.

“Thank you, Mom and Dad, for turning me on to such a groovy profession,” said Bridges, recalling how his mother would get her children to entertain at parties and his father would sit on the bed teaching him the basics of acting for an early role he landed on his dad’s TV show “Sea Hunt.”

“I feel an extension of them. This is honoring them as much as it is me,” said Bridges, whose wife, Susan Geston, is from Fargo.

Villainous roles snatched the supporting-acting prizes: “Precious” co-star Mo’Nique as a contemptible mother and “Inglourious Basterds” co-star Christoph Waltz as a sociable Nazi fiend.

Both performers capped remarkable years, Mo’Nique startling fans with dramatic depths previously unsuspected in the actress known for lowbrow comedy and the Austrian-born Waltz leaping to fame with his first big Hollywood role.

“I would like to thank the academy for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics,” said Mo’Nique, who plays the heartless, abusive welfare mother of an illiterate teen (Gabourey Sidibe, a best-actress nominee in her screen debut) in the Harlem drama “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.”

“Precious” also won the adapted-screenplay Oscar for Geoffrey Fletcher.

Waltz’s award was presented by last season’s supporting-actress winner, Penelope Cruz, who gave Waltz a kiss as he took the stage.

The Iraq war drama “The Hurt Locker” won six prizes, including original screenplay for Mark Boal, who spun a story about the perils and pressures of a U.S. bomb unit in Iraq.