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01 December 2011 19:57 | By Kim Linekin
Oscars best picture battles

The Hurt Locker vs. Avatar (2010)



The Hurt Locker vs. Avatar (2010) (© 20thC.Fox/Everett /Rex Features)
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  • The Hurt Locker vs. Avatar (2010) (© 20thC.Fox/Everett /Rex Features)
  • Brokeback Mountain vs. Crash (2005) (© Lions Gate/Focus/Everett/Rex Features)
  • The Pianist vs. Chicago (2002) (© Miramax/Everett / Rex Features;)
  • Saving Private Ryan vs. Shakespeare in Love (1998) (© RAC/David James/Getty Images)
  • Fargo vs. The English Patient (1996) (© Miramax/Everett / Rex Features;)
  • Pulp Fiction vs. Forrest Gump (1994) (© Everett Collection / SNAP/ Rex Features)
  • Silence of the Lambs vs. Bugsy (1991) (© Tristar/Everett / Rex Features)
  • Goodfellas vs. Dances with Wolves (1990) (© Warner Bros/Everett /SNAP/Rex Features)
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Does the Academy favour edgy, artistic films or comforting fare when it comes time to vote on best picture? Take a look at these battles from past years to find out.

2010's Best Picture battle was between "The Hurt Locker," an edgy look at a U.S. bomb squad operating in Iraq, and "Avatar," a soothing look at a harmonious alien race and the humans who arrive to muck up their environment. Strangely enough, the edgy picture won. "The Hurt Locker" centres on a maverick whose need to be in a death-defying job triumphed over his wife and child's need for him to be home with them. That makes the film far less comforting than "Avatar," which follows a maverick choosing to leave his aggressive compatriots so he can join a race of gentler beings. We suspect plain old quality of storytelling is the main reason behind the Academy's pick, and that's a refreshing thought.

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