After winning both the WGA and BAFTA prizes last weekend, Tuesday night was perfect timing to celebrate Mark Boal’s screenplay for The Hurt Locker. That’s precisely what folks did on Tuesday night at Monkey Bar in midtown, in honor of the recently published book version of the film’s shooting script. Boal and the film’s director Kathryn Bigelow greeted guests as the front bar of the restaurant was turned into a party space. There was plenty of chit-chat about the upcoming Oscars (where The Hurt Locker will compete for nine awards, including Original Screenplay). It feels safe to say that Bigelow will win Best Director, and it even feels safe to say the film itself has the best shot at Best Picture. The guests attending the party last night were a very diverse assortment of Academy voters, which bodes well for the film’s chances. However, will the screenplay overtake early front-runner Inglourious Basterds?
Quentin Tarantino was ineligible for the WGA prize, but Boal surprisingly beat Basterds at the BAFTAs the next day. So, it’s anyone’s guess, but The Hurt Locker has turned everyone around on their usual Oscar logic. On Tuesday night, Bigelow and Boal were just soaking it all in, and they looked great despite obvious exhaustion from globe-trotting. After the soiree, I skimmed through my parting gift copy of the shooting script. It was instantly an easy and enjoyable read. Bigelow’s direction was amazing, but as you read the shooting script, you realize that Boal laid out a framework that was inherently pulse-pounding. I flipped over to the film’s “sniper sequence,” and couldn’t put the book down. I’ve been meaning to rewatch The Hurt Locker recently, but this script is almost just as sufficient for illustrating what’s on the screen.