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March 8th, 2010
03:20 PM ET

Oscar Wrap-Up: Why Avatar Lost

Richard Corliss
TIME

All night long, the jokes kept coming on the same subjects: Avatar this, George Clooney that. Sandra Bullock, accepting her award for Best Actress, acknowledged "all the people who didn't" help her, including "George Clooney, who threw me in a pool. I still hold a grudge." Ben Stiller showed up painted like a Na'vi to introduce the makeup category (for which Avatar wasn't nominated), and the Argentine winner of Best Foreign Language Film thanked the Academy "for not considering Na'vi a foreign language."

It's the classic comedy strategy of the have-nots making fun of the haves, and the hoary Oscar tradition of using famous movies and celebrities as the punch lines to jokes understandable to the mass of viewers — most of whom haven't seen, and might not have heard of, the smaller films and actors, who tend to get the awards. Oooh, Avatar, $2.5 billion at the box office ... Heh heh, George Clooney, world's coolest movie star ... Rim shot.

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Filed under: Academy Awards • Film
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