OSCAR NIGHT PREP | “The Hurt Locker”

The next check mark on my list of 17 movies to see before Oscar night was "The Hurt Locker." The film gave a very intimate (almost too close) ride-along experience with an elite Army bomb squad team in Baghdad. This three-man unit gets called in to defuse IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devises). When the new sergeant takes over the leadership of the group, you see how they adjust to some awkward team dynamics while at the same time making several life and death decisions. Their role is a constant balance of being either too cautious or too risky.

One scene in particular provides a better case study in leadership than the old army classic "Twelve O'Clock High." When a young specialists asks his "boss" whether he should shoot or not, his sergeant simply replies "It's your call buddy."

Shot in a documentary style with authentic Middle East scenes, it's a powerful plot with genuine characters. It's too early to call, but right now, I'm pulling for Best Picture and Best Director, and it takes the number one spot on my forced-ranking list:

> The Hurt Locker
1. Inglorious Basterds
2. Precious
3. (500) Days of Summer
4. Up in the Air
5. Up
6. Star Trek
7. Avatar
8. Julie and Julia

Which movies have you seen so far? What's your ranking?