Kathryn Bigelow is only the fourth woman ever to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar. The Hurt Locker, follows a three-man Explosive Ordnance Disposal team around Baghdad in 2004, as the insurgency was cresting - and the tension doesn't let up for a minute. Bigelow told Kurt that she cast unknown actors to keep audiences guessing: "If it's a very well-known face in the lead role, you're going to anticipate he can't die."
Next, in the film, Precious, the heroine fantasizes about escaping the horrors of her life as an abused teenager and walking down a red carpet. Now the actress who plays her, newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, gets to walk down that red carpet for real - she's up for a Best Actress Academy Award. Studio 360's Jenny Lawton talked with Sidibe about her debut.
Then, Oscar-nominated film, Up in the Air, tells a story made for the recession. George Clooney plays a corporate grim reaper, flying all over the country to lay off his clients' employees. Director Jason Reitman (Juno) based it on the 2001 novel by Walter Kirn. Reitman and Kirn told Kurt that the project ended up having more resonance in the real world than either could have anticipated.
Finally, Avatar cost nearly $400 million to make and broke box-office records. It's up for nine Oscars. Kurt asked director James Cameron how he tackled this insanely ambitious project and how he took 3-D technology to a new level. [Broadcast Date: March 6, 2010]