Well, here we go.

Avatar just won its first Oscar, in best art direction for Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg (art direction) with Kim Sinclair (set decoration).

The film beat The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Nine, Sherlock Holmes, and The Young Victoria.

Avatar went into the Oscars with nine nominations, including best picture and best director.

Precious just scored its second Oscar.

Comedian-actor Mo'Nique won for best supporting actress for her searing role as an abusive mother.

Mo'Nique has been collecting numerous awards for her stunning performance, including the Golden Globe award and film critics circle awards.

She managed to beat Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick from Up in the Air, Penelope Cruz (Nine), and Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart).

Read part four.

Wow. In one of the first big surprises of the evening, Geoffrey Fletcher just won the best adapted screenplay Oscar for Precious, beating out expected winners Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for Up in the Air.

Up in the Air had previously won the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Writers Guild of America awards for best screenplay.

Fletcher also beat Vancouver Film School alumni Neil Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell for District 9.

It's the first win for Precious, which had six nominations.

Mark Boal won the best original screenplay Oscar for The Hurt Locker, beating some big name competition, such as Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds, the Coen brothers for A Serious Man, in addition to Up and The Messenger (Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman).

Boal is also named in The Hurt Locker's nomination for best picture.

Pixar's Up continued its winning streak from other award shows, picking up the best animated feature award at the Oscars. The film beat Coraline, The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Up had previously won the Golden Globe award for the same category, in addition to awards from the Annies (animation industry awards), BAFTA, American Cinema Editors, Grammy, Producers Guild, Visual Effects Society, and numerous film critics organizations.

Congrats to Inglourious Basterds' Christoph Waltz for winning the first Oscar of the evening: best supporting actor. He won for his role as World War II German colonel Hans Landa, who is searching for Jews hiding in German-occupied France.

Waltz beat Matt Damon, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, and Toronto-born Christopher Plummer.

Yikes! Sandra Bullock is now poised to make dubious history if she wins an Oscar on Sunday night (March 7) for best actress in The Blind Side. She’d be the first Oscar winner to have simultaneously also won a worst actress award (for her role in All About Steve) in the same year.

Previously, Halle Berry had won a Razzie for the 2004 film Catwoman, but she won her Oscar for Monster’s Ball in 2001.

The Razzies, by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation, named the worst in Hollywood filmmaking in 2009 tonight.

If you’re tuning in to the Oscars on Sunday night (March 7), here are a few Vancouverites to keep an eye on (and cheer for).

Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros
Does District 9 have what it takes to beat Avatar? If so, it will be a triumph for Vancouver’s visual effects industry.

See also

Oscar nominees to root for at this year's Academy Awards

The student-run social and environmental justice resource centre at Simon Fraser University is calling for support after some students tried to have its funding revoked.

The Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group is funded by a levy of $3 per semester for full-time students and $1.50 for part-time students.

That makes all SFU students members of SFPIRG, unless they opt out at the beginning of a semester.

SFPIRG has set up a Web site soliciting support and has released the following open letter:

An Open Letter from SFPIRG in response to planned “coup d’etat” and failed fee referendum

By Gabriel Yiu  

After the historic Olympic party, we’re back to reality.   The budget tabled by the Liberals this week is, as usual, a bag of tricks.

DEBT

The budget stated that our debt would increase by $14.6 billion  in the next  three years, from $41.3  billion  to $55.9 billion, a staggering increase of 35 percent.  

The debt-service cost for the increase is $700 million   per year, whereas the total debt-service cost is almost $3 billion  per year!

Even more amazing is the fact that many of the big Olympic capital projects are not included in this $55.9-billion debt.

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