By BAZ BAMIGBOYE
Making history: Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq war drama film The Hurt Locker won six Oscars. She is the first woman to win an Academy Award for best director, seen on stage last night at the 82nd Academy Awards
Bad night for James Cameron's $300m Avatar as it wins three lower grade awards
Runaway favourites Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges win best actress and actor gongs
Brits Helen Mirren, Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan miss out on big prizes
Mo'Nique takes trophy for best supporting actress for gritty drama Precious
Kathryn Bigelow made history last night after becoming the first woman to win an Academy Award for best director.
What's more the 58-year-old trounced her ex-husband James Cameron's three awards for Avatar by collecting six gongs for her Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker.
Avatar - the highest grossing film ever having already taken $2billion worldwide at the box office - won three lower grade awards for art direction, cinematography and visual effects.
Trophies went to runaway favourites Sandra Bullock for best actress in American football drama The Blind Side and Jeff Bridges scooped best actor for his part in the country musical flick Crazy Heart
Delighted: Screenwriter Mark Boal (left) and producer Greg Shapiro backstage with five of the six awards the movie raked in
As she opened the envelope Barbra Streisand declared: 'It's about time', and then read Kathryn Bigelow's name for best director.
The Hurt Locker's six Oscars was an extraordinary accomplishment particularly as it beat the mighty Avatar.
Avatar - which cost a staggering $300million to make - failed to do as well as Cameron's previous blockbuster Titanic, which won 11 Academy Awards in 1998
Applause: James Cameron, sat behind his ex-wife Bigelow, looked pleased as his 3D film wins the Oscar for Cinematography
Congratulations: But Bigelow beat her former husband hands down, with Cameron seen left jokingly moving his hands to her neck and, right, the pair embrace
When The Hurt Locker, which had a film budget of just $11million, won best screenplay and best editing earlier on in the night it became clear it had a chance of clinching the top prize.
The drama about a U.S. bomb disposal unit in Iraq didn't fare well at the box office but it caught on with the Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Picture Arts and Sciences who took to its grittiness.
Some Oscar voters may have taken against what some felt was an arrogance about 55-year-old Cameron. He made a public statement that it would be okay for his ex-wife Bigelow to win best director but that the Academy should give best picture to his film to honour all his colleagues who worked on it.
Sandra Bullock collects her award for best actress for the American football drama The Blind Side while Jeff Bridges makes his acceptance speech after being named best actor for musical film Crazy Heart
The Academy clearly had other ideas and weren't going to be ordered around.
Later Bigelow said that she hoped she would be the first of many female directors to win best director Oscars.
Bigelow, who was married to Cameron between 1989 and 1991 and was his third wife, was asked what her win meant with regards to ex.
Graceful: Kate Winslet, who last year won best actress, presented Bridges with his award
She said, 'It was a humbling experience' to be in the same category as Cameron and the other directors - but she remained dignified and wouldn't be drawn into directly commenting on Cameron.
The other race that captured the most attention was best actress. Would it go to Meryl Streep, nominated for the sixteenth time but who hasn't won since 1982? Or to Sandra Bullock known as the 'prom queen', for The Blind Side?
When Bullock won even she allowed herself some humility. She knows she's a good actress but not always the best actress.
Grand: The best actor and best actress nominees line up inside the venue at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles
On-stage appearance: British star Carey Mulligan failed to win best actress for An Education, seen earlier in the night with Avatar actress Zoe Saldana presenting the gong for best short film
She plays the role of Leigh Anne Tuohy in American football drama which follows the story of Michael Oher (played by Quinton Aaron), a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman (Bullock) and her family.
'Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down?'
Bullock, stunning in a silver column gown from British designers Marchesa , praised her fellow nominees: 'Four of them that I've fallen deeply in love with I share this night with and I share this award with.
'Gabby, I love you so much. You are exquisite. You are beyond words to me. Carey, your grace and your elegance and your beauty and your talent makes me sick.
Good friends really: Bullock beat British competitor Helen Mirren to win the best actress award, while fellow Brit Colin Firth also lost out on the best actor award to Bridges
'Helen, I feel like we are family through family and I don't have the words to express just what I think of you. And Meryl, you know what I think of you and you are such a good kisser.
'I have so many people to thank for my good fortune in this lifetime and this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I know. To the family that allowed me to play them, the Tuohy family, I know they're in here and you'll probably hear her in a minute.'
Veteran Jeff Bridges claimed best actor for playing a drunken country singer in musical drama Crazy Heart.
The son of Hollywood star Lloyd Bridges held his trophy high over his head, looking to the heavens and thanking his deceased parents.
Mo'Nique wins best supporting actress for her role in Precious and, right, Christoph Waltz took best supporting actor for Inglourious Basterds
'Mom and Dad, yeah,' he shouted. 'Thank you Mom and Dad for turning me on to such a groovy profession.'
Mo'Nique received a standing ovation as she collected the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in the film Precious.
Actor Robin Williams came on stage to present the gong, making it two in a row for the gritty drama.
Earlier it won best adapted screenplay, adapted by Geoffrey Fletcher from the book Push.
Hosts: Steve Martin (left) and Alec Baldwin presented the show, seen here surrounded by scantily-clad women
Feeling blue: Ben Stiller dressed up as a member of the Na'vi tribe from the film Avatar to present the award for best make-award which went to Mindy Hall of Star Trek
Mo'Nique, who played the role of an abusive parent in the flick, thanked the Academy as she collected her first Oscar for making it 'about the performance and not the politics'.
The actress was wearing same shade of blue as Gone with the Wind actress Hattie McDaniel's when she took her Oscar seven decades ago.
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz cemented his place in Hollywood by winning the best supporting actor Oscar for Inglourious Basterds.
His role as a sociable fiend of a Nazi helped him beat four Hollywood veterans: Matt Damon for Invictus, Woody Harrelson for The Messenger, Christopher Plummer for The Last Station and Stanley Tucci for The Lovely Bones.
Quentin Tarantino cast the veteran stage and television actor as the prattling, ruthless Jew-hunter Hans Landa in his World War II saga.
Waltz gushed: 'This is your welcoming embrace and there's no way I can ever thank you enough, but I can start right now. Thank you.'
Two south Londoners won Academy awards. One went to Sandy Powell for the costumes she designed for The Young Victoria and to Ray Beckett for sound editing on The Hurt Locker.
Powell, who has won two Oscars before, said: 'Well, I already have two of these.'
Sandy said she wanted to dedicate it to designers of costumes for contemporary films, not dead monarchs and musicals.
'This is for you but I'm taking it home,' she said.
The animated film Up was awarded the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.
Film-maker Pete Docter described it as an 'oddball film'.
He added: 'It was an incredible adventure making this movie but the heart of it came from home.'
Amanda Seyfried and Miley Cyrus presented the best original song Oscar to The Weary Kind from Crazy Heart.
Tina Fey and Robert Downey Jr presented the best original screenplay to Mark Boal for The Hurt Locker.
He said: 'You honour and humble me with this, more than you know.'
Boal dedicated the gong to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the wounded and those who had not made it home.
He also dedicated the award to his father, who he said had died a month ago.
The award was jointly presented by Robert Downey Jr, who appeared a shade blue - donning a large powder blue bow tie and round tinted glasses.
Carey Mulligan, herself nominated for An Education, joined Avatar star Zoe Saldana on stage to present the Oscars for best short films. These went to Logorama for animated film, Music By Prudence for documentary short film and The New Tenants took best live action short film.
Dressed in their finest: VIPs outside under a canopy on the red carpet ahead of the glitzy do
Showbiz event of the year: A view down the street outside the plush venue
Best Make-Up went to Star Trek while Avatar won the award for art direction.
Avatar took best visual effects making it the third of the night for James Cameron's 3D film.
The Hurt Locker also won the award for best sound mixing.
Jennifer Lopez wore a gorgeous Armani frock on stage with Avatar's Sam Worthington to present best original score, which went to Up.
Best documentary feature went to The Cove.
Quentin Tarantino and Pedro Almodovar presented best foreign language film to. El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret In Their Eyes) from Argentina beating favourites A Prophet and The White Ribbon
Making history: Kathryn poses with one of her Oscars in from of teams of photographers