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The Hurt Locker Screenwriter Mark Boal Reacts to His Oscar Nominations

Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker scored an impressive nine Oscar nominations this morning — for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Original Screenplay, Film Editing, Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Cinematography — more than any other 2009 film not starring blue people. A few minutes ago, we called Mark Boal, who co-produced Locker and wrote its screenplay (Boal's first-ever script), to get his reaction.

Congratulations on Locker's big haul this morning.
Do you actually want to talk to me?

Of course we do! How did you find out about your nominations?
Ah, you know, the television set told me.

So what are your plans today. How are you celebrating?
Well I’m going to celebrate by talking to as many members of the press as I can. I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend the day. You know, I don’t know. I have a lot of phone calls to return. At some point I’ll probably have some breakfast.

Who did you call first after you'd heard?
Kathryn, Jeremy, and Anthony are in New York. They did The Today Show, so I spoke to them shortly after. They were the first people I spoke to, and we've all kind of become a family, having worked on this thing for three years together now.

Hurt Locker got nine nominations, tying with Avatar for the most. Is that about what you'd expected?
Well, you know I didn’t have my fingers crossed, but I think I try not to expect anything because I didn’t want to be disappointed. I think it could have gone any number of different ways, so it’s pretty thrilling.

What do you make of your competition? Have you seen Avatar?
I have seen Avatar, yeah. I liked it.

Following the guild awards, Hurt Locker seems like the front-runner for Best Picture headed into the Oscars ...
Well, I don’t really think of it in those terms either way to be honest. I'm pretty much taking it day by day. What really makes me happy is what these nominations will further raise the profile of the film, so I think it will encourage more people to see it. Every time someone buys the DVD, I get 4 cents.

The DVD came out two weeks ago. Will Hurt Locker be re-released in theaters?
I don’t know the answer to that. It's something that’s being considered, but it’s already out on DVD. So I’m not quite sure what makes the most sense to them.

This is your first-ever script and it got you your first-ever Oscar nomination. You should write another one.
It’s my first Oscar nomination, my first screenplay. I think I should quit now, and take up a bonsai tree.

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images