Hurt Locker
Staff Sgt. William James narrowly escapes after a bomb is detonated in a scene from the Hollywood movie "The Hurt Locker."

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- With flashing cameras and blinding spotlights all around, nominees of the 82nd Annual Academy Awards braved the media during the 29th Academy Awards Nominee Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 15.

Among this year's nominees, military-themed movies have an overall 29 collective nominations in 12 different categories. Of those nominations, nine belong to "The Hurt Locker," for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor Jeremy Renner.

Soldiers of the 302nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment in Bell, Calif., attended the event to interview the stars behind this year's military movies and capture their perspective on the military after making these films.

"My views have grown as far as my respect for the military...Actually physically doing the same training that they all go through, and in being there, and the guys sharing their lives with me as they did so generously, is an experience that I'll never forget," said Renner. "It makes all this actually very palpable."

The experience has even changed his viewpoint of his own work.

"The military is my touchstone at this point," Renner said, "It's shifted from movie and moviegoer to civilian and soldier, in this experience."

Renner also made it a point in his everyday life to express gratitude to servicemembers.

"You ask how this has changed my life - well, (now) I walk up to every military person (I meet) and I shake their hand and thank them for their service." Renner will be participating in a USO tour of Iraq and Afghanistan in September.

Seasoned actor Woody Harrelson, nominated for Best Supporting Actor in "The Messenger," has not always been a supporter of the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, during the luncheon Harrelson revealed a newfound appreciation for servicemembers.

"It wasn't until I got the opportunity, through the shooting of "The Messenger," to spend a lot of time with the people in the Army that I started to realize how amazing these people are," he said.

"They're some of the bright lights of people that I've met; and I was kind of knocked out by the people I've met in the military," he said. "So, I have a higher regard and a lot of respect for them. Still, as much as I have come to love the warrior, I still loathe the war."

It became apparent that this role not only changed his opinion of servicemembers but it also changed his way of thinking.

"Preparing for this part in 'The Messenger,' I really went into a whole other mental arena. I would do things like go jogging, and I'd be slogging along at my typical slow pace and then I'd think in terms of Capt. Tony Stone, and I'd feel myself picking up the pace," he said.

"Anytime I'd try and get into the mindset of this character I really felt like a different person, from me."

Other nominees in attendance included Kathryn Bigelow, Best Director for "The Hurt Locker" and Christoph Waltz, Best Supporting Actor in "Inglourious Basterds."

The 82nd Annual Academy Award will be held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. on March 7.

The 302nd will also be at the red carpet event to document celebrities thanking servicemembers for what they do.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16