Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker won six Oscars Sunday night including best picture and made history when director Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the best director prize in the Oscar's 82-year history, dpa reported.
Bigelow called the victory "the moment of a lifetime."
The low-budget movie managed to overpower blockbuster Avatar to dominate the night's prizes.
Avatar, the most successful film in history with more than 2 billion dollars in ticket sales, won just three awards for visual effects, art direction and cinematography. According to pundits, The Hurt Locker's ticket sales of just 21 million dollars made it the lowest-grossing best-picture winner ever.
Another winner on Oscar night was the inspirational movie Precious, which racked up three wins, including a supporting actress award for Mo'Nique.
Jeff Bridges won the best actor prize for his role as a washed up country singer in the film Crazy Heart.
Sandra Bullock was named best actress for The Blind Side, in which she plays a conservative woman who takes in an impoverished black kid and turns him into a football star.
El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in their Eyes) from Argentina won for best foreign-language film, while The Cove was named best documentary.
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz won the first Oscar of the night, as he picked up the best supporting actor Academy Award for his performance in World War II drama Inglourious Basterds.
Up won the award for best animated movie, and Crazy Heart won for best original song.
Precious won for best adapted screenplay, while The Hurt Locker won for sound mixing, sound editing and film editing. Avatar's early awards were for art direction and visual effects.
Avatar and The Hurt Locker were the leading contenders for Oscar glory with nine nominations apiece.
The 82nd annual awards started with all 10 nominees for best actor and best actress taking the stage, before hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were introduced in a spectacular comedic song-and-dance number.
The show's producers attempted to perk up Oscar ratings after years of falling viewership and featured young stars like Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus in the show.