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'The Hurt Locker': Will it be grossly overlooked?

No one ever said a movie about a bomb squad in Iraq would do booming business. And it hasn't.

If Kathryn Bigelow's war drama, "The Hurt Locker," wins the best picture Oscar Sunday night, not only will its producers earn some gold statuettes, they'll have the dubious distinction of having made the lowest-grossing film to nail the academy's top honor in more than 50 years. To date, "The Hurt Locker" has grossed a mere $12.6 million domestically, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. Even with foreign grosses of $7.3 million tossed in for good measure, "The Hurt Locker's" worldwide box office is still hurting.

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MORE: Complete guide to the Academy Awards

The last time a best picture winner made less was in 1955, when "Marty" grossed $3 million domestically. Adjust "Marty's" grosses for inflation, however, and they translate to $23.77 million, which still tops "The Hurt Locker."

Not that academy members have been looking at dollar signs in recent years when marking the best picture box on their Oscar ballots. The 2005 drama "Crash," which grossed only $54.6 million domestically, was the lowest-grossing best picture winner since "The Last Emperor" in 1987 (its U.S. take was only $44 million). And "No Country for Old Men," which won two years ago, topped out at $74.3 million. Even 2004's "Million Dollar Baby" just barely tipped the $100-million mark.

Of course, a win for "The Hurt Locker" is hardly a lock. It faces stiff competition from "Avatar," whose victory, ironically, would make it the highest-grossing best picture winner of all time. Although Scarlett O'Hara might say "fiddle-dee-dee" to that. Adjust the previous 81 winners' grosses for inflation, and "Gone With the Wind" is still the all-time champ with a domestic gross of $1.537 billion. Even Rhett Butler would give a damn about that.

PHOTOS: Best picture nominees

VOTE: Pick the movie you think will win for best picture

VIDEOS: Watch trailers for nominated movies

MORE: Complete guide to the Academy Awards

 

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