* AwardSnub: Defied. Despite going up against ''Film/{{Avatar}}'', the visually-dazzling highest-grossing movie of all time (unadjusted for inflation), ''The Hurt Locker'' not only bested it for the top prize, it managed to defeat it in some of the technical categories that ''Avatar'' was expected to sweep, including Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Its journalistic writing even managed to defeat ''InglouriousBasterds'' for Best Original Screenplay.
** That said, there were a few fans and bloggers who noted that Anthony Mackie was sadly overlooked in the Best Supporting Actor category.
* CriticalDissonance: The movie is considered to be a realistic war movie by many critics, but not so much by the audience. Indeed, most former and current military personnel that have seen it, especially Iraq vets, complain of lack of realism. However, despite the obvious liberties taken with EOD policy, the movie captured the ''emotional'' experience of fighting in Iraq like no other.
** In an interview, there was an actual EOD person who provided a variation on the military criticisms, not being keen on the film itself but appreciating the fact that it raised awareness of what they do.
* CriticalResearchFailure[=/=]IdiotPlot: The first scene. Let us count the ways: All bomb squads carry a communications jammer that prevents precisely the kind of situation (a bad guy setting off a bomb with a cellphone) in the first scene from happening. Eldridge also seemingly defies Sanborn's order to kill the Iraqi with the phone, which he faces no consequences over. Finally, rather than having to place the explosives on the bomb by hand, Thomson could have just repaired the buggy with the tools he had.
* CrowningMomentOfAwesome: Some of the stunts that James pulls off are pretty wicked tricks, like managing to defuse five bombs in one go, or defusing a bomb without his protective gear.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: Three of Ministry's songs were used in the film, but "Khyber Pass" certainly qualifies as the backdrop for the last scene [[spoiler:in which James is re-enlisted and has another year of war to [[strike: go through]] happily look forward to.]]
* ItsPopularNowItSucks: Its Oscar buzz brought it to a wider audience; which displeased many of its original fans.
* HellIsThatNoise: A bizarre musical chord[[note]](which would sound familiar to anyone who watched ''Film/ThereWillBeBlood'')[[/note]] is used to enhance the OhCrap moment when James discovers that the spare wire he found [[spoiler:is attached to a daisy chain of a half-dozen or so more bombs]].
* HoYay: The scene when the group is getting drunk and learning about each other, and Sanborn and James get into a shirtless fight that ends with James straddling Sanborn.
* InternetBackdraft: Debates on how accurate the movie was tend to spark some heated debates to say the least. Not to mention that a discussion on if ''TheHurtLocker'' really deserved Best Picture and if ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' was snubbed by the [[AcademyAward Oscars]] will spark a big one.
* MoralEventHorizon: You never ''see'' the antagonists in this film, but any sympathy the audience might have for their cause disappears when they [[spoiler: use a boy's corpse as a bomb]], if not before.
** And then crossed a ''second'' time when [[spoiler: someone kidnaps a random civilian man, straps bombs to him, sets them on a timer, and then ''bolt it onto his body with reinforced steel locks'', making it impossible to remove. He's then sent to the army base, where he desperately begs them to take it off, pleading the entire time that he has a family, but explodes before they can get the bomb off of him. Note also that because of the timer, he knew ''exactly'' when it was going to go off and could do nothing to save himself.]]
* NightmareFuel - [[spoiler: [[strike:Beckham]] an unnamed boy is killed, has a bomb sloppily planted into him, and left to rot.]]
* TearJerker - Obviously, many moments in the film.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: James' failure to [[spoiler: find out anything about a boy's killers]] could be seen as this, [[IntendedAudienceReaction but it's purposefully done for an exercise in futility]].
* VindicatedByHistory: Summit only went to 500 theaters at it widest and the film grossed just $17 million in theaters (due to the studio having higher hopes for eventual flops such as ''Bandslam'' and ''Sorority Row''). However due to positive word of mouth, the film became a huge hit on DVD. And it won some Oscars as well, including winning 3 of the main awards, Best Picture, Best Director & Best Original Screenplay, along with a nomination for Best Actor.
* TheWoobie - Eldridge.