- Award Snub: Defied. Despite going up against 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 Inglourious Basterds 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.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: Three of Ministry's songs were used in the film, but "Khyber Pass" certainly qualifies as the backdrop for the last scene in which James is re-enlisted and has another year of war to
go throughhappily look forward to.
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Averted. A majority of the action scenes consist solely of bomb disposal, while even the more action-packed incidents eschew the usual adrenaline-pumping music and fierce firefights for near-silent scenes spent aiming weapons at enemies that may or may not be there. The only time insurgents are fully visible is during the opening - everywhere else, they're either blended in with the crowd or shrouded in darkness.
- It's Popular, Now It Sucks: Its Oscar buzz brought it to a wider audience; which displeased many of its original fans.
- Hell Is That Noise: A bizarre musical chordnote is used to enhance the Oh Crap! moment when James discovers that the spare wire he found is attached to a daisy chain of a half-dozen or so more bombs.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie would both go on to play Avengers, with Renner as Hawkeye and Mackie as The Falcon.
- Ho Yay: 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.
- Internet Backdraft: Debates on how accurate the movie wasnote tend to spark some heated debates to say the least. Not to mention that a discussion on if The Hurt Locker really deserved Best Picture and if Avatar was snubbed by the Oscars will spark a big one.
- Moral Event Horizon: You never see the antagonists in this film, but any sympathy the audience might have for their cause disappears when they use a boy's corpse as a bomb, if not before.
- And then crossed a second time when 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.
- Nightmare Fuel:
Beckhaman unnamed boy is killed, has a bomb sloppily planted into him, and left to rot.
- Retroactive Recognition: Anthony Mackie had been around for a while, but this was before his career really took off with Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- Tear Jerker: Obviously, many moments in the film.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: James' failure to find out anything about a boy's killers could be seen as this, but it's purposefully done for an exercise in futility.
- Vindicated by History: Summit only went to 500 theaters at it widest and the film grossed just $49 million worldwide in theaters (due to the studio having higher hopes for eventual flops such as Bandslam and Sorority Row). However due to extensive critical praise and strong word-of-mouth, the film became a moderate success on DVD, making back its modest $15 million budget twice over. It won several of the most prestigious Oscars as well, winning Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, along with a nomination for Best Actor.
- The Woobie: Eldridge.