* 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 ''Film/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.
* 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.]]
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: 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.
* 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]].
* HilariousInHindsight: Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie would both go on to play [[MarvelCinematicUniverse Avengers]], with Renner as Comicbook/{{Hawkeye}} and Mackie as Comicbook/TheFalcon.
* 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[[note]] It's not terribly popular with Iraq War veterans, and the opinion of a supportive critic who responded to their criticism with, [[InsaneTrollLogic "It doesn't have to be realistic to be real,"]] has often been cited as proof of the disconnect between veterans and civilians[[/note]] 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 [[UsefulNotes/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.]]
* RetroactiveRecognition: Anthony Mackie had been around for a while, but this was before his career really took off with ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''.
* 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 $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.
* TheWoobie: Eldridge.