An Oscar Controversy

Crash winning Best Picture over Brokeback Mountain was one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history. But did the right movie win? And what does this say about the so-called liberal Hollywood?

Read this excerpt from Jeffrey Wells and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Let’s all keep it going and dig into our hearts this morning and extend some of that Crash compassion to the small minds and timid souls who voted against (and in many cases probably didn’t even see) Brokeback Mountain.

I’m not talking about those who love and respect Crash for what it is — they’re fine and approvable. I’m talking about the duck-and-hiders.

Squeamishness, old-fogeyism (not the kind you can measure in years but which can be found among people of all shapes, ages and nations) and puptent-phobia snuck into the room, and then slowed and stalled the Brokeback bandwagon and finally turned it down an alley.

I don’t have a recording of any Academy members talking about the sacrosanct John Wayne macho-cowboy tradition, or confiding their concerns about how it might feel it they watched one of the briefest, most darkly lit, most discreet coupling scenes in movie history, and what the cultural ratification that an Oscar win would mean for Brokeback and gay people everywhere, so I guess there’s no proving these views were a factor.

The anti-Brokeback banshee was swirling over and under Paul Haggis, Cathy Schulman and Jack Nicholson as they stood on the Kodak stage last night.

And it wasn’t pretty and it ain’t pretty now. I live in tres gay West Hollywood and I was walking along Santa Monica Blvd. this morning and feeling the air, and I can tell you there’s no joy in Mudville this morning.

Earlier today in Salt Lake City, Larry Miller was having a quiet little chuckle over his coffee.

I imagine he was also probably feeling a bit surprised to discover, as Nikki Finke put it last night, that Hollywood “is as homophobic as Red State country…in touch, not out of touch.”

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I saw both Brokeback Mountain and Crash. Both are excellent, well-acted, well-written, well-directed movies.

David Carr, the “bagger” writes:

“Over all, the Bagger believes that Brokeback lost not because it dared to depict closeted gay males as fully formed characters, but because people liked, but did not love, the movie. And for some, Crash brings to life an inner dialogue they must be having that is filled with fear and suspicion. In the end, everyone thought Brokeback would win and everyone thought the other guy was going to vote for it. In the end, not enough of the other guys did.”

read his entire column

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One more opinion. From the LA Times. A column called “Breaking No Ground

“So for people who were discomfited by Brokeback Mountain but wanted to be able to look themselves in the mirror and feel like they were good, productive liberals, Crash provided the perfect safe harbor. They could vote for it in good conscience, vote for it and feel they had made a progressive move, vote for it and not feel that there was any stain on their liberal credentials for shunning what Brokeback had to offer. And that’s exactly what they did.”

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Now just I’m confused. What’s your opinion? I want to know.

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7 thoughts on “An Oscar Controversy”

  1. Food for thought: Why is everyone so fired up about this brokeback mountain movie? It really hasn’t done all that well in the theaters anyways. The numbers I’ve seen say its only made about 76 million. The powers that be say that a movie needs to make 100 million to be a blockbuster so why was it even nominated? In fact, all the movies nominated for best picture made even less than BBM. And most people I’ve talked to say they have not and will not see it.
    This is a clear cut case of the liberal agenda trying to force their homosexual opinion on us. And I for one am sick of it. Homosexuality goes against nature and God. You ever see two bucks doin it in the woods? And Leviticus 18:22 says Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. I mean really, how much more proof do you need? Call me narrow minded if you wish. Personally, I don’t care. I don’t claim to be perfect by any means, I’m a sinner just like the rest of you but at least I know what sin is and homosexuality is a sin period. And I for one am sick of seeing it on TV, in politics (gay marriage) and now in the movies. GIVE IT A REST PEOPLE, IT’S WRONG!!!!
    One more thing. The Chronicles of Narnia made over 300 million and wasn’t even nominated for best picture. HMMMMMMM, makes you think don’t it?

  2. cinefille, I’m not really qualified to comment having only seen Crash, but I generally go to movies because I want to be entertained. Rarely do I enjoy a movie where I have to seriously think, which is why I rarely see mysteries. For example, I had to see 3 Days Of The Condor 4 times before I truly understood it all (I can be VERY dense at times…just ask my wife.) And the first Mission Impossible I thought was a reference to figuring out the plot.

    I do tire of Hollywood not giving recognition to movies because they are not deemed “serious” enough. Hollywood would rather focus on a movie such as “In The Bedroom” as opposed to “Raiders Of The Lost Ark,” of which I thought took an enormous amount of talent to make.

    Just my two cents…

  3. While I haven’t seen either movie, I can say that I don’t think the Academy made the choice for Crash as Best Picture because of an anti-gay or anti-Brokeback bias. If the Academy thought Brokeback were a better picture than Crash, then they would have voted that way. I definitely think the Academy is liberal enough, and confortable enough with their liberalism, that they could have voted for Brokeback for Best Picture if it really were the best picture of 2006. I think Brokeback probably got what it deserved.

  4. To anonymous: While I am personally against homosexuality, I think the real point is whether the movie was actually good enough to win Best Picture, which it obviously was not. As far as Narnia goes, there is probably some bias because of its Christian message, but Disney rarely makes a movie worthy of Best Picture. Narnia was rewarded for its acheivements in makeup, and something else, but I can’t remember. While I love Disney films, they aren’t the best in the world. As far as Brokeback is concerned, I probably won’t see it because I would be a bit uncomfortable with the male sex scene. I don’t even like Jake Gylenhaal, anyway; he’s not that great of an actor.

  5. Wow, anonymous, that is a very strong opinion you have there. See, if you had only backed it up with an identity, I would be able to take it more seriously.

  6. I haven’t seen either movie. I know that some say Crash deserved to win because it focused on racial aspects within society well. Then some say Brokeback deserves to win because it focused on something different and they felt the actors did a good job. I think that Brokeback probably was killed by all the hype. You notice that the Oscars never go towards the most talked about movies? I always noticed this (except in Titanic’s situation). They always seem to lean away from the most obvious crowd pleaser. Plus, I am pretty sure they weren’t going to give an Oscar to a homosexual picture, Cine. We just need to realize that. They probably wouldn’t have given an Oscar to anything that threatened certain beliefs such as religion, interracial romances, etc. Having never seen either movie I don’t know who DESERVED to win. But after hearing all of the talk about both films for months, this is what I think happened. I think Brokeback was killed by hype and maybe the Oscar folks didn’t take it seriously. It could be a bunch of reasons it didn’t win. It’s a shame the public can’t pick the Oscar winnings. I’m not saying that against Crash winning, I’m just saying that it would be more fair. Good post!

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