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I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Why can't we all just get along?

Here's an interesting piece on whether "Brokeback Mountain" lost the best picture Oscar to "Crash" because Hollywood doesn't like gay people.

An excerpt: My impression, also based on anecdotal evidence, is that the usual number of academy voters saw the usual number of academy nominees, and voted for the ones they admired the most. In a year without "Brokeback Mountain," Finke, Turan and many others might have admired "Crash." Or maybe not. But it's a matter of opinion, not sexual politics.

It is not a "safe harbor," but a film that takes the discussion of racism in America in a direction it has not gone before in the movies, directing attention at those who congratulate themselves on not being racist, including liberals and/or minority group members. It is a movie of raw confrontation about the complexity of our motives, about how racism works not only top down but sideways, and how in different situations, we are all capable of behaving shamefully.

Personally, I don't think "Crash" winning the Oscar means Hollywood hates gays, just that it loves racism.


Anonymous cheddar said...

Yeah, I was kind of puzzled by all that.

David M. Halbfinger and David Carr commented in the New York Times that the movie academy "turned its back" on an "unflinching gay love story" and awarded the Oscar to "a moody kaleidoscope of racial confrontation in Los Angeles in which every character is at once sympathetic and repulsive." Uh, OK. So "Brokeback" should have been rewarded because it had gay people in it but was otherwise fairly normal and "Crash" shouldn't have been rewarded for a plot and story that sounds fascinating by their own description?

Tom Shales in the Washington Post wrote that the decision will no doubt produce arguments over "whether the Best Picture Oscar to Crash was really for the film's merit or just a cop-out by the Motion Picture Academy so it wouldn't have to give the prize to Brokeback Mountain." Ah yes, because "Brokeback" was so loathed by the industry this year.

Wesley Morris wrote: "The memo from Hollywood seems clear enough. Better to reward the movie about people who clean our closets than the one about the men who live in them." Uh, OK. What the hell does that mean? Just because it has gay characters it automatically is superior to everything else?

On the Indian website Rediff.com, Aseem Chhabria wrote: "We will never know how many more Academy voters picked Crash over Brokeback. But this much is clear: While Crash is a fine and important film, in choosing Crash over Brokeback, the Academy members showed their conservative, safe and non-controversial side." Yes, because "Crash" was a "safe" movie that very obviously didn't break any taboos or anything.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Steve Hyden said...

I don't get why the movie with the most worthy subject deserves to win the award. Subject matter has nothing to do with how GOOD a movie is. This basically is the old form vs. content argument. I mean, there is no overarching societal message in "Taxi Driver," but as filmmaking, it kicks the ass of either "Crash" or "Brokeback Mountain."

Again, if we're really rewarding the best movie, "Munich" should have won. But the reasons "Munich" lost have nothing to do with quality. (It didn't get a lot of press; Spielberg already has an Oscar, etc.)

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe Crash was just a better movie than Brokeback.


7:07 PM  
Blogger paul said...

They need a playoff system

8:43 PM  

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