Okay. So if you’re the Academy of Motion Pictures and you have to honor one movie as the year’s best and it’s going to upset some people, who are you gonna piss off, the blacks or gays? The Oscars chose the gays.
Race is an issue of utmost importance and many folks were pleased that Crash (all about race relations and stereotypes) won best picture at the recent Academy Awards. And that’s all find and dandy. And I really did enjoy Crash, too. But if a movie is going to dance around civil rights, shouldn’t it entail a minority that spans all races? Personally, I think it would have been better had Brokeback Mountain taken home the best picture award.
When the Academy had an opportunity to put the gay debate front and center politically, they refused to answer the knock at the door. And believe me, people were pounding on that door. Regardless of the color of your skin, if you’re gay in this country, you’re a second-class citizen. Brokeback Mountain brought to the surface an issue that most people in this country either ignore or are ignorant of.
I blame most of the backlash against the “homosexual agenda” on the religious nuts (some might say that includes our “Commander in Chief.”). As I’ve mentioned before on these web pages, religious fanaticism should be deemed a mental disorder. Anyone who lives a life by the literal translation of stories that are thousands of years old is out of touch with reality (and, more likely, harboring all kinds of fears and insecurities).
Both Capote and Brokeback were strong movies and both, by coincidence, deal with men who love men. So is Hollywood homophobic (even though so many in Hollywood are gay) or is Hollywood just not ready to be the spark to reignites the gay debate? Or is it enough that these movies even garnered a nomination?
Perhaps, on the other hand, the Academy just couldn’t make up their minds. According to movie reviewer and Hollywood know-it-all, Claudia Cohen, there were a lot more late ballots this year than in previous years. And only 80 percent of the Academy (which usually votes 100 percent) actually voted. So maybe the group of unusually good movies (also including Good Night and Good Luck and Walk the Line) made the decision just too dang tough for the voters.
Plus, the Academy did give each of the five nominated best pictures something to walk away with. Reese Witherspoon got an Oscar for Walk the Line, Hoffman for Capote, Ang Lee for Brokeback, and Clooney for Good Night. Maybe it was a simple coin toss and Crash won out when it came to best picture.
During the live TV broadcast, Jen Chaney of the Washington Post led an online chat at www.washingtonpost.com. There was both disappointment and satisfaction with Crash winning best picture. The issues raised covered the gamut from homophobia to racism to simple shock value. But Chaney made a valid point, stating that Crash is an L.A. movie. It was filmed and set in Los Angeles, had a great ensemble cast and dealt with a powerful issue. Perhaps the Academy, most of whose members live in L.A., simply related better to the movie. After all, most Hollywood types probably don’t have much in common with two closeted cowboys in Wyoming.
Yeah, I’m a little upset that Brokeback Mountain didn’t win. It would have been nice to get a sense that this country has become more tolerant of what it doesn’t understand. Or that it understands it better than we assume. Of course, they are just movies and I’m a movie fan, on my soapbox now, and maybe I just have too much time on my hands.