Monday, March 06, 2006
The smug, self-righteous reactions of film and TV critics today, to the stunning upset of Crash over Brokeback Mountain at the Academy Awards last night, could not have been more predictable, or pathetic, or wrong (for that matter). Ok, so the expected winner didn't win. So what? I was pushing for Crash the entire way. I thought it was the better film. Many of my colleagues and friends agreed. But that aside. To claim the Academy shunned gays, or made a "conservative" choice, as many critics have suggested today, is utterly ridiculous. Lest we forget, this is the Academy (one could argue, with a much more conservative membership at the time) who awarded the Best Picture Oscar to the X-rated Midnight Cowboy in 1969! This is the Academy that gave Tom Hanks the Best Actor Oscar for playing a gay man with AIDS in Philadelphia. This is the same Academy that awarded Best Actress to Hillary Swank for a gender-confused character in Boys Don't Cry. This is the same Academy to give the Best Screenplay award to Gods and Monsters, the story of the openly gay director James Whale. And isn't this the same Academy that this year rewarded Phillip Seymour Hoffman with the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the openly gay Truman Capote in Capote? And since when is it a "snub" to award a film the Best Director and Best Screenplay awards, as the Academy did, this year, with Brokeback Mountain? Can't critics, these days, come up with anything more original to write? They embarrass themselves and their publications when they reach into a pre-fabricated bag of tricks to criticize this year's choice of Best Picture. I could have predicted their reaction months ago. Crash is not a film to be ignored -- especially since it takes on many more social issues than Brokeback Mountain, and does it in a compelling, riveting and heartbreaking manner.