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David Poland

By David Poland

More Break Back

There are two anguished cries of disappointment that stand out for me today. One is this deeply felt, terribly sad piece by Nathaniel R, who closes with:

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108 Responses to “More Break Back”

  1. Angelus21 says:

    The groups supporting Brokeback Mountain wanted this win to make a statement. To give some meaning. They invested a lot in this win.
    And now that it did the unthinkable and lost they need a reason and someone to blame.
    That is homophobia. Blaming homophobia hurts the real cases of homophobia in the long run. It won’t be taken seriously.
    I can see why they are upset. They cared about a film and wanted it to be rewarded. But they’re cries is starting to go beyond the norm.

  2. Nicol D says:

    “Oscar Night ’06 may not be 9/11, but it is as big as the 2000 elections in many people

  3. Joe Leydon says:

    “It was not unlike the last two elections. [Each]time, only some sort of falseness, delusion, evil, or cheating could explain the vote. It could not simply be a choice with which a large percentage of us disagreed.”
    Er, Dave: Did you forget that, in 2000, the guy who got the most votes wasn’t declared the winner? And that there are still many people who strongly suspect, with ample reason, that the books were cooked in Florida?

  4. Eric says:

    The second writer defends Brokeback Mountain by saying “No one is trying to bring ‘Crash’ down.”
    This is patently untrue. I, for example, am trying to bring Crash down. It is an insulting, patronizing mediocrity, and I am embarassed for the Academy for having chose it. I don’t care what movies lost. What matters is that this simplistic, sermonizing tripe marketed itself to a Best Picture win.
    Any other choice of the five would have been better.

  5. Martin S says:

    What positive societal impact did the following have after winning the Oscar?
    – Lost Weekend & alcoholism
    – In The Heat of The Night & southern racism
    – Cuckoo’s Nest & psychiatric ward treatment
    – Kramer v Kramer & divorce
    At best, they raised an issue…but they had little impact beyond the perception of the arts community.
    I think Clooney’s fantasy-land speech really sums it up best. He cites Hattie McDaniel as a bold statement, yet isn’t bright enough to see the hypocriscy in Halle’s win – 21 years later. In other words, his perception of its impact is quite larger than its reality.
    Positive societal reaction does not come from movies, but from people. Ghandi the person made a difference, not the film.

  6. Bruce says:

    Whatever happend to being a gracious loser?

  7. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Both films had flaws to say BBM is a masterpiece is not really keeping things in perspective. It’s a great film but not a perfect one. CRASH is simply more populist fare at the end of the day and hundreds of academy members are just that.. average film goers.
    and Dave – I’m pretty sure BEAUTY starts off with Kevin jacking off in a shower doesn’t it?

  8. palmtree says:

    Titanic, The Last Emperor, and The Godfather all had full frontal nudity. So the Family Media Guide found those instances to not be graphic?

  9. James Leer says:

    Not to mention that Kevin Spacey spends American Beauty wanting to fuck an underage girl and then takes her top off and almost does. And that film is filled with nudity and sex scenes.
    Now, bear with me. I’m not as determined to turn this into a cause as the letter writer, but the alternative that DP is preaching — that one cannot argue homophobia in Brokeback’s loss — strikes me as equally wrongheaded. And especially ironic, since DP has
    –suggested in his initial Brokeback review that homophobia would drive most older Academy members out of the theater
    –implied that homophobia would limit its box office take
    –at the time of the nominations, encouraged Tony Angelotti to play up Academy homophobia in an attempt to gain traction for Munich
    And now he’s saying that same homophobia can’t be called out as a factor in Brokeback’s loss?
    And c’mon, DP…”Perhaps the most graphic heterosexual sex in any Best Picture nominee ever also happened this year

  10. Charly Baltimore says:

    Clooney lives in a fantasy land.
    It was how long between Oscars for African Americans between when Hattie McDaniel won and Halle Berry won?
    If you live a life that needs a Best Picture to reaffirm it or make your values or make your day than you are badly in need of something else in your life.

  11. James Leer says:

    Uh, not long, as several African Americans won Oscars in between. Ever heard of Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr, etc.?

  12. Roxane says:

    BBM fans act as if they expected their film to be handed a BP Oscar rather then having to go through the formality of a vote.The reality is that when the votes were counted for BP Crash had the most votes.I think Crash won the Oscar because Lions Gate wanted BP more then Focus and they were willing to spend money on an agressive Oscar campaign. While Focus was content to sit on a lead. You never sit on a lead, that’s a losing strategy. Rather then blaming Crash and the people in the academy who supported the film.Disappointed BBM fans should blame Focus for their lackluster Oscar campaign.

  13. jeffmcm says:

    Is ‘reverse overanalysis’ anything other than Dave Poland’s name for ‘why I’m always right’?
    Seriously, the Oscars are over. let this dead horse die, let the Crash-haters (like myself) go on hating, and let the Brokeback-lovers mourn…and let’s move on.

  14. David Poland says:

    Physician heal thyself, J-Mc.
    No. Reverse Overanalysis is specifically relating to the notion that looking backwards and looking for facts to rationalize the answer you want is not a very good strategy for finding truth.
    I do look back at history all the time. And often, the notions I come up with are wrong. You don’t get to watch me work through things, but I do. And there is a reason why I so often offer alternate positions… a big one is that working through history, I often find conflicting facts. Nothing is black and white.
    I take lumps for being wrong all the time. But fortunately, my batting average is pretty good. And that is in great part because I look at all the facts and not just the convenient ones.
    As for putting all this away, people do not appear ready to do so yet. So I will keep up my side of this conversation until I feel it is ime to stop (which for me was yesterday, but for me to be dismissive of people who keep writing would not be very thoughtful of me). So, Jeff, feel free not to read it… or do what you so often seem to do and find something in there you can blame me for and take your shots.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    Ah, I’m just giving you a hard time because you keep insisting on yourself as a victim in the Brokeback wars of the last few months even though you incessantly fanned the flames. Your analyses seem correct, it’s your attitude regarding the film that has always seemed just a little…off.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    Either that or your paranoia is correct and I HATE you. Take your pick.

  17. jeffmcm says:

    Anyway, the story isn’t Brokeback losing; it’s Crash winning that presents a more dire reality for the state of the Academy.

  18. Crow T Robot says:

    I took the Saving Private Ryan loss very seriously and very personally. It confirmed, like Sunday night, that winners can be bought and bullshit can be sold. That there is no warm loving god of film hovering over this town.
    Which seems in direct opposition to say, a Frances Mcdormand win for Fargo or a Tarantino/Avery Pulp Fiction original script win…. the rare magical instances when the undisputed groundbreaking best in their field actually get recognized.
    It confirmed all that.
    Move along indeed.

  19. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Dave – its probably because you started with the oscar diatribes 59,372 days out from the event. You can at least expect folks to want a couple of days from you post debacle.

  20. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Crow T Robot, Dreamworks spent MORE on Oscar advertising that Miramax did for Shakespeare fyi.
    On the matter of sex scenes… didn’t Crash have one? Between an African-American and a Hispanic no less!!!
    David – you and others keep telling us that we’re not taking this well enough. Well, how about this analogy using your favourite of the films, Munich.
    If Munich were released and had won a prize from almost every single organisation, including the highest honours from the HFPA, BAFTA, DGA, WGA, PGA, Venice Film Festival and then also won 33 Critix prizes (exactly three times the number that Crash won, btw) and then went on to LOSE Best Picture to a movie that had been released 8 months earlier to good-but-not-great reviews and that had had minimal awards exposure until very late in the race, wouldn’t you be MILDLY suspicious.
    It just so happens that the film in replace of Munich is Brokeback Mountain – a movie that involves two men having a sexual relationship. A movie that has legions of fans around the world, and a movie that has significantly moved people.
    Not everyone is claiming that homophobia was the number one reason Crash won – I’m sure there were plenty that thought it was legitimately a better movie. But you CANNOT deny (and if you do you really do lose credibility) that there is an inkling of homophobia in the air. So where there’s a pin hole, can you expect a tunnel? Possibly. Possibly not. We’ll never fully know.
    And that’s what a lot of people are frustrated about. So many gay people it feels like a slap in the face (who loved the Academy Awards even when Rob Lowe was dancing with Snow White to an Aerosmith song? THE HOMOSEXUALS!).
    It is just so hard to deny that there MAY be alterior motives behind people who cast their votes. As Nathaniel explains, not in the 77 years prior to the 78th Annual Academy Awards has their EVER been precedent for this to happen. So why now after 77 years of awarding films, did AMPAS FINALLY decide to break with tradition and not award a movie like Brokeback. What makes Brokeback so different to other epic romances that have won? I can think of ONE major difference.
    And that leads us all back to the start…

  21. Kambei says:

    Joe Leydon:
    To still believe GWB did not win the 2000 election, is to have put your head in the sand for the past 5 years. Yes, it was close, but yes, he won. I blame “reverse overanalysis” where people try to find some reason–any reason–why they didn’t get the result they wanted…
    I have always wondered why the media weren’t castigated for calling a state (incorrectly) even before all the ballots in that state were closed, let alone others…at least i live up here in Canada where we still count by hand. hehehe

  22. bicycle bob says:

    brokeback fans expected to be gift wrapped their oscar to complete their magical season. now that that didn’t happen, its world war 3 on the industry, voters, moviegoers, columnists. it reeks of pettiness.

  23. Bruce says:

    Dave continue the analysis because people aren’t getting it and you know what its a pretty big story right now. Either this which people are passionate about or running features on “The Shaggy Dog”.
    What I wonder is if “Crash” lost would we be hearing cries of racism right now from their supporters and fans? Would they be sending online petitions to the Academy complaining about it?
    The more their supporters whine and cry about things the less people will take the film seriously.

  24. Rufus Masters says:

    I don’t think 6 minority wins in almost 70 years is some kind of progress or anything to write home about. This isn’t some fact that should be applauded on stage during the telecast. This kind of glad handing is what makes these people out of touch. George Clooney said that he was proud they awarded Hattie McDaniel with an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were forced to sit in the backs of buses. What he didn’t say was that McDaniel did have to sit in the back at the Oscar ceremony where she won her award at a little table with just her and her escort. Now that’s progress right? Plus, it’s worth remembering she won for playing a slave who just loved being a slave. Excuse if I don’t do backflips for how great the Academy is and what good they do for social change.

  25. Josh says:

    How do we even know that BBM finished second in the race?

  26. Nicol D says:

    So either subconsiously or consciously, George Clooney was saying that giving him the Oscar was tantamount to giving one to Hattie McDaniel.
    Yep, I think a white millionaire Hollywood actor, who is a bachelor and fetted all around the globe with manisions in different countries winning an Academy award in 2006 is tantamount to the experiences of a black woman in 1939.
    “I’m proud to be part of this academy, proud to be part of this community, proud to be out of touch.”
    George Clooney.
    Truth to power George…truth to power.

  27. Yodas Right Nut Sac says:

    You didn’t know that millionaire actors who have homes in about 9 different countries are the same as oppressed black women who can’t drink out of the same water fountain as whites???
    Clooney was a star on THE FACTS OF LIFE. Forgive me if I don’t take what he says as gospel fact.
    He’s not Tootie.
    BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is a landmark?
    In what? The cheating spouses Hall of Fame?
    Heath Ledger has a plaque next to Michael Douglas.

  28. palmtree says:

    Two points about Crash:
    1. It never comes out against racism. I know that seems so counterintuitive, but the message of the film is not how racism is bad. Rather it is that it can be useful and not useful, it can be justified and not justified.
    2. In high school, I remember attending an assembly where an acting group came to perform skits about racism and how to deal with it. It also showed ethnicism that existed within races (Chinese people biasd against Japanese, etc.). That felt enlightening to me as a high school student, and I imagine that’s what Crash felt like to those who liked it. If I didn’t attend that assembly maybe Crash might have had more impact, but as Crash made abundantly clear, it was not a movie for me and my generation. As huge as its cast is, none of the characters represent youth. There is a generational divide, and I hope Crash haters can see that. But I also hope that Crash lovers can see why that wouldn’t appeal to someone like me.

  29. Wrecktum says:

    I find it amusing that Clooney is now the official “loonie left” punching bag of the right. I bet he finds it amusing as well.

  30. BluStealer says:

    “Crash” winning Best Picture is a landmark victory for pretentiousness everywhere. What is funny to me is it was not even the best film last year starring Terrence Howard. But life goes on. The Oscars aren’t meant to please people.

  31. ManWithNoName says:

    BluStealer, do you read ESPN’s Page 2? Because your last post is lifted straight from the Sports Guy’s intern. Are you the Intern?

  32. Hopscotch says:

    I liked Clooney’s speech because it veered off course from the normal. “Thanks, thanks, thanks, love you mom and dad.” And it’s a fair argument that Hollywood was ahead of the game on AIDS and environmental cause…but that’s about it. And I’m sure if Clooney was asked that, he’s say the same.

  33. BluStealer says:

    Yes, sir. And I still can’t believe “Crash” won.

  34. Josh says:

    What movies was Hollywood ahead of the game with on AIDS?
    Philadelphia came out in 1993.
    Hollywood isn’t a groundbreaking place. They’re behind the times because that is just how the movie industry is. They can’t help but be responders. They’re not out in front of any issue.
    Clooneys “out of touch” speech is mainly code for “i’m right”.

  35. ManWithNoName says:

    Yes, you read, or yes, you are?
    If you are, I enjoy your posts almost as much as Simmons’ stuff. Kudos on a job well done, and when do you graduate from the internship program? I thought it was going to be an annual contest.

  36. Melquiades says:

    “So either subconsiously or consciously, George Clooney was saying that giving him the Oscar was tantamount to giving one to Hattie McDaniel.”
    Um… what? Way to build a straw man argument, Nicol!
    Much easier to win an argument when you don’t have to live in the real world (something you must have learned from the Bush administration).

  37. Hopscotch says:

    Longtime Companion came out a few years earlier than Philadelphia. Bruce Davison was nominated for that film.

  38. Josh says:

    George Clooney? The really big star with two hits (in ensemble pieces) under his belt? That star? He couldn’t open a can of tuna. They just really want him to be a star .

  39. Josh says:

    Longtime Companion came out in 1991.
    Not exactly on the forefront on the AIDS epidemic.

  40. CleanSteve says:

    Dave’s comment about “self-loathing” is exactly my feeling. You can debate from now until the end of time about which is the better movie. But the entire idea surrounding BBM that the movie needed to win in order to make some sort of statement, or usher in a new era or legitimize the homosexual community is not only silly and wrong but is disrespectful to homosexuals. You don’t need this movie, this product, to win an arcane award in order to make a statement. And that is what has frustrated me through the whole season. It means NOTHING. the world didn’t automatically become 18% more homophobic when CRASH won. It may have become 23% dumber, but that’s not the same thing.
    The Ramones never won a Grammy. Yet they still mean the world to me and they still mattered. BBM not winning this stupid award–an award that matters only to careers and wallets–means nothing unless you make it mean something. The movie isn’t even ground-zero for homosexual cinema, or even the best example. It made some money. How about parlaying that into the idea that gay love stories are now somewhat more profitable than they have ever been, and you will get more of them. That’s a much better thing than getting that statue, isn’t it??
    And isn’t it also possible that BBM lost because it wasn’t as well liked?? Or that it was viewed as being really just a conventional”forbidden love story” that didn’t get as far below the surface as it’s beautiful photogaphy indicates?? Granted, chosing CRASH instead muddies up those waters, but as several people have said BBM may have lost by one vote. For all we know it was one vote, one person who found the movie boring. There are even–gasp!–homosexuals who found it boring and even false. Are they homphobic??
    It’s all a mess. You can’t impose rules or form on something like these awards. Good luck with that.

  41. bicycle bob says:

    if the fans of brokeback handle this better they’re gonna be better off in the long run. sometimes pictures and years are better remembered for who didn’t win. not who won.

  42. Hopscotch says:

    I was in high school in the late 1990’s. In my health class my teacher asked, “How do people get AIDS.” MOST of the class truly believed you can get AIDS from kissing someone with who has it…
    Clearly America isn’t all on the same page on AIDS. Clearly, politicians were a bit reluctant to inform us about it because SEX makes people uncomfortable. And Hollywood made it a subject matter for films. This isn’t really the place to go off on it, but it’s a subject I’ve read a lot about and care a lot about.

  43. Charly Baltimore says:

    Where did you go to school? Guam? I may have to blame the parents and teachers in your community for being terrible educators.
    THE RAMONES never won a Grammy. Rock on. It’s art. Art wasn’t meant to be loved by all.
    I respect the SEX PISTOLS for turning down the rock n roll Hall of Fame too. You don’t need a trophy to say you did a good job.

  44. Hopscotch says:

    Another reason Crahs won was the Director/Writer Paul Haggis. This guy has worked on both TV and Films as a writer, producer and director, and he had a Heart Attack in the middle of the production of Crash. The film was almost taken away from him, but he refused on the his hospital bed and wanted to complete his vision…
    an inspiring story. one of those things that people sympathize with. And let’s face it, some of those big awards are centered on sympathy, i.e. “he’s never won before, let’s give it to him.”

  45. Charly Baltimore says:

    He won for MILLION DOLLAR BABY just last year.

  46. CleanSteve says:

    Not only that but despite what seems like overwhelming hatered for CRASH, it’s actually a genuinely well-liked film. Liked by an awful lot of people. Maybe, in an instance of optimism, you can concede it won because people liked it?? Maybe.
    BBM was not the one true hope, the last chance, the bottom of the 9th. It was the latest step in a walk that’s been going on for years. Too many eggs in that basket, it seems. And it was just a movie.

  47. Hopscotch says:

    Close enough, public high school in Texas. And to argue high school kids are uninformed probably won’t win me any points, but I think its true that Washington and other leaders were afraid to inform people about this disease and how it was caused early on. They only started when women, children and famous figures that weren’t gay became infected.
    It takes movies years to get developed, written, shot and onto the big screens. So while Philadelphia wasn’t exactly out of the gate while AIDS first hit national attention, I cut it slack.

  48. Hopscotch says:

    Haggis was nominated for writing…and he lost to Sideways. And Eastwood and Albert Ruddy excepted on behalf of Best Picture, not Haggis.

  49. Bruce says:

    I’m praying the 2006 race is this interesting and has this much controversy involved with it.
    I thought that the people behind the scenes were spinning “Crash” to spike some ratings. But they turned out to be on point.

  50. ArchiveGuy says:

    “But to argue that more than 50% of voting Academy members are homophobic and unwilling to vote for Brokeback Mountain on that basis is patently absurd.”
    Dave has plenty of Straw Men in this debate, but this one’s a consistent Beaut.
    *NOBODY* is arguing that 50% of voting Academy members are homophobic. Nobody.
    But all you need is 20.01% of the vote to win, and I think there’s very little doubt that it was a close race between “Crash” and “Brokeback”. And remember, the “rumors” about AMPAS members refusing to consider Ang’s film were backed up by Tony Curtis going on Larry King and stating this out loud. What are the odds he was the ONLY Academy member to feel this way?
    The race was close, and no doubt many people voted for “Crash” to win because they liked it better/felt it superior, etc. But there were some obvious undercurrents of homophobia there, and even if it was only a small percentage, it is perfectly reasonable to suspect that it was still big enough to tilt the balance.
    Dave barely mentions “The English Patient”, but it had more graphic sex and nudity than “Brokeback”, it also focused on an adulterous relationship (with a Nazi collaborator no less!), and with only a fraction of the precursors “Brokeback” had, managed to go on and win 9 Oscars.
    This is worth reiterating:
    “As Nathaniel explains, not in the 77 years prior to the 78th Annual Academy Awards has their EVER been precedent for this to happen. So why now after 77 years of awarding films, did AMPAS FINALLY decide to break with tradition and not award a movie like Brokeback?”
    Dave glibly throws up “Munich” distractions and false analogies but he never addresses this question. “Coming Home” did not have the precursor support “Brokeback” did. “Sideways” didn’t. “Reds” didn’t. Not even “Private Ryan”. So why does the Academy choose this year to so egregiously assert its independence and support so dramatic of an underdog?
    Can anyone think of any Best Picture nominee ever that had so many people in the mainstream media (from Chris Matthews to Don Imus to Bill O’Reilly) opining about a film that they so proudly bragged about *not* seeing? “Brokeback” became a movie it was safe to have an opinion about without actually sitting down and watching it. Is there any reason not to think that more than a few AMPAS members *might* be susceptible to this notion? And is it so far-fetched to conclude that that’s where you might find the (likely) razor-thin voting margin that makes a “Crash” win possible?

  51. Charly Baltimore says:

    But that’s the problem.
    We’ll never know the voting tally. BROKEBACK could have finished 4th instead of the assumed second.
    It’s all assumptions really. You assume that homophobia plays a role. You assume it finished second. You assume that members didn’t see it.
    My question is this. Why does this movie need validation from the AMPAS? Did RAGING BULL fans go hog wild and claim anti Italian feelings when it lost?

  52. bicycle bob says:

    it just goes to show u that the precursors mean nothing and are highly overrated.
    what no one mentions about the voters is they like voting for their friends and big films and films where a lot of people work on sets. crash was indie but it had a large cast of well known actors and a director who has been around. they had a studio that really pushed it. and they had stars willing to campaign and get out in public. all brokeback had was buzz, precursors, and stars who didn’t seem to care. i really think ledgers award season act really cost the movie.

  53. CleanSteve says:

    **Can anyone think of any Best Picture nominee ever that had so many people in the mainstream media (from Chris Matthews to Don Imus to Bill O’Reilly) opining about a film that they so proudly bragged about *not* seeing? “Brokeback” became a movie it was safe to have an opinion about without actually sitting down and watching it. Is there any reason not to think that more than a few AMPAS members *might* be susceptible to this notion? And is it so far-fetched to conclude that that’s where you might find the (likely) razor-thin voting margin that makes a “Crash” win possible?**
    And is it too far-fetched to assume that they just liked CRASH more???? It seems that the only side in this debate that isn’t considering alternate theories is the “it’s all homophobia” crowd. And did you really expect to wake up Monday morning after a BBM win and find policy shifts on gay marriage/adoption, or the world more open-minded?? Do you really believe you can elminate 100% of the world’s homophobia at all, much less with a Jake Gyllenhalmovie??
    Perspective, man. This sort of all-or-nothing thinking does far more damage to the cause then good. It sounds like spoiled baby bitching, not reasonable debate.

  54. palmtree says:

    Or you could make the opposite argument: the precursors are more meaningful and the Oscars are just a popularity contest. Bicycle, your second paragraph definitely reinforces that view.

  55. Terence D says:

    It has never been about the movies this Oscar season. It was about making a statement. It was about a movement. The people that were behind Brokeback Mountain just wanted to win because of who they were and what the movie represented. They didn’t care about the movie or what they were competing against. They just wanted to win the big prize and then show the world that they mattered. Like they need a movie to confirm their place in this world.
    As you can tell, no complaints about the Oscars have to do with the movies themselves. They can’t look in the mirror and say to themselves “maybe the movie didn’t play to Oscar voters”, or “Crash played better to the masses and had a better campaign that utilized its talents”. They can’t criticize the movie they lost to. Picking out what they think is wrong with Crash. Why they should have it. It’s all about the dreaded homophobia. I think some wanted to lose just so they could show everyone that homophbia is alive and well and even operates in, gasp, Hollywood.
    Now you see online petitions. You see national known columnists writing articles about how homophobia did in the favorite. Making sure that is known out there that that is the only reason Crash won. But you won’t see any articles from a Brokeback supporter debating the merits of their movie vs Crash. You read an intelligent, well thought of column by the master of movie criticism, Roger Ebert, and they don’t listen to it. They blow him off like he’s crazy and out of touch. We’re talking about Roger Ebert. Even if you disagree with him you have to listen to what he has to say.
    David Poland dealt with this for three months here. Every Oscar column where he played devils advocate and used his expertise he got shouted down as a “Munich loving homophobe” who was blind to the real world and the voters.

  56. palmtree says:

    The Oscar would not have made homophobia go away…except perhaps in one example. It would force the studios to wake up and see that they can make a film with this subject matter. Like any award, you use it to get the upper hand in negotiations and to have a gay script and be able to say “BM won Best Picture,” you’d probably have a better chance of getting a greenlight. Having said that, BM made its point and will still lead to more greenlights I feel.

  57. ManWithNoName says:

    ^^^ palmtree, a filmmaker can point to BBM’s box office as a reason to get a film greenlit. I would think a studio exec would be more impressed by that than the BP win. Prestige is great, but money still rules, and BBM proves there is a market for quality, gay-themed movies.

  58. palmtree says:

    ManWithNoName, I wish that were more true, but as impressive as the gross is, it will still not be a big moneymaker. In other words, this may lead to more quality gay themed films with equally small budgets.

  59. ManWithNoName says:

    And what is wrong with that? No business is going to throw $100 million at a movie with no potential to outgross the budget. Studios aren’t going to be making more multi-story racial dramas in the future either. But they will make Tyler Perry films for small budgets and moderate grosses, and that’s a good thing.
    Why would a gay-themed film need a huge budget anyway? Romantic dramas or comedies don’t need big budgets, even with “name” leads. What kind of movie are you looking for that requires a huge budget?
    Good filmmakers will work with the budget constraints and make quality art. And a studio will look at a $50 million return on investment as a good bet to complement their franchise and tentpole films.

  60. jeffmcm says:

    The worst thing about Brokeback losing is that it’s given, er, contributors like Terence D. above license to repeat all the bigoted, uninformed stuff that he had said all along in the months ahead of time. Then (as now) he gives no sign of actually having seen the movie but merely wants to quash and attacks its supporters. Every arguments he makes can be turned directly around against him about ‘movements’ and ignoring critics and so on. It must feel very good to have your views validated by the privileged elite of the Academy.

  61. palmtree says:

    I’m not disagreeing with you at all. I never said they need huge budgets (even a modest $50 million budget would be over 3 times bigger). In my original post, I said there would be more greenlights. Can’t we just agree to agree?
    Yet still those who want to can use the Best Pic loss as evidence that it still doesn’t work and BM was an anomaly. For one thing, I don’t think BM can get to $100 million anymore, which was always contingent on the Best Pic win.

  62. James Leer says:

    ManWithNoName, I’ll answer your BluStealer question for you… BluStealer is one of the approximately 15 aliases used by the same guy on this blog (others used in this topic include Josh, Bruce, LesterFreed, etc.). The reason BluStealer’s post sounded ripped off from The Sports Guy is because it most likely was, because Alias Man doesn’t actually see many movies and will pretend to have and restate other opinions and conventional wisdom in order to stay in the conversation.
    This is permitted by DP for some reason he has never shared with us.
    I don’t think anyone here has stated that Brokeback winning Best Pic would solve homophobia, CleanSteve, but if you see that in a post maybe you could point it out for me? Suggesting that homophobia played a part in its loss is an entirely different thing as opposed to the straw man argument you’re setting up.

  63. Mark Ziegler says:

    “Dave glibly throws up “Munich” distractions and false analogies but he never addresses this question. “Coming Home” did not have the precursor support “Brokeback” did. “Sideways” didn’t. “Reds” didn’t. Not even “Private Ryan”. So why does the Academy choose this year to so egregiously assert its independence and support so dramatic of an underdog?”
    That is why they are called…. Upsets.

  64. Melquiades says:

    I think one reason for the rabid reaction by Brokeback fans is that Crash is probably the most divisive film to ever win the Best Picture Oscar.
    Think about it… the Oscar winner is usually very safe. People dislike Titanic and Forrest Gump for being too “populist” but have you ever seen this kind of vehement hatred of a Best Picture winner before? And I mean before it won Best Picture.
    I know, because I’m one of the haters. This is a bad movie, and not in the way people say A Beautiful Mind or Chicago or Million Dollar Baby are bad. It’s offensively bad.
    It has plenty of fans, enough to get it the Oscar win, but it has more strong detractors than any winner I can think of.

  65. jeffmcm says:

    One of my friends didn’t like Titanic, but he wasn’t especially annoyed by its Oscar win because it fits the Best Picture formula – epic scope, huge hit – and because it was the obvious frontrunner for a long time.
    Crash doesn’t fit this template. It’s a bad movie that won for mysterious reasons (although the hometown pride issue makes the most sense).

  66. PandaBear says:

    Oscar win or not Brokeback will go down as a big success. Something that was in doubt before it was released.
    It made its investors money. That’s all you need to get more gay themed movies made. Once Hollywood realizes theres a profit to be made in gay theme movies it’ll greenlight a bunch more.
    If there are no gay themed movies with big directors in the next five years, I’ll buy into the homophobia thing.

  67. PandaBear says:

    I don’t think much of Crash myself. But there seems to be many out there that do think its the cats meow. Maybe if I was a huge Brokeback fan I’d be mad right now. But I was a Munich supporter so my ship sailed in December.

  68. joefitz84 says:

    I got a terrible Oscar hangover. Getting sick of hearing about two films I really didn’t like and will probably never see again. I think they both should have lost and I may just write to my local Academy voter and complain.
    So, when is the “51 Weeks to Oscar” column coming up???

  69. Yodas Right Nut Sac says:

    They decided to split the awards. They do this a lot.
    Usually, they give someone an award to make up for the past. Would there be this much anger if they have Best Dir to Haggis and Best Pic to BROKEBACK?
    Ang Lee would go HULK on someone.

  70. Josh says:

    No one is going to change their minds on the Brokeback side of this. I do see their position on it since this is the first time you ever had a film dominate every single pre award show and critics group and then lose the Best Picture. They completely dominated it and lost to a film that had zero heat on it until the last two weeks. I’d be shaking my head too.

  71. Crow T Robot says:

    What kills me about all of this is that there was absolutely ZERO BUZZ this past year of Crash being a best picture winner — unlike say Silence of The Lambs which was released in Feb 1991 where we all knew it could go the distance. The love for Crash just seemed to pop up out of nowhere since the nominees were announced. Very strange.
    (And Leer can you send me an updated list if “The Jackel’s” aliases? I don’t want to end up calling him a weirdo twice.)

  72. Lynn says:

    “So either subconsiously or consciously, George Clooney was saying that giving him the Oscar was tantamount to giving one to Hattie McDaniel.”
    No, that’s not what he said. He was said he was proud to be *part of an organization* that was sometimes ahead of the curve of what is acceptable in mainstream society. In the case of Hattie McDaniel, it was the mere act of giving an award to a black woman in 1939. In his case (and the other nom for Syriana), it was recognizing a movie that suggests some deeply uncomfortable truths with no easy solutions. Doing so is clearly — dare I say — out of touch with what is acceptable in the current sociopoligical climate. As much as giving a prestigious award to a black woman was out of touch with the sociopolitical climate in 1939.
    I guess the analogy was just too complex for some people.

  73. quicksilver4u says:

    Why is a good film like Crash getting beaten up on all film sites the past three days? Crash was moving and thought provoking. It sounds as if many people didn’t even give it a chance or see it. No film had better acting in it this year. It is a well deserved Oscar winner. I’m afraid it is going to be always remembered as the film that stole the Oscar away. It deserves its win no matter what people are saying about it.

  74. Charly Baltimore says:

    Forgive me if I don’t pat the Academy members on the back for their treatment of minorities in the past 80 some odd years.
    I can count on my hand how many awards and how many nominations they’ve given to people of color.
    An average of one a decade is not my idea of being progressive on race.
    That is not a record that someone should be proud of.

  75. ManWithNoName says:

    Thanks, Leer. I remember the insanely long threads a month or two ago about the Man With Many Names, but just kind of ignored it.
    Quicksilver, I don’t necessarily agree with you about Crash, but I respect that opinion and believe many people felt that way.
    I never saw BBM so can’t comment on its worthiness versus Crash.

  76. CleanSteve says:

    **I don’t think anyone here has stated that Brokeback winning Best Pic would solve homophobia, CleanSteve, but if you see that in a post maybe you could point it out for me? Suggesting that homophobia played a part in its loss is an entirely different thing as opposed to the straw man argument you’re setting up**
    Then what is then? Are you gonna tell me all this whining and childishness was because they just wanted that shiney gold trophy for themselves?? But the big bad homophobes gave it to another film of equal (i.e. mediocre) quality? And even if they had The Oscar, what does that symbol then represent?? “The Academy endorses gays officially with this shiny golden trophy!! A victory against homophobia!!! Hooray!!” Is it that or is it just “we wants the precious!!!” I am not a homophobe. But simplifying issues and obsessing over a freaking meaningless award, and as Terrence D said (& agree with everything he wrote) finding homophobia in everything. It’s self-loathing and it minimizes important issues such as violence against gays and civil rights issues. It is the silliest, saddest and most misdirected bunch of energy I can remember. BATMAN BEGINS wasn’t even nominated. The Justice League of America needs to take out an ad in Variety post haste!!

  77. Me says:

    I really doubt that people just suddenly decided to like Crash. It did very good business in the summer, when it was released. Then it had been out on DVD for a long while before the nominations came out. People (especially on this blog) were surprised and assume it was the fifth one, but considering that it is the most popular of the 5 nominees on IMDB, there’s a good chance that it was a lot higher than that.
    Also, just because a lot of people dislike it, that doesn’t really mean anything. You don’t vote *against* the nominees, you vote *for* them. And as many people as hate Crash, really love it.
    Whether they loved it enough to win in the first place, or whether the campaigning legitamized its chances of winning, people decided that it was worth voting for.
    It was as much a Crash win as it was a BBM loss.

  78. CleanSteve says:

    One more comment. And I apologize for being flip in my previous post. I just couldn’t help it. I also know I don’t post here a lot and beg you to just deal with me for a moment.
    I don’t want to steer this away from the movies but the other thing that really bothers me about this is the fact that unknown people, people who may very well be innocent, are being labelled in many quarters as “homophobes.” Now I’m not gonna defend Hollywood. Not at all. But nobody knows WHO voted for CRASH, MUNICH, GN&GL, or CAPOTE. Is fair to lump them all together as homophobes?? Isn’t that kind of kneejerk name-calling what we wanna eleiminate?? If a big part of the issue is sensitivity and tolerence, why not start by being sensitive to the fact that there are perfectly good people who did not like BBM and voted against it rather than throw out blanket assertions. I love movies as much as anyone but I don’t understand the bald-faced anger and cruelty over this one film. It was a victory long before March 5. It should be savored and enjoyed and used as a hopeful sign, not as a way to furthur divide.
    Thank you. Carry on with the enetrtaining debate. I read these boards religiously. Always very enjoyable.

  79. CleanSteve says:

    I should not have used the phrase “voted against it” in my previous post. Me made a good point. I’m trying to be positive!! Bad choice of words. Forgive me, my betters.

  80. ManWithNoName says:

    ^^ Shut up, you homophobic bastard! 🙂

  81. CleanSteve says:

    Heh. Yea. Thing is, the inability to seperate the issue from the film (that includes me) is the real problem. That and the fact that I just can’t get my head around the virtual and emotional bloodbath over…what?…a symbol. A movie. It’s disconcerting. I’m not normally a glas-half-full guy but in this case I truly believe you should be thrilled that you half a glass and work on filling it the rest of the way, not smashing it on the floor.
    That’s my final anaolgy of the evening. Thank you & good night.

  82. palmtree says:

    To truly declare homophobia would require much more evidence than we have at hand. I will say this though: if BM with all its accolades, zeitgeistiness, and box office still can’t win Best Picture, then I have to doubt that any other film with similar subject matter could either (at least in today’s cinematic climate).
    If only they had made Santa Monica-back Mountain, where a large celebrity cast of characters interact in Los Angeles while they deny themselves fulfilling gay love, perhaps then Focus could finally get a trophy.

  83. Sanchez says:

    Hollywood is so homophobic. They hate homosexuals even when they gave the homosexual movie the most total nominations and 3 Oscars.

  84. quicksilver4u says:

    It is unfair to lump all voters into a homophobic category. What if they really liked other movies better? It is certainly possible people watched all five films and decided they liked one film better than another. Does that make someone a homophobe?
    People really loved Crash. Me included. It is not a movie that came from nowhere to win. It wasn’t an alternative/safe pick. It has been around since May and had big time supporters following it’s trail.

  85. palmtree says:

    It did come out of nowhere. It basically sat out most of the precursors and then Lionsgate made a mad dash to the finish. I’m not trying to diminish your love of Crash but that’s basically what happened.

  86. Me says:

    Yeah, but if you consider that most of the precursors were critics awards (which BBM fared better with) or foreign awards (where anything could have come into play), it isn’t surprising. Oscar is a popular (based on raw votes) of a wide section of the industry. Considering Crash has a higher IMDB vote than the others, it’s not surprising it would win a popular award.
    I’ll grant you, Lionsgate put on one hell of a campaign. And if you want to claim they bought it in the same way Miramax used to “buy” their awards, so be it. But at the end of the day, all the DVDs did was get people to watch the movie. They voted for it themselves.

  87. palmtree says:

    Me, the difference is that Focus could have sent out the same number of BM DVDs and still people wouldn’t watch it. By contrast, I haven’t heard of any critics groups who voted BM best picture without watching it. Incidentally, the only precursor Crash win for Best Picture came from Chicago aka Ebertsville.
    I sincerely hope IMDB can become a reliable indicator of Oscar worth. Then Sin City would have been a nominee.

  88. Josh says:

    Maybe Ebert has more pull with voters than anything else. It is possible. It’s also possible that the precursors mean squat. Maybe the voters resent the precursors and them predicting wins.

  89. Martin S says:

    If Christine Vachon, someone I hold with great admiration, comes out and says “homophobia”, I’ll listen. But I guarentee that she’d look at the argument being made and think it’s sophistry at best.
    What exactly does the vocal gay community expect from The Industry? Palmtree inferred something about “modestly budgeted gay films”…isn’t that what Vachon has been doing for, I dunno, a decade? Doesn’t her work count? Or is this actually about studio money = validation. A psych could have a field day with the parental issues at work with that.
    And Lynn – what is so inane about Clooney’s comments are simple; Hattie’s award was symbolic because of who she was at that time. Clooney’s win carries no similar importance. Why? Because the Academy had already carried Syriana’s water. It was called F9/11.

  90. Cadavra says:

    Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that GN&GL–easily the safest and least controversial of the five BP nominees, as well as the least disliked–was the surprise winner. Would that be a vote “for” GN&GL or “against” BBM?
    This is not a rhetorial question. I’d really like some opinions.

  91. Cadavra says:

    That’s supposed to be “rhetorical,” of course.

  92. palmtree says:

    Martin, I wouldn’t call Vachon’s films modestly budgeted. They are low budget films, some are high for an indie project but still low when compared to a studio film. And of course her work counts.
    It’s not about studio money, because BM was made by a division of Uni and Capote was made by a division of Sony. It’s about having the freedom to tell stories and to pitch it to people, whether they are studio people, distributors, broadcasters, etc., and to say a previous film did $100 million, a previous film won Best Picture. And that’s not even me saying I need for that to happen…I just wanted to say that the one single case in which an Oscar win would alleviate homophobia in a tangible way would be this.

  93. jeffmcm says:

    My opinion is that there was a small-scale Brokeback backlash (as has raged on this blog for months) and Academy voters chose something that, even though it is widely hated, also is the most old-fashioned, and therefore safe-seeming of the bunch. If GNGL had somehow won, I don’t think there would be as much uproar, but then I’m incredibly biased against Crash. I consider it to contain so little worthy content that there was really nothing in it to vote for at all.

  94. palmtree says:

    GNGL winning best picture would cause an even bigger uproar than Crash winning. GNGL won fewer precursors than even Crash. On top of that, while Crash was gettin talked about in various quarters, GNGL was getting no increased buzz as the campaign wore on. And GNGL is even more safe than Crash because for all intents and purposes it is morally black and white film.
    Now having said all that, I still think it’s a better film than Crash.

  95. jeffmcm says:

    It is a better film than Crash; it’s also less hated, as I believe you said, except by people who are, I guess, pro-Joseph McCarthy. Even though it’s more ‘black and white’, it’s still less conventional than Crash formally, at least.
    I think if it had somehow won, out of nowhere, the reaction would be one of general confusion.

  96. Bruce says:

    No matter what film won there would have been an uproar from the Brokeback fans out there. Even Good Night, Good Luck wouldn’t have been exempt from this. Half of their anger stems from the fact that Brokeback had no perceived challengers for the past 2 months.

  97. palmtree says:

    Well if Capote won, accusations of homophobia would have less credence. If Munich won, accusations of the “safe pick” would have less credence. But that’s true Bruce, when you start to take the win for granted, anything less is as Ang Lee said a disappointment.

  98. Joe Leydon says:

    Jeff, I can understand your disliking “Crash.” but I can’t see how you can say it is “widely hated.” As Me points out in his posting, the movie has a pretty respectable IMDb rating from civlians (not critics) and even scores fairly well with critics (77 percent) on the Rotten Tomatoes meter. Sorry, but by any reasonble measure, that does not translate in “widely hated.”
    Now, I’ll grant you, in certain insular circles, it may be INTENSELY hated, but….

  99. James Leer says:

    I think the other nominees had less detractors and it would not have been as controversial if they had won, though it would definitely be surprising.
    “Clooney’s win carries no similar importance. Why? Because the Academy had already carried Syriana’s water. It was called F9/11.”
    Totally! I mean, who can forget all those zero Oscars F9/11 was nominated for?

  100. martindale says:

    I agree with most of your posts. I’ll also add that since Brokeback had been hyped up to not only be the best of the year but also one of the best of all-time, many Academy members probably felt a bit underwhelmed by the movie when they got around to seeing it. I know I did. With all the hype surrounding, it’s definitely possible.

  101. jeffmcm says:

    Overhype is a problem, but one that can’t really be helped. I don’t think ‘best movie of all time’ was ever stated by anyone except the really rabid fans, but if that’s what people came in expecting, then most people would be bound to be disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Brokeback for the first time because the original trailers looked SO CHEESY! So the movie had a greater impact by not being bad.

  102. Filmsnob says:

    I think some AMPAS members were voting against Brokeback more than voting for Crash. They knew Crash had the only shot to beat it and they went with it. It’s funny because Crash a film about the evils of prejudice won because of it.
    It’s the last Oscar telecast for me.

  103. jeffmcm says:

    So is your theory that they were voting against Brokeback just to stem the tide of hype, or for some other, more insidious reason?

  104. Tommy says:

    See this Movie review over on MSN for a movie coming out this next weekend? (interesting back story by the by) But what caught my eye is the quote at the end of a long article. People this sh#@ has legs:

  105. David Poland says:

    Crash had many hard core detractors from the start, including me. My review starts, “I hate Crash.”
    But as I always remind, Oscar voters cannot vote against a film. And the people who love Crash are every bit as passionate as those of us who do not.

  106. palmtree says:

    Agreed, Mr. Poland. Crash won because people liked it. The only sort of fishy thing about it is that it was reported that some people wouldn’t even consider BM for Best Picture since they wouldn’t screen it. If that amounted to enough people, then perhaps BM didn’t have a chance although I’d really be surprised if that was the case.

  107. jeffmcm says:

    A lot of people really loving a movie like Crash is probably worse than an anti-Brokeback conspiracy.
    I guess the lesson is: put a lot of screaming into your movie and you can get the actors’ branch to vote for it.

  108. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    “What I wonder is if “Crash” lost would we be hearing cries of racism right now from their supporters and fans? Would they be sending online petitions to the Academy complaining about it?”
    If Crash had won the DGA, PGA, WGA, BAFTA, Venice, had the highest box-office and 33 Critix awards then yes I’m sure there’s be an uproar that it lost. And that is our point. Why after all these years of going with the flow did AMPAS decide to go with an underdog. And why an underdog that was released 9 months ago to good-but-not-great reviews and minimal awards buzz (everyone figured a Screenplay nomination and that ONLY) – especially when AMPAS are FAMOUS for ignoring early movies.
    Some people are saying we (ie; Brokeback fans) “don’t get it” well I think a lot of those people also “don’t get it”. If your favourite movie had won as many prizes as it did you’d be angry and confused too.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon