Author Topic: Post-Oscar news coverage  (Read 65650 times)

Offline ennisandjack

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #150 on: Mar 16, 2006, 05:22 PM »
Link to interview with Ebert about Oscar BP outcome on Afterelton.com

http://www.afterelton.com/movies/2006/3/ebert.html

Offline chameau

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #151 on: Mar 16, 2006, 05:40 PM »
ennisandjack!

Thank yo so much for all those great articles  ;)
La dictature c'est ''ferme ta geule'', la démocratie c'est ''cause toujours''
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Offline hidesert

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #152 on: Mar 17, 2006, 10:31 AM »

Brokeback Breakdown[/b]
 
John Moore
National Post, Canada | Thursday, March 16, 2006



Brokeback Mountain's loss to Crash at the Oscars is not a scandal. Nor is it a slap in the face of gays, or a flash-bulb view into America's dark homophobic heart. Given the hand-wringing, Irish-wake-worthy keening and on-line recriminations that have abounded since the upset pick, I feel it's my duty as a movie-goer to tell my fellow cineastes: get a key grip.

The influential Kenneth Turan, film critic for The Los Angeles Times and NPR's Morning Edition, wrote that "In the privacy of the voting booth, as many political candidates who've led in polls only to lose elections have found out, [Academy members were] free to act out the unspoken fears and unconscious prejudices that they would never breathe to another soul, or, likely, acknowledge to themselves. And at least this year, that acting out doomed Brokeback." The Boston Globe mawkishly posited "better to give the award to the people who clean our closets than to the men who live in them." Stephen King sniffed in response to Crash's pick that "American pop culture is intent on passing this passionate, well-meant, and well-made movie like a kidney stone." One Advocate magazine online columnist even went so far as to say that when Brokeback, comes out on DVD, he'll buy two -- as if stuffing more money into the pockets of producers will teach all those alleged Hollywood haters a good lesson.

The normally reserved Annie Proulx, author of the short story that was adapted for Brokeback, waited a week to enter the post Oscar fray. But she made up for the delay with shrillness. In a screed published in Britain's Guardian, she excoriates academy members and gratuitously refers to the winning movie as "Trash." Classy stuff.

Here, of course, is where I have to tell you that BBM (as devoted fans refer to it) is a great movie -- lest you suspect I believe otherwise. In fact, it ranks amongst the few dozen movies that, in my 15 years as a critic, I have pronounced to be near-perfect. Its economy of language and emotional depth make it an instant classic; one of those films people will love and study for generations, just as they do Witness (1985), beaten for Best Picture by the tedious Out of Africa; and The Sixth Sense (1999), crushed by American Beauty's smug attack on suburbia.

Brokeback has resonance outside of the gay community precisely because its theme is universal. Beyond a tale of love and loss, it's the story of two people whose relationship is thwarted by circumstance. Shakespeare knew this was a good one when he wrote Romeo and Juliet in 1596. James Cameron used it as the framework for his otherwise clumsy Titanic, arguably the most recent instance previous to Brokeback whereby people developed a heroin-like addiction to cinematic tragedy on a mass-market scale. (Teenage girls used to get together to cry while listening to Celine Dion sing My Heart Will Go On.)

On the other hand, Crash is also an excellent movie. Was it better than Brokeback? Debating that is as pointless as debating whether Titanic (1997) really was better than As Good as it Gets, Good Will Hunting and LA Confidential (I think we can all concede The Full Monty was a dubious nominee).

The more important question is why it matters so much to people that Brokeback didn't win. To answer this, it's helpful to go back to the 2001 Oscar campaign. The prevailing wisdom that year was that Halle Berry had to win the Best Actress prize for her performance in Monster's Ball. The imperative arose from the fact that in 74 years, Oscar had never rewarded an African American in the category. It didn't matter whether Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Sissy Spacek or Renee Zellweger had handed in a superior performance: If Halle didn't win it would be an insult to African Americans.

In the Best Actor category, Julia Roberts lobbied for Denzel Washington with the absurd suggestion that his previous Supporting Actor Oscar for Glory had amounted to only a kind of junior membership in the Academy, and the time had come for a promotion. Both Berry and Washington won and, to paraphrase John Stewart's hilarious deadpan following this year's self-congratulatory clip reel tribute to issue films, "discrimination against African Americans was never a problem again."

The somewhat regrettable reality for many Brokeback fans is that they have allowed a two-and-a-half-hour cinema experience to become a surrogate for the place of gays and lesbians in the greater community. Reviews -- positive and negative -- were presumed to be a litmus test for homophobia. Every award, every dollar in box office and every favourable mention of the movie in the mainstream media was turned into a rung on the ladder toward final and absolute acceptance.

And so, beyond the question of merit, Brokeback's Oscar outcome was transformed into a referendum on a community: For many gays and lesbians, a win would apparently salve every psychic wound suffered from bigots. Perhaps more importantly, an Oscar would provide a gold-plated cudgel with which to beat down loose canons like Ann Coulter, who furiously denounced the film while admitting they hadn't seen it. (For the record, Coulter hated all of the nominees and saw none of them.)

Like just about everyone, I was astonished when Jack Nicholson revealed that the winner of the Best Picture Oscar was Crash. But I'll get over it. As Oscar upsets go, it hardly ranks up there with 1952, when the cartoonish The Greatest Show on Earth beat out High Noon.

We will never know how the academy voted. Maybe Brokeback lost by only one vote. In the end, it really doesn't matter. Gentlemen's Agreement didn't end anti-Semitism. In the Heat of the Night didn't end racial discrimination. Philadelphia didn't really change the struggle against AIDS. Brokeback Mountain's fans have to shake it off. America neither loves nor hates gays and lesbians any more than it did the minute before the envelope was torn open.


Offline ethan

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #153 on: Mar 17, 2006, 02:00 PM »
Thanks, ennisandjack & hidesert for posting these articles. Very interesting.
Remembering Pierre (chameau) 1960-2015, a "Capricorn bro and crazy Frog Uncle from the North Pole." You are missed

Offline chameau

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #154 on: Mar 17, 2006, 02:14 PM »
Thanks hidesert!
La dictature c'est ''ferme ta geule'', la démocratie c'est ''cause toujours''
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Offline bnjmn3

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #155 on: Mar 17, 2006, 03:58 PM »
Brokeback Mountain is a tremendous work of art.  The short story was written as an example of rural homophobia. The film, while a love story about two people who happen to be men during certain time and in a certain part of this country, is about the results of repression. I would not think that BBM would change too many minds concerning homosexuality (although the huge demographic of women who attended BBM did surprise, me but not Focus Features) just as...

Million Dollar Baby (not nearly as artistic as BBM) would change opinions on euthanasia;

Silence of the Lambs increase the # of Serial Killers or membership at the FBI;

Gone with The Wind  motivate people to run plantations;

Chicago
  invite people to sing in courtrooms with alot of crotch shots.(How could the Hours not win?---also about repression); or

Out of Africa encourage people to hunt Lions or move to Africa and start a plantation.

BMM is not a message film. There was message sent by certain members of the Academy who clearly voted against BBM even without seeing it. That is the problem.

We can't change it. We will have to stand it.

Offline tpe

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Another S**thead Outrage
« Reply #156 on: Mar 17, 2006, 03:58 PM »
From http://goldderby.latimes.com/awards_goldderby/2006/03/another_oscar_o.html

-----------------------------------------------

Another Oscar outrage from Tony Curtis


Photo: Still defiant — Tony Curtis never won an Oscar but was nominated for best actor of 1958 for "The Defiant Ones," costarring Sydney Poitier. He lost to David Niven ("Separate Tables").
(United Artists)


As if Tony Curtis hasn't caused enough trouble this awards season, now he's harrumphing, "Everyone takes the Oscars too seriously — it's ape s**t and so fake!"

He made the accusation of fakery while being honored at Britain's Empire Awards and the charge can easily be verified by Curtis himself, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences who told Fox News Channel that he had no intention of watching "Brokeback Mountain" before voting for the Academy Award for best picture.

When The Envelope contacted the academy for reaction to Curtis' "Brokeback" comment, executive director Bruce Davis said, "The ballot contains a very clear instruction that you're not supposed to vote in the categories in which you haven't seen every nominee."

Curtis' honorary Empire Award was presented by Roger Moore, who starred opposite Curtis in the short-lived TV series "The Persuaders" back in the early 1970s, and now joined him in making light of the Oscar best picture loser.

"We were going to star together in 'Brokeback Mountain,'" Moore said, "but we couldn't decide which one was going to stand in front."



The 'Academy' of idiots must be bursting with pride to have him as a member...  Bruce Davis, eat your heart out (literally!)



« Last Edit: Mar 17, 2006, 04:00 PM by tpe »

Offline badnomad

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Roger Ebert's interview with AfterElton
« Reply #157 on: Mar 17, 2006, 04:49 PM »
Did anyone read the interview with AfterElton.com where Ebert tried to backpeddle his spiteful; criticims towards BBM fans. It was pretty pathetic and he contradicts himself several times. He DOES however back down and admit that MAYBE homphobia DID play a part in BBM losing, but it was probably the THIRD reason.

Here's the link: http://www.afterelton.com/movies/2006/3/ebert.html

Well, I received an e-mail reply from the INTERVIEWER, Michael Jensen, and he agreed with me that Ebert's responses were pretty lame.  He wasn't impressed either. Here's his reply:


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Well, obviously you won't get any argument from me! I tried to approach the subject from as many different angles, but Roger and I couldn't quite see eye to eye. You should see all the stuff that didn't make it into the piece simply because it was too long or just a repeat!

No matter what we'll always have Brokeback and I think we'll be vindicated in the end by history.

Thanks for writing and all the best.

Michael
 

Offline tpe

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Re: Roger Ebert's interview with AfterElton
« Reply #158 on: Mar 17, 2006, 04:56 PM »
DEATH TO PHILISTINES.

Offline ethan

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #159 on: Mar 17, 2006, 05:20 PM »
Thanks, Michael for posting this. Yes it is pretty lame. For example

"AE: I think many gay people would feel better if Crash had been running closer to Brokeback. Its win wouldn't seem so suspect. Even the Las Vegas odds-makers had Brokeback as a sure thing. To then have it lose has been hard for a lot of people to accept.

Roger Elbert: You know last year my wife and I went to the Kentucky Derby and the horse my wife bet on she bet on because horse that had the same name as Sting's son and she is a Sting fan. The odds on it were fifty to one and it won, and we we're surrounded by a hell of a lot of pissed off people. How could the fifty to one long-shot win the Kentucky Derby? Occasionally your horse doesn't win.


Pretty lame analogy. The Oscar is not a horse race. At least the horse can run all by itself and not voted by others to decide who the winner should be.

AE: Yes. Again, looking at all the historical precedents the Academy had used over the years as the guideline.

Roger Ebert: But it didn't win the Editors Guild and no Best Picture in decades has won without winning the Editors Guild. [It Happened One Night, The Godfather II, Annie Hall and Ordinary People all won without the Editor's Guild award.]


One could also point out other historical precedents. The winner should not be based on the precedents but the merits, period.

Personally, making a prediction is one thing but going out all the way to defend Crash and even denouncing the fans and Annie Proulx is beyond my comprehension. And below is just for the record.

"'Brokeback' bitching - from Richard Roeper

Author Annie Proulx, who penned the original short story on which "Brokeback Mountain" was based, has joined the chorus of "Brokeback" complainers. In the Guardian, Proulx writes:

"The people connected with 'Brokeback Mountain,' including me, hoped that, having been nominated for eight Academy Awards, it would get Best Picture as it had at the funny, lively Independent Spirit Awards the day before. (If you are looking for smart judging based on merit, skip the Academy Awards next year and pay attention to the Independent Spirit choices.) We should have known the conservative heffalump academy voters would have rather different ideas of what was stirring contemporary culture ..."

I guess that would be the same conservative voting body that awarded best song to "It's Hard Out There for a Pimp."

One week after the Oscars, I'm still hearing from fans of "Brokeback" who are offended and outraged by the best picture win for "Crash." Some folks are even calling me terrible names for predicting a "Crash" victory and saying I didn't believe "Brokeback" should have been nominated.

What can I say? On my list of 2005's best movies, I had "Brokeback Mountain" at No. 7, behind "Syriana," "The New World," "Crash," "Munich," "Nine Lives" and "Capote." So that means I'm homophobic? Please.

The "Brokeback" camp seems to feel their film is morally superior to the other nominated films, particularly "Crash," and that a vote against "Brokeback" is a vote against tolerance.

What a bunch of bull.

Why is a film about two gay cowboys more noble than a film about race relations? Or a movie about an Israeli hit squad avenging the massacre at the Munich Olympic Games? Or a film about an author's book about the murders of an innocent family? Or a movie about a journalist's crusade against a witch-hunting senator?

In two decades of writing about movies, I have never heard such bitching and moaning and griping about a film not winning best picture. Enough is enough. You lost. Try to handle it with some grace."
« Last Edit: Mar 17, 2006, 05:58 PM by ethan »
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Offline bnjmn3

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #160 on: Mar 17, 2006, 05:52 PM »
Thanks, Michael for posting this. Yes it is pretty lame. For example

"AE: I think many gay people would feel better if Crash had been running closer to Brokeback. Its win wouldn't seem so suspect. Even the Las Vegas odds-makers had Brokeback as a sure thing. To then have it lose has been hard for a lot of people to accept.

RE: You know last year my wife and I went to the Kentucky Derby and the horse my wife bet on she bet on because horse that had the same name as Sting's son and she is a Sting fan. The odds on it were fifty to one and it won, and we we're surrounded by a hell of a lot of pissed off people. How could the fifty to one long-shot win the Kentucky Derby? Occasionally your horse doesn't win.


Pretty lame analogy. The Oscar is not a horse race. At least the horse can run all by itself and not voted by others to decide who the winner should be.

AE: Yes. Again, looking at all the historical precedents the Academy had used over the years as the guideline.
RE: But it didn't win the Editors Guild and no Best Picture in decades has won without winning the Editors Guild. [It Happened One Night, The Godfather II, Annie Hall and Ordinary People all won without the Editor's Guild award.]


One could also point out other historical precedents. The winner should not be based on the precedents but the merits, period.

Personally, making a prediction is one thing but going out all the way to defend Crash and even denouncing the fans and Annie Proulx is beyond my comprehension. And below is just for the record.

"'Brokeback' bitching

Author Annie Proulx, who penned the original short story on which "Brokeback Mountain" was based, has joined the chorus of "Brokeback" complainers. In the Guardian, Proulx writes:

"The people connected with 'Brokeback Mountain,' including me, hoped that, having been nominated for eight Academy Awards, it would get Best Picture as it had at the funny, lively Independent Spirit Awards the day before. (If you are looking for smart judging based on merit, skip the Academy Awards next year and pay attention to the Independent Spirit choices.) We should have known the conservative heffalump academy voters would have rather different ideas of what was stirring contemporary culture ..."

I guess that would be the same conservative voting body that awarded best song to "It's Hard Out There for a Pimp."

One week after the Oscars, I'm still hearing from fans of "Brokeback" who are offended and outraged by the best picture win for "Crash." Some folks are even calling me terrible names for predicting a "Crash" victory and saying I didn't believe "Brokeback" should have been nominated.

What can I say? On my list of 2005's best movies, I had "Brokeback Mountain" at No. 7, behind "Syriana," "The New World," "Crash," "Munich," "Nine Lives" and "Capote." So that means I'm homophobic? Please.

The "Brokeback" camp seems to feel their film is morally superior to the other nominated films, particularly "Crash," and that a vote against "Brokeback" is a vote against tolerance.

What a bunch of bull.

Why is a film about two gay cowboys more noble than a film about race relations? Or a movie about an Israeli hit squad avenging the massacre at the Munich Olympic Games? Or a film about an author's book about the murders of an innocent family? Or a movie about a journalist's crusade against a witch-hunting senator?

In two decades of writing about movies, I have never heard such bitching and moaning and griping about a film not winning best picture. Enough is enough. You lost. Try to handle it with some grace."

Can someone go back to this quote and  label who said what? Some quotes are Ebert, some Proulx, and some Roeper!!!  We need to be accurate with these quotes. Roger really loved Crash (for whatever reasons) more than he really liked BBM.
We can't change it. We will have to stand it.

Offline ethan

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #161 on: Mar 17, 2006, 05:59 PM »
Can someone go back to this quote and  label who said what? Some quotes are Ebert, some Proulx, and some Roeper!!!  We need to be accurate with these quotes. Roger really loved Crash (for whatever reasons) more than he really liked BBM.

Just clarify the quotes. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Offline hidesert

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #162 on: Mar 17, 2006, 06:26 PM »

Ten Films That Give Oscar a Bad Name[/b]

Still smarting over that big "Crash?" It's not the first time the academy has embarrassed itself with a choice that's going to age badly.

By Stephen Farber
Special to The LA Times
March 19, 2006



IS "Crash" the worst movie ever to win the Oscar for best picture? Probably not, though it definitely reeks. Academy members had a chance to make history by honoring "Brokeback Mountain," a trailblazing gay love story that also happened to be the best movie of 2005. Instead, they voted for arguably the worst of the five films nominated — a ham-fisted exposé of racial tensions in Los Angeles that pulled its punches by ending on an incongruous note of communion and redemption.

Disappointing as this decision was, however, it wasn't the first time the academy got it all wrong. Indeed, in the 78 years that Oscars have been awarded, there are only a dozen or so times when the statuette was awarded to an undisputed classic such as "It Happened One Night," "Gone With the Wind," "Casablanca," "All About Eve," "On the Waterfront," "The Bridge on the River Kwai," "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II."

In other cases, the academy honored a good movie that wasn't quite the best of the year — the Oscar did not go to 1941's "Citizen Kane," frequently cited as the greatest movie in history, but "How Green Was My Valley" — or hugely popular films that may have been kitschy but were still enormously entertaining, such as "The Sound of Music," "Titanic" or "Gladiator."

But in a surprising number of cases, the Oscar has gone to films that were mediocre or just plain bad.

To provide a little context for readers who are still perplexed or angry over this year's upset, I've come up with an admittedly subjective list of the 10 worst movies to be voted best picture. It wasn't an easy list to compile — not because there were so few possibilities but because there were so many.


These first two really take the booby prize:

"The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952) was criticized even at the time for its cornucopia of clichés. Perhaps this circus-themed soap opera can be enjoyed as a guilty pleasure, full of unintended howlers, but is that what the Oscar was meant to signify? The Oscar that year might have gone to "High Noon," "Moulin Rouge" (the good version, directed by John Huston), or to "Singin' in the Rain," which wasn't even nominated but is now widely regarded as the greatest movie musical ever made.

"Around the World in 80 Days" (1956) also sits at the bottom of the barrel. Producer Mike Todd was the Harvey Weinstein of his day, a cunning showman who knew how to court Oscar voters. He also managed to attract a legion of stars to do cameos, a novelty at the time, but the movie is nothing more than a 167-minute travelogue, with inane and insulting comic relief provided by Mexican actor Cantinflas.


Grandiosity is a regrettable hallmark of several of the other worst movies to be named best picture:

"The Great Ziegfeld" (1936) first epitomized this trend. It's a three-hour biopic with a few eye-popping production numbers and a couple of hours of padding.

"Ben-Hur" (1959) won a mind-boggling 11 Oscars. The chariot race is worth the price of admission, but the rest of this 212-minute epic is drenched in syrupy religiosity reminiscent of a Hallmark Christmas card. The movie was the weakest of the five nominees that year; "Anatomy of a Murder," "The Diary of Anne Frank," "The Nun's Story" and "Room at the Top" are all more watchable today. And two movies that are more enduring than any of them — "Some Like It Hot" and "North by Northwest" — weren't even nominated.

"The English Patient" (1996) is well photographed and well edited, but it's also emotionally desiccated and downright ponderous (as "Seinfeld" fans well know). Director Anthony Minghella crafted a far more involving movie three years later, "The Talented Mr. Ripley," which won exactly zero Oscars.

"Forrest Gump" (1994). Robert Zemeckis made a terrific piece of entertainment in "Back to the Future," but he won his Oscar for this bloated, soft-headed trip though a few decades of American history. That year, the academy might have honored the electrifying "Pulp Fiction" but chose to play it safe. Quentin Tarantino and co-writer Roger Avary did win for best screenplay, but that was merely a consolation prize, like "Brokeback Mountain's" directing and screenplay Oscars this year.

"You Can't Take It With You" (1938). Some argue that the academy is a sucker for swollen, overlong epics. But in several instances, the Oscar went to small, quirky movies that were just as stupefying. This one is a case in point. Seen today, the antics of the world's wackiest family seem about as engaging as the sound of fingernails raking a blackboard. Consider all the classic comedies of the '30s and early '40s that didn't win Oscars — such as "My Man Godfrey," "Ninotchka" and "His Girl Friday" — and then try to justify this one's victory.

"Rocky" (1976) ladles on the whimsy as well. This is one of the most ridiculous of all Oscar choices, first because of the movies it beat: "Taxi Driver" and "Network." It's also hard to forgive the picture for spawning all those dreadful sequels, with yet another installment, "Rocky Balboa," still to come.

"American Beauty" (1999) is a precious satire of suburbia (now there's a fresh topic) that mustered the courage to criticize real estate agents and gun nuts. Overlooked that year: "The Insider" and "The Cider House Rules," the latter of which took on a genuinely controversial subject — abortion. On the plus side, the Oscar victory gave writer Alan Ball the clout to create HBO's "Six Feet Under," a far more incisive look at American mores.


Finally, there is space for one more movie on the list, and that belongs to:

"Crash" (2005). This jeremiad bemoaning our society's intolerance is filtered through a fanciful plot built on a heap of outlandish coincidences. Can you really imagine audiences in another decade or two giving this movie, which somehow combines grandiosity and whimsical eccentricity, any more respect than they give "Rocky" or "The Greatest Show on Earth" today? Like all of these prize-winning embarrassments, "Crash" is destined to be remembered as just one more footnote in the annals of Oscar blunders.

« Last Edit: Mar 17, 2006, 06:30 PM by hidesert »

Offline Toadily

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #163 on: Mar 17, 2006, 06:28 PM »
I think it's interesting Ebert didn't have a come back to "well BBM won ALL the other awards" and could only
compare it to Color Purple that got a lot of NOMINATIONS but didn't win.  So this is unprecendented.
And note his argument was a movie that came out before they gave a best actor nod to an African American.
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Offline hidesert

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #164 on: Mar 17, 2006, 07:01 PM »

Oscar Grouch[/b]

The question isn’t why Crash won, but why we should care.

by Scott Renshaw, Salt Lake City Weekly  |  March 16, 2006


Crash beat out Brokeback Mountain for the Best Picture award at the Academy Awards on March 5—and it had to mean something. Hollywood is less gay-friendly than everyone believes, perhaps. Or it’s more interested in appearing sensitive to racism than in appearing sensitive to homophobia. Or after a year of bad box office, the industry didn’t want its most public face to be a dude in a cowboy hat kissing another dude in a cowboy hat. Somehow the entire entertainment journalism industry managed the slick logistical trick of banging out a thousand befuddled “think pieces” while simultaneously wringing its hands into withered stumps. It’s the same weird combination of hilarious and depressing that we’ve come to associate with Scott McClellan press conferences.

The intensity of the analysis had a lot to do with the writers having a dog in a fight—or, at the very least, fighting whatever they perceived as a dog. There were those who remained underwhelmed by Brokeback as its bandwagon built momentum. And there those who loathed Crash, like New York Press critic Matt Zoller Seitz, who called it “an Importance Machine that rolls over you like a tank … lazy and simplistically cynical about its central subject.”

But wherever your personal preferences lay—Brokeback was my favorite film of 2005—it was crushingly obvious to me that everyone was asking the wrong question. The question wasn’t, “Why did Crash upset Brokeback Mountain?” The question was, “Why should we care?”

1980: Ordinary People over Raging Bull. 1982: Gandhi over E.T. 1990: Dances With Wolves over Goodfellas. 1994: Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction. Are we beginning to see a pattern? And those are just examples since the death of disco.

Now some of you may look at those examples above and think, “Hey, I preferred the winner in that year over the loser you named.” Or you may wonder why I omitted the oft-mentioned travesty of Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan in 1998 (hint: I don’t actually happen to think it was a travesty). But even that is part of the Oscar trap. We breathe a sigh of relief whenever the awards go the way we would have them go, waiting for another year to fume over voting gone cockeyed. Yet year after year, people keep coming back, when even a rat has the common sense to stop licking the plate that electrocutes its tongue.

We, the movie-lovers of America, have given the Oscars a power they have no business possessing. It is a vote for “excellence” in which many voters talk openly about not having watched all the nominees. It is a vote in which the electors are voting for their friends and colleagues or maybe not voting for the guy who acted like an ass one day on the set. There’s a good reason why a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame is not chosen by a player’s peers the day after he retires—because time and distance allow a better perspective on greatness than immediacy and coziness.

It’s one thing to watch the Oscars in order to gawk at stars or mock the latest hysterically wrong-headed piece of choreography. But viewers have also allowed themselves to be duped into associating the highest quality with a televised advertisement for the filmmaking industry. If you had any doubts that’s exactly what the Oscar broadcast is, they should have been erased by this year’s theme of, “Oh, pleeeeeease go back to watching movies in theaters.” Whether they’re voting their conscience or with some agenda in mind—picking a veteran over a guy with more years ahead of him, for example—it’s still an industry sending its customers a message. Only in entertainment do people allow the manufacturers to tell them which one of their products is best.

Is there an element of sour grapes in a film critic complaining over who gets to decide cinematic immortality? Probably. I can’t deny that I’d rather see people flock to the films lauded by those who actually watch more than a few of them in a year. But the irony is that plenty of those same people have been the ones analyzing themselves into knots over the last several days. If Brokeback Mountain had won, as had been widely predicted, would that suddenly make the Oscars any more “valid” as an arbiter of excellence?

It’s time to stop looking at them—the Academy voters—because their interests are not yours. The interest of moviegoers would be better served by ignoring them entirely.


Offline ethan

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #165 on: Mar 17, 2006, 07:06 PM »
If Brokeback Mountain had won, as had been widely predicted, would that suddenly make the Oscars any more “valid” as an arbiter of excellence?

Perhaps. As I have mentioned before, the academy needs BBM more than BBM needs the academy. For whatever reason, the academy decided to pass it and it's their loss.
Quote
It’s time to stop looking at them—the Academy voters—because their interests are not yours. The interest of moviegoers would be better served by ignoring them entirely.

Thanks, hidesert for posting this article. Yes that is what I have decided too - to ignore and here I say again - bye bye. Perhaps I should say "Adios" since the subject of this year is "racism"  ;D
Remembering Pierre (chameau) 1960-2015, a "Capricorn bro and crazy Frog Uncle from the North Pole." You are missed

Offline hidesert

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #166 on: Mar 17, 2006, 09:47 PM »
If Brokeback Mountain had won, as had been widely predicted, would that suddenly make the Oscars any more “valid” as an arbiter of excellence?

Perhaps. As I have mentioned before, the academy needs BBM more than BBM needs the academy. For whatever reason, the academy decided to pass it and it's their loss.
Quote
It’s time to stop looking at them—the Academy voters—because their interests are not yours. The interest of moviegoers would be better served by ignoring them entirely.

Thanks, hidesert for posting this article. Yes that is what I have decided too - to ignore and here I say again - bye bye. Perhaps I should say "Adios" since the subject of this year is "racism"  ;D

You're right Ethan and so is the author of the article - the loss hurts because we had a certain level of expectation that the Academy could never fulfill. The Academy's claim that it rewards the highest levels of excellence is as much of an illusion as a Hollywood movie.  The entertainment industry is the illusion industry and the Academy is its best creation.

Yes the Academy needed BBM much more than BBM needed the Academy.

"We, the movie-lovers of America, have given the Oscars a power they have no business possessing. It is a vote for “excellence” in which many voters talk openly about not having watched all the nominees. It is a vote in which the electors are voting for their friends and colleagues or maybe not voting for the guy who acted like an ass one day on the set. There’s a good reason why a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame is not chosen by a player’s peers the day after he retires—because time and distance allow a better perspective on greatness than immediacy and coziness."

- Scott Renshaw (above)


"The Academy Awards have lost their relevance. They've been upstaged by awards that are more in tune with reality, such as the Independent Spirit Awards, which Proulx cited, even the Golden Globes, which are way more fun.

Instead of being a body of professionals who consistently recognize truly great films, the Academy consistently caves in to political pressure, and the fear of public backlash. Prizes going to artists to make up for previous years' slights.

Until Oscar voters find the courage to make the hard calls, their Big Night will continue to slip in our esteem and the ratings."

- Karen Hershenson (Annie Proulx thread)


"Gentlemen's Agreement didn't end anti-Semitism. In the Heat of the Night didn't end racial discrimination. Philadelphia didn't really change the struggle against AIDS. Brokeback Mountain's fans have to shake it off. America neither loves nor hates gays and lesbians any more than it did the minute before the envelope was torn open."

- John Moore (above)



Offline ethan

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #167 on: Mar 17, 2006, 09:51 PM »
Good quotes and summary, hidesert. Thank you. I truly feel sorry for the Academy.
Remembering Pierre (chameau) 1960-2015, a "Capricorn bro and crazy Frog Uncle from the North Pole." You are missed

Offline hidesert

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #168 on: Mar 18, 2006, 11:30 PM »

Crash, Bang, Wallop![/b]

By James Langton, March 19,2006 | The Telegraph, London

Last week, as the pomp and ceremony of the Oscars began to recede for another year, readers flicking through Daily Variety, the American entertainment bible, will have come upon a full-page advertisement in praise of the popular cowboy film Brokeback Mountain.

Alongside a picture of the two lead actors, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, in an embrace, ran copy saying: "Thank you for transforming countless lives through the most honoured film of the year. We agree with everyone who named Brokeback Mountain BEST PICTURE."

Except, of course, the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences - which did not. The Academy favoured Crash, the unflinching portrayal of racism in America, over Ang Lee's acclaimed and controversial tale of gay love in the wilds of Wyoming.

Gushing advertisements hailing the Oscar-winning films are an obligatory part of the American film industry, but unheard of for a losing film. Even veteran Hollywood observers admitted that it was the first time they could remember seeing the Academy's judgment questioned in such a way. You could almost hear the sound of studio moguls spluttering into their morning cups of low-fat decaffeinated latte.

The $18,000 (£10,000) advertisement had been written and paid for by ordinary fans, many of them gay, and all furious that Brokeback Mountain had won every major film prize in the past six months, but was then denied the ultimate accolade: Best Picture at the 2006 Academy Awards. The fact that the film won three of the Oscar categories it was nominated in, including Best Director, was of little consolation.

Among those who organised the campaign was John Wells, a New Yorker who joined one of dozens of internet forums that sprang up to discuss the film after it was released last year. They had done it, Mr Wells said, "as a positive expression of what the film means to us".

But the insurrection was not to end there. Days later, another volley was launched as Annie Proulx, the American writer whose short story inspired Brokeback Mountain, vented her fury over the loss to "Trash - excuse me - Crash". Proulx went on to lash out at the "conservative, heffalump Academy voters", many of whom lived "cloistered lives behind wrought-iron gates or in deluxe rest-homes, out of touch not only with the shifting larger culture and the yeasty ferment that is America these days". She rounded off her attack with the blunt words: "For those who call this a Sour Grapes Rant, play it as it lays."

Proulx's outburst was unprecedented, laying bare the behind the scenes bickering that had been simmering away for a week. This was war. Like rival gangs, the fallout has divided loyalties across the Hollywood Hills and beyond - you're either "with Brokeback", or against it.

It all began two weeks ago, when Jack Nicholson tore open the envelope on the stage of the Kodak Theatre. Nicholson, his trademark eyebrow arched even further than normal, looked surprised as, to gasps from the auditorium, he uttered the two words: "Crash, whoa!"

Backstage, Nicholson could be heard insisting that, as a member of the Academy, he had, in fact, voted for Brokeback. But the damage had been done. A conspiracy theory quickly began to circulate around the internet that Nicholson had been so repulsed by the images of homosexuals home on the range - or so his accusers claimed - that he had deliberately read out the wrong film.

It was followed by another rumour that members of the Academy had voted for Crash by accident because of a flaw - accidental or otherwise - on the ballot paper. Brokeback was listed second on the form but punching the second hole purportedly cast a vote for Crash. Lionsgate, the studio behind Crash, has also been accused of dirty tricks by Brokeback supporters because of a deluge of 110,000 DVDs of the film it sent to all members of the Academy and the Screen Actors Guild.

The row has cut through the self-satisfied smog that normally descends on Los Angeles once the Oscars are over. The stars of Crash's large ensemble cast, including Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle and Thandie Newton, rapidly fled the scene. Others tried to play down the significance of the attacks on the film. "Proulx is just a writer," said one studio insider with a sniff. "Nobody listens to them anyway."

The Crash team, determined to maintain a dignified silence, would not be drawn. But earlier comments by the film's director, Paul Haggis, were dredged up as fuel for the fire. The Canadian had called Brokeback "a really good movie", before damning the film with faint praise. "If you decided to vote for it," Haggis said, "the best reason would be you thought it was a great movie about two human beings, not because it's a social statement. If you wanted to see the gay community embraced by Hollywood, well, the fact is that that happened a long time ago. I mean, look at the popularity of Will & Grace," he said.

The comparison between a sitcom and a deeply serious cinematic drama that lays bare the contradictions of homophobic America astounded many inside and outside the industry. Surely Haggis wasn't suggesting that the theme of Brokeback had been eclipsed by a mere television series, was he?

The battle started to turn even uglier. Even Stephen King, the horror writer, joined in, complaining that "American pop culture is intent on passing this passionate, well-meant, and well-made movie like a kidney stone".

Kenneth Turan, one of the most widely read reviewers in the business, joined the Brokeback camp, saying "sometimes you win by losing, and nothing has proved what a powerful, taboo-breaking, necessary film Brokeback Mountain was more than its loss to Crash in the Oscar Best Picture category".

Turan, branding Crash "a standard Hollywood movie, as manipulative and unrealistic as the day is long", berated Academy members who thought that they could "vote for it and not feel that there was any stain in their liberal credentials for shunning what Brokeback had to offer".

In Crash's defence, the venerable Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, scoffed at suggestions that homophobia had cost Brokeback the ultimate prize. "The membership of the Academy, and the working population of the Hollywood branch of the industry, is less homophobic than almost any other group you could name," he insisted.

His repeated championing of Crash earned Ebert a deluge of abuse from Brokeback supporters. "I've been told that I am evil," Ebert said. "I've been told that I am behind the persecution of millions of Americans. That I have encouraged hate toward gays. I've received both very brief and obscene messages, and very long and literate messages that tell me a vote for Crash was vote for homophobia."

There is no doubt that the film's subject made many older Academy voters feel uncomfortable. As a result, many of them did not even see it. Their opinions were summed up on Oscar night by two veterans of the silver screen. Ernest Borgnine, the 89-year-old actor, admitted: "I didn't see it and I don't care to see it." He then, rather intriguingly, predicted that: "If John Wayne were alive today, he'd be rolling over in his grave."

Tony Curtis, now 80, who was last week honoured with the Empire Awards 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award, told a red carpet interviewer: "This picture is not as important as we make it. It's nothing unique. The only thing unique is that they put it on the screen - and they made 'em cowboys."

As he accepted his award in London last Monday night, Curtis, perhaps commenting on the week's events, said: "Everyone takes the Oscars far too seriously - it's apes**t and so fake."

Others have suggested that Crash's social issue was simply more attractive to Academy voters than Brokeback's. Its theme of racism was politically correct enough to appeal to Hollywood's bleeding heart liberal sensitivities. And unlike Brokeback which, although set in Wyoming, was actually filmed in Canada, Crash was made on the streets of Los Angeles with a host of big names.

"Crash provided jobs for actors and other LA-based workers, who are increasingly frustrated by runaway productions that travel to far-flung locations," explains Martin Grove, of the Hollywood Reporter. "Moreover, because Crash was a story dealing with complex racial relations in Los Angeles, it was something that LA-based Academy members could easily relate to."

But he suggests that the most crucial factor may have been that the Academy has become increasingly sensitive to other awards' ceremonies muscling in on its territory. There can be no disputing that Brokeback was the most critically acclaimed film of its year. It was, in fact, one of the most critically acclaimed films ever. The list of awards that it won stretches across 12 pages on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), and several continents.

By the time this year's Oscar night rolled round, Brokeback Mountain had been the toast of everything from the Golden Globes (for which Crash was not even nominated) to the Baftas, winning best film at both awards. As Brokeback's director, Ang Lee, describing his surprise at the Best Picture loss pointed out on Oscar night: "We've won every award since September, but missed out on the last one, the biggest one."

And there's the rub, suggests Grove. "In applauding Crash over Brokeback, Academy members were saying, in effect, that you can't take their votes for granted."


Offline ethan

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #169 on: Mar 18, 2006, 11:50 PM »
Thanks, hidesert. It is already two weeks past the Oscar and the news media is still talking about it. Viva BBM!

Let's just put it this way...the Academy is just jealous of BBM's achievement.
Remembering Pierre (chameau) 1960-2015, a "Capricorn bro and crazy Frog Uncle from the North Pole." You are missed

Offline Buddy

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #170 on: Mar 19, 2006, 12:50 PM »
Hidesert:
You beat me to it. I was just about to post TIMES' Farber piece.
 Now I'll write him to express appreciation for the obvious!

Offline hidesert

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #171 on: Mar 19, 2006, 02:00 PM »
Hidesert:
You beat me to it. I was just about to post TIMES' Farber piece.
Now I'll write him to express appreciation for the obvious! 

I liked his article because it points out how blind and irrelevant the Academy is even today.  There were some very fine films this year and 2005 appears to parallel 1976 when three classics, "Taxi Driver", "Network" and "All the President's Men" were snubbed in favor of "Rocky" another quickly forgotten film as "Crash" will be.

 

Offline hidesert

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #172 on: Mar 19, 2006, 02:07 PM »
Thanks, hidesert. It is already two weeks past the Oscar and the news media is still talking about it. Viva BBM!

Let's just put it this way...the Academy is just jealous of BBM's achievement. 

Yes Ethan, it's the subject that just won't die.   Langton gives a good synopsis but I disagree with his end quote from Grove, "In applauding Crash over Brokeback, Academy members were saying, in effect, that you can't take their votes for granted."  The award distribution at the Oscar ceremony was in line with predictions except the last one, so we continue to ask why didn't BBM get the "Best Picture" Oscar.
 
Of course the Academy would like us to just vanish and not question them.  Sorry but I've always been an annoying questioner. 

« Last Edit: Mar 19, 2006, 03:00 PM by hidesert »

Offline hidesert

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #173 on: Mar 19, 2006, 02:12 PM »

Thanks E&J for the Roger Ebert interview. I'm just catching up on my reading.

I partially agree with Ebert's analysis that Academy voters can be divided into
three categories, some people just thought "Crash" was the best film of the
year; others voted for it because it was made in and about LA; and still others
voted for "Crash" to block BBM because of homophobia.  I just disagree with
Ebert that homophobia was the smallest percentage - I think the "vote for your
buddy and for LA movies" segment and homophobia were a greater percent than
those who thought it was the best movie.

And I also agree with him that a person can be a staunch supporter of "Crash"
and not be a homophobe - the key is what was their motivation. Homophobia
wouldn't even be a topic of conversation if credible rumors from many
directions didn't surface even before Academy voting started. Like many others
I just question why after winning the most awards and Oscar nominations, the
BBM train was derailed.

Much of the post Oscar chatter would disappear it the Academy annually
published voting totals. Not to cast any doubts on the credability of
PriceWaterhouseCooper, but we all remember a very old and respected CPA firm
that no longer exists because of backroom deals with Enron, I speak of Arthur
Anderson and Associates.  It's time the Academy let some daylight in.
       
The three Oscars that BBM won were really for personal achievements.  Larry
McMurtry is an icon among Western novelists and screenwriters and Hollywood
owed it to him.  Ang Lee won the Director's Guild award in 2000 but lost the
Oscar that year, so it was also his time.  John Williams is another Hollywood
icon, but he's won before and was nominated twice which canceled him out and
Gustavo's score was exceptional.  The Best Picture Oscar recognizes everyone
connected to the film and that was the recognition we were all looking for. 

Ebert's interview with AfterElton appears on the surface to be an attempt to
placate BBM supporters who might also happen to be weekly viewers of his show. 
If Ebert hadn't been such a vocal champion of a poor film and written his
infamous article "The Fury of the 'Crash'-lash", he would have been easier to
forgive.


Offline tpe

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Oscar, I Can Quit You
« Reply #174 on: Mar 19, 2006, 03:11 PM »
From: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/19/movies/19broke.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1142798627-mjzzLfysffZD6gLbdWXofw


------------------------------------------


Oscar, I Can Quit You
Published: March 19, 2006

Many "Brokeback Mountain" fans were disappointed when the Academy Award for best picture went to "Crash" instead. Some moped. Some swore. A great many lost money. One fan did more than mourn: he organized. At left, excerpts from a manifesto circulating on the Internet.

A 'Brokeback'-Inspired Boycott:



To the barricades, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender cinephiles! You have nothing to lose but your statuettes — and lavish gift bags, of course.





Offline sweetlilg

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RIP Heath ♥ Heath, I swear...

BrokeBack Mountain is the BEST! It has won the Oscar of my heart!

Offline ethan

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #176 on: Mar 19, 2006, 04:18 PM »
"Everything's better without Oscars!"

Yeah...
Remembering Pierre (chameau) 1960-2015, a "Capricorn bro and crazy Frog Uncle from the North Pole." You are missed

Offline hidesert

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Re: Oscar, I Can Quit You
« Reply #177 on: Mar 19, 2006, 05:01 PM »
From: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/19/movies/19broke.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1142798627-mjzzLfysffZD6gLbdWXofw

Oscar, I Can Quit You
Published: March 19, 2006

Many "Brokeback Mountain" fans were disappointed when the Academy Award for best picture went to "Crash" instead. Some moped. Some swore. A great many lost money. One fan did more than mourn: he organized. At left, excerpts from a manifesto circulating on the Internet.

To the barricades, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender cinephiles! You have nothing to lose but your statuettes — and lavish gift bags, of course. 
 


I strongly agree tpe, it's time to boycott an irrelevant organization with homopboic members. First I'd like to make a slight change to the rallying cry, "To the barricades, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender cinephiles and your friends and allies!


I'm reposting Tom O'Neil's article that underscores the gay connection to the Oscars:

Gays: Oscar Betrayed Us[/b]

Tom O’Neil, LA Times   March 13, 2006 

The reason gay people are so eye-popping furious over what happened to "Brokeback Mountain" at the Academy Awards is more than just disappointment that a gay-themed movie lost best picture. To put it in classic Hollywood terms, many gays believe that Oscar — ruthlessly, deliberately and mercilessly — plunged his sword into the backs of those who love him most.

Who the heck does he think he is, anyway? Bette Davis?

If the Oscars gold derby is regarded as the sporting event that it really is, there's no doubt who the cheerleaders are: gay guys.

If you don't believe that, you haven't been paying attention to who organizes your office Oscars pool every year. Don't those chaps all seem to be a little too well groomed and well-spoken?

Go ahead and ask any gay man you know if he's ever fantasized about winning an Oscar and he'll instantly blurt out his acceptance speech. Even the part — a la Julia Roberts — where he warns the orchestra conductor not to dare interrupt him because he may never make it up to the podium again and there's so much to say.

Of course, Chris Rock wasn't kidding when he notoriously said last year, "What straight guy that you know cares? Who gives a f---?"

So "Brokeback's" loss was more than just mere disappointment by a group of people who rooted for it to win. Finally, gay people — who'd been unofficially in charge of whipping up Oscars ballyhoo nationwide forever — had their own horse in the derby.  And it wasn't another one of those pity-poor-us-because-we're-dying-of-AIDS films starring Tom Hanks.

The "Brokeback" pony had similar hopelessly straight guys in the saddle, yes, but it was a love story. If it won best picture, its victory would be a milestone moment in showbiz history as important and validating to gays as the "In the Heat of the Night" best picture win was to African Americans and the "Schindler's List" victory was to Jews.

Imagine gay people's excitement and glee throughout this Oscars race! Even better, it looked like "Brokeback" was the easiest bet in any Oscars pool because it could not be denied. It led with the most nominations, which almost always assures triumph, and it had previously been rubber-stamped the best pic of the year by 23 other award groups, including the Producers Guild, BAFTA, Indie Spirits, Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., New York Film Critics Circle, the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. and Golden Globes (where "Crash" wasn't even nominated).
 
Its subsequent Oscars loss was "blatant homophobia" according to Ann Northrop, cohost of "Gay U.S.A.," the nationally syndicated TV news show. "Come on! It won every other best picture award in the world, but I don't think they wanted to give it to us!"

Her cohost Andy Humm added with sad resignation, "It's the typical conservatism of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which is composed of old straight guys."

More than two-thirds of respondents to a poll at gay news site Advocate.com agree, blaming homophobia for "Brokeback's" loss. Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan concurred, too, writing, "In the privacy of the voting booth, people are free to act out the unspoken fears and unconscious prejudices…. And at least this year, that acting out doomed 'Brokeback Mountain.'"

Meantime, more and more actual evidence of bias mounts. No longer is Tony Curtis alone among older academy members who publicly admitted that they refused even to consider "Brokeback." Oscar's best actor of 1955 Ernest Borgnine ("Marty") told Entertainment Weekly: "I didn’t see (‘Brokeback Mountain’) and I don’t care to see it. I know they say it’s a good picture, but I don’t care to see it." Then he added the most ridiculous, illogical, slam ever uttered against the gay cowboys: "If John Wayne were alive, he’d be rolling over in his grave!"

Perhaps we can no longer assume that apparently hip Sarah Jessica Parker isn't homophobic. She made a shocking confession to Conan O'Brien and his national TV audience: she voted for best picture at the Oscars without watching "Brokeback Mountain." Instead, she accepted input about it from her three-year-old son who watched about 20 minutes of the DVD screener out of curiosity. Presumably, Sarah ended up voting for something else.
 
How can gay people not feel betrayed by Oscar when so many voters publicly admit that they never even gave "Brokeback" a chance? Worse, that didn't stop them from giving "Brokeback" all of the other Oscars it was expected to get: best director, screenplay and musical score. But they just couldn't go that last step, just couldn't install such a historic milestone on a financially successful and critically acclaimed film — worthy of Academy Awards for writing and direction — and place it in Oscar's best pic pantheon.
 
Can gay people ever forgive Oscar? If not, just think of what the Academy Awards will be like in years to come without their cheerleading. Will anybody care?



Offline tpe

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Ten films that give Oscar a bad name
« Reply #178 on: Mar 20, 2006, 09:02 AM »
From http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/cl-ca-bottom19mar19,0,4258543.story?coll=cl-movies


-------------------------------------------------------------


March 19, 2006

PERSPECTIVE
Ten films that give Oscar a bad name
Still smarting over that big "Crash?" It's not the first time the academy has embarrassed itself with a choice that's going to age badly.
 
By Stephen Farber, Special to The Times


IS "Crash" the worst movie ever to win the Oscar for best picture? Probably not, though it definitely reeks. Academy members had a chance to make history by honoring "Brokeback Mountain," a trailblazing gay love story that also happened to be the best movie of 2005. Instead, they voted for arguably the worst of the five films nominated — a ham-fisted exposé of racial tensions in Los Angeles that pulled its punches by ending on an incongruous note of communion and redemption.

Disappointing as this decision was, however, it wasn't the first time the academy got it all wrong. Indeed, in the 78 years that Oscars have been awarded, there are only a dozen or so times when the statuette was awarded to an undisputed classic such as "It Happened One Night," "Gone With the Wind," "Casablanca," "All About Eve," "On the Waterfront," "The Bridge on the River Kwai," "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II."
 
In other cases, the academy honored a good movie that wasn't quite the best of the year — the Oscar did not go to 1941's "Citizen Kane," frequently cited as the greatest movie in history, but "How Green Was My Valley" — or hugely popular films that may have been kitschy but were still enormously entertaining, such as "The Sound of Music," "Titanic" or "Gladiator."

But in a surprising number of cases, the Oscar has gone to films that were mediocre or just plain bad.

To provide a little context for readers who are still perplexed or angry over this year's upset, I've come up with an admittedly subjective list of the 10 worst movies to be voted best picture. It wasn't an easy list to compile — not because there were so few possibilities but because there were so many.


These first two really take the booby prize:

"The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952) was criticized even at the time for its cornucopia of clichés. Perhaps this circus-themed soap opera can be enjoyed as a guilty pleasure, full of unintended howlers, but is that what the Oscar was meant to signify? The Oscar that year might have gone to "High Noon," "Moulin Rouge" (the good version, directed by John Huston), or to "Singin' in the Rain," which wasn't even nominated but is now widely regarded as the greatest movie musical ever made.

"Around the World in 80 Days" (1956) also sits at the bottom of the barrel. Producer Mike Todd was the Harvey Weinstein of his day, a cunning showman who knew how to court Oscar voters. He also managed to attract a legion of stars to do cameos, a novelty at the time, but the movie is nothing more than a 167-minute travelogue, with inane and insulting comic relief provided by Mexican actor Cantinflas.


Grandiosity is a regrettable hallmark of several of the other worst movies to be named best picture:

"The Great Ziegfeld" (1936) first epitomized this trend. It's a three-hour biopic with a few eye-popping production numbers and a couple of hours of padding.

"Ben-Hur" (1959) won a mind-boggling 11 Oscars. The chariot race is worth the price of admission, but the rest of this 212-minute epic is drenched in syrupy religiosity reminiscent of a Hallmark Christmas card. The movie was the weakest of the five nominees that year; "Anatomy of a Murder," "The Diary of Anne Frank," "The Nun's Story" and "Room at the Top" are all more watchable today. And two movies that are more enduring than any of them — "Some Like It Hot" and "North by Northwest" — weren't even nominated.

"The English Patient" (1996) is well photographed and well edited, but it's also emotionally desiccated and downright ponderous (as "Seinfeld" fans well know). Director Anthony Minghella crafted a far more involving movie three years later, "The Talented Mr. Ripley," which won exactly zero Oscars.

"Forrest Gump" (1994). Robert Zemeckis made a terrific piece of entertainment in "Back to the Future," but he won his Oscar for this bloated, soft-headed trip though a few decades of American history. That year, the academy might have honored the electrifying "Pulp Fiction" but chose to play it safe. Quentin Tarantino and co-writer Roger Avary did win for best screenplay, but that was merely a consolation prize, like "Brokeback Mountain's" directing and screenplay Oscars this year.

"You Can't Take It With You" (1938). Some argue that the academy is a sucker for swollen, overlong epics. But in several instances, the Oscar went to small, quirky movies that were just as stupefying. This one is a case in point. Seen today, the antics of the world's wackiest family seem about as engaging as the sound of fingernails raking a blackboard. Consider all the classic comedies of the '30s and early '40s that didn't win Oscars — such as "My Man Godfrey," "Ninotchka" and "His Girl Friday" — and then try to justify this one's victory.

"Rocky" (1976) ladles on the whimsy as well. This is one of the most ridiculous of all Oscar choices, first because of the movies it beat: "Taxi Driver" and "Network." It's also hard to forgive the picture for spawning all those dreadful sequels, with yet another installment, "Rocky Balboa," still to come.

"American Beauty" (1999) is a precious satire of suburbia (now there's a fresh topic) that mustered the courage to criticize real estate agents and gun nuts. Overlooked that year: "The Insider" and "The Cider House Rules," the latter of which took on a genuinely controversial subject — abortion. On the plus side, the Oscar victory gave writer Alan Ball the clout to create HBO's "Six Feet Under," a far more incisive look at American mores.


Finally, there is space for one more movie on the list, and that belongs to:

"Crash" (2005). This jeremiad bemoaning our society's intolerance is filtered through a fanciful plot built on a heap of outlandish coincidences. Can you really imagine audiences in another decade or two giving this movie, which somehow combines grandiosity and whimsical eccentricity, any more respect than they give "Rocky" or "The Greatest Show on Earth" today? Like all of these prize-winning embarrassments, "Crash" is destined to be remembered as just one more footnote in the annals of Oscar blunders.

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Farber has written several books on film and is a critic for Movieline's Hollywood Life. Contact him at calendar.letters@latimes.com.


Nota Bene: I am beginning to love the LA Times so much, I might just subscribe for it here in Chicago.



Offline Italian_Dude

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Re: Post-Oscar news coverage
« Reply #179 on: Mar 20, 2006, 09:12 AM »
Thanks for that article tpe!
made my day haha!
You and me together
Through the days and nights
I don't worry 'cause
Everything's gonna be all right
People keep talking
They can say what they like
But all I know is everything's gonna be all right..