Saturday, March 18, 2006

Dust That Doesn't Settle

On March 5th I was angry and hurt like I've never been at the Oscar (even though they've made plenty of truly stupid decisions before). On March 9th, on "national get over it day" (no, really, there's a day) I was trying to make peace with it and move on.

Two weeks later I have to say that I'm glad that the dust hasn't really settled. Or, if it is settling, it's clear that my theory is going to be the one that history embraces. I'm not bragging. It didn't take a genius to see that homophobia was to blame. All the other theories trotted out are disproved by 77 years of history. And noticeably those who were the most vocally opposed to the theory were the media types who had been exhibiting homophobia all along when discussing/dismissing Brokeback Mountain or those who had tirelessly shilled for Crash like Ebert & Roeper (Roeper has gone on the offensive against Brokeback's fans. The Chicago media cabal's campaign triumphed and they're still knocking the losers. Bullying is ugly.

I love this recent article from Creative Loafing because it looks back on what happened on Oscar night with more distance and a clearer head than I had that night. Like the frequent charges of racism which the Academy has been trying to live down forever, those 6000 members have added another dark cloud above their heads as they struggle to operate and maintain their cultural luster.

I'm prepping my 2006 cinema coverage now but I wonder, like I've never wondered before, if those annual op-ed pieces about the demise of the Oscars as a cultural institution have been right all along. I've always resisted/ignored those articles since I have been an Oscar addict my whole life. But maybe I was wrong? If the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is really a dinosaur, as many naysayers have claimed, perhaps history will mark the dismissed gay cowboys as a devastating meteorite impact.

16 comments:

chofer said...

Nat, I've read that (was published at Oscarwatch)

I'm sure had BBM won, the bullies wouldn't have WASTED THEIR PRECIOUS TIME "beggin'" US fans not to keep complaining like dumped chiks.
Ironic, isn't it?

Before WE REALLY MOVE ON, I thought that you and every reader would like to know Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins were in Argentina last weekend to present the Mar Del Plata Film Festival.
LA NACION, one of the largest newspapers here interviewed them separately.
One of the questions, off course, went towards the shocking outcome of the Academy Awards.
The question was the same to both; so DID the answers.

I will translate it for you:

LN: As members of AMPAS, what's your conclusion of CRASH winning BP over the heavily favored BBM?

SS: Well, I think BBM is a good picture. But I think it's Ok CRASH won. Nevertheless, Good Night and Good Luck was the better picture. I voted it.

TR: I saw BBM and I think was good but...in the end I am glad CRASH had won. I'm not telling you why. I prefer not to talk much about this, I don't want to get into trouble. I voted GN,GL tough.

PS: Neither Robbins went into further explanation nor the jornalist re-asked him (wrong!)
PS2: I posted this before. I just wanted to share it with you all.

Needless to say I was SURPRISED.


12:23 PM

Arkaan said...

I'm not surprised that both voted for GNaGL, and Tim Robbins has said several times before he likes it when productions stay in LA/The USA (whatever). I'm reading Sarandon's responsed as "why scream about it, it's done already," and I'm tempted to read Robbins as "It's better to realize that casual homophobia exists in Hollywood than to assume that BBM winning best picture would've wiped that slate" (his "I'm not telling you why" is where I get that from). But I love and respect them both, so I hope that's the answer.

adam k. said...

Just a retroactive comment about the "she's a bitch" video.

I loved it, but I REALLY think that Anjelica Huston from The Witches and/or The Grifters must make an appearance in the sequel. The Grand High Witch is the ultimate bitch, after all... so many great clips to choose from.

And Catwoman is now my favorite "bitch". I really need to see Batman Returns again.

adam k. said...

How about that clip when one of them tells her "you look wonderful, Miss Ernst!" and she replies "I wish I could say the same for you"?

Brent said...

As a "Crash" lover, I was thrilled to see it win.

Since you're linking to supporting articles, how about a DIFFERENT point of view, this one from Gay City News:

http://www.gaycitynews.com/gcn_511/
oscardidnotbrokeback.html

Brent said...

Also, Nathaniel,how is Richard Roeper going on the "offensive" when he was attacked first by many for his support for Crash?

That's called "defense", my man.

Trashbag Kid said...

Roeper was an idiot to begin with. Now he's just a loudmouth idiot.

It would have been a close vote for me between GNAGL and Brokeback. But, I would have given it to the sheepheards.

PS: I GREATLY preferred the Globes this year.

Carl said...

Nathaniel:

I write this in the spirit of “dust that doesn’t settle", especially in the oscarwatching community. In the days preceding and since the announcement of the Oscar winners, I have noted a general consensus growing throughout this community regarding those who, like myself, feel that “Crash” was a better movie than “Brokeback Mountain”. Put succinctly, we are considered to be either tasteless imbeciles, virulent homophobes, or both. Putting aside for the moment the merits of these characterizations, I want to speak to their effect on that part of your audience who shares my view. Normally I would happily join the discussion of the cinematic merits of the two films, with the understanding that some would happily call me a chowderhead for having such opinions. I expect this, because there are lots of different opinions out there; I expect those who disagree to happily slap them down.

I sense, however, that the tone of the debate has radically changed. Instead of engaging in the free exchange of ideas, those who felt that “Brokeback Mountain” should have won are vilifying those who do not agree. This has created what human resources professionals would call a ‘hostile work environment’, were this an office. Since it is my place for Oscar-related recreation, perhaps ‘hostile play environment’ is more accurate. In any case, I now have the dominant impression that my opinions, and those of others who share them, are no longer welcome.

Am I correct in this? Would you and the folks who frequent The Film Experience prefer that those of us who genuinely favored “Crash” take our custom to other sites? I would certainly be sorry to learn that this is the case.

chofer said...

Carl, I can understand your point, but you have to admit the thing with Tony Curtis and Borgnine it's not only pointless but also embarrasing for AMPAS.
You may also assume they were not the only ones blowing in the wind out there (they themselves certainly speaked out loud they weren't)
Call me naive if you want, but the least you can expect for a "lifetime membership" it's a little respect for your job.
I mean, at least go see the movie, THEN you can have an opinion about it.
They didn't and they did.
That's PREJUDICE my friend. There is no other name to call this.
And it's not that difficult to link prejudice with homophobia.
They behaved like AMATEURS, to say the least.

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Vertigo's Psycho said...

As has been pointed out before during the course of these posts, one can hardly be accused of attacking or "vilifying" Crash supporters for simply using the history of the Academy Awards as a legitimate means of proving the results of this year's Best Picture race just didn't add up (and, judging from the general tone of many posters, Nathaniel's definitely had to take plenty of hits below the belt for upholding his views of the Best Picture outcome).

Certainly, votes for Crash from non-biased viewers who genuinely loved the film, along with the over 100,000 Crash DVDS mailed to voters of various award groups and the Ebert/Roeper support, were other aspects behind the Crash win but, in Oscar's 78-year history, no other film prior to Brokeback has dominated the awards season, then suddenly lost the Oscar to a film which offered scant resistance to the frontrunner leading up to the Oscars. This kind of win has never happened in Oscar history; it would be short-sighted, indeed, for Nathaniel and others concerned over the outcome of the Best Picture race to not address issues behind the Crash win/Brokeback upset, as, based on Oscar's history, the results of the Best Picture race did not simply involve a "surprise" win.

Nathaniel made another excellent point that's hard to ignore in the light of the outcome of Best Pictre: put Crash in the position Brokeback was in (have Crash winning nearly every top Best Picture Award prior to the Oscars) then have Crash lose the Best Picture Academy Award to a film it previously had trumped for nearly every pre-Oscar Best Picture award. In this scenario, certainly (post-Oscar) many people would have concerns regarding the factors behind the Crash loss, and could quickly point out Oscar's history as a justifiable reason for making claims other factors besides simply chosing the Best Picture of the Year were involved in Crashlosing the award. However, when Brokeback faces the exact same situation, some refuse to admit that political factors could have come into play in the Best Picure race. Why should Nathaniel and others have to pretend homophobia, which certainly exists, suddenly disappeared during this year's voting for Best Picture? Homophobia is not the only component involved in the Brokeback loss but, looking back over 78 years of the Oscars, it's rational to conclude agendas besides picking the Best Picture of the Year came into play during this year's Oscar race, and it's understandable many people have a problem with the outcome of the 2005 Best Picture Academy Award, and want to discuss these issues- it's a matter of not burying one's head in the sand.

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NATHANIEL R said...

CHOFER & ARKAAN -that is a strange comment from Robbins but arkaan i'm not sure about that interpretation. it's SUCH a strange comment that i am having trouble believing any interpretation.

BRENT -i'll read that article. I often link to things i don't agree with because I like the exchange of ideas. the reason you haven't seen a lot of linkage to pro-Crash articles is I've found most of them clueless about how 'Oscar' works as a whole.

i.e (the very very tired principle arguments about the strength of large ensembles and 'set in LA' in the Oscar race --two things which have never been considered pluses before in any other race and they're consistently trotted out as huge pluses, ignoring history.)

TRASHBAG -oh and yes Roeper is an idiot. And, brent, you can't be on the defense when you led the attack.

NATHANIEL R said...

CARL: No you are not correct in assuming I want Crash fans to leave my site. Why would I want that?

if you read my original article on what it would mean if Brokeback lost (written two weeks prior to the actual event) I made it very clear that there could be legitimate reasons for voting for Crash --i don't believe that that's how it won, though. Nothing in history supports that it would have had there not been other forces outside of 'film preference' in play.

certainly it's OK to like ANY of the films best --subjectivity and all...

I would be disappointed if people stopped reading my site because of this BUT due to the nature of what I do (and most people who write about film do) I can never expect that 100% of my readers will agree with me.

nor would I want them to. zzzz

But I'm not going to soften my opinion out of fear of people checking out. My best girlfriend wanted Crash to win. There's nothing wrong with people liking it. There is something VERY wrong with it winning Best Picture.

daveylow said...

What I learned from these year's Oscars that I've been foolishly thinking that the Oscars actually meant somthing. Even though year after year I've disagreed with many of their choices. I don't believe how dumb I've been all this time and how much energy I've wasted rooting for certain candidates to win.

I thought BBM and GNAGL were both better films than Crash. But I don't think GNAGL went far enough with its message.

I would like to know why Robbins didn't want to discuss why he thought it was OK that Crash won. Was it because he thought BBM didn't deserve to win? He says he doesn't want to get into trouble. One might conclude that's how he felt.