Friday, March 10, 2006

Keep repeating "It's only a movie, it's only a movie...."

Ok, I was going to stay out of talking about the Oscars and the fact that Brokeback Mountain didn't win Best Picture because I didn't care. I disagreed so strongly with so many of the nominations and some people who were overlooked that the second they were announced, I stopped caring. Consequently when Crash (a film I really enjoyed) pulled of that upset, I was pleased for the film but I wasn't bothered. I wasn't surprised either. Race is something the Academy have been relentlessly bashed about for years and years and years and it's something that they have addressed in the past few years with the "historic" year of Halle Berry and Denzel Washington winning being the starting point. Morgan Freeman has won, Don Cheadle and Sophie Okenedo have been nominated and so on. So is it surprising that a film set in present day Los Angeles and dealing with just how widespread racism really is and the effects it can have scoops Best Picture? Not to me. This way they can finally say they're not racist. And they did it with a good and worthwhile, if occasionally forced and heavy handed, movie. But of course, not everyone sees it that way. There has been such an insane amount of uproar since the Oscars that I have become increasingly embarrassed for people who are getting themselves in such a tizzy over what is, at the end of the day, an awards show. For movies.

The Academy has been accused of homophobia. But that just doesn't wash. The entertainment industry is the gayest one there is and if major Hollywood stars have sham marriages, it isn't because Hollywood is homophobic, but because Hollywood thinks the world is. They've happily doled out Oscars to gay performances (Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, William Hurt in Kiss Of The Spiderwoman, hell they even awarded Linda Hunt Best Supporting Actress for playing a man in The Year Of Living Dangerously) and nominated them all over the shop too (The Crying Game got a truckload of nominations and only won a couple, I don't recall this kind of furore happening then). In 1970, Midnight Cowboy and its openly gay director John Schlesinger were awarded Best Picture and Director. The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert rightly won Best Costume Design and Tim Chappel accepted the award in a dress. So it's not like they've NEVER awarded edgy gay material or people before ever. Ok, it's not like they do it very often, but if Hollywood could come to understand that the world isn't as homophobic as it thinks, and all the closeted talent came out, we'd find they've awarded a whole lot more gay people than we realise.

So why am I blogging about it now. What was the straw that broke the camel's back? (did you see what I did there?) Well, dear readers, it was this. Click it and read it if you feel like wading through 240 pages of ridiculousness. In short, DaveCullen.com and all the people who frequent the message boards there were so upset that Jack & Ennis's love was killed by the Academy (that's a direct quote from them) that they decided to raise money to place an ad in Variety proclaiming that Brokeback was the best picture of the year and listing all the other awards the film has won. The cost? In excess of EIGHTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. Could they think of nothing better to spend the money on? Is anyone who voted for Crash picking up Variety this morning and going "oh well this makes all the difference! What was I thinking? Rescind the award!"? Of course they aren't. More likely, they're dismissing the ad out of hand. And who, frankly, could blame them? Let's not lose sight of the fact that it's a film. An important film, but still a film. And it's a film, I would wager, whose importance isn't diminished by losing the Oscar. But if anyone associated with the film opened Variety today and thought anything other than "Dear God, is this for real?", I'd be hugely surprised.

3 comments:

Eric said...

I guess, at the end of the day, it's their money. But god, they COULD pay off my college loans. That'd be so much more worthwhile.

Addy said...

Excellent blog. And I agree: the world isn't as homophobic as Hollywood, or many others, think it is...

The insanity surrounding this boggles the mind...

Shayachern said...

I totally agree. While Brokeback Mountain is in my top 20 favorite films, I wasn't surprised or dissapointed when Crash won best picture. Did you happen to read Annie Proulx's response? If not, it is quite an interesting read.