Monday, March 06, 2006

In case my puzzlement is at all puzzling...

Why is it still surreal -nearly 24 hours later - to see Crash beat Brokeback Mountain?

Here's why -- a comparison of their respective accolades before March 5:

Brokeback Mountain

British Academy of Film & Television Artists: Picture, Director, Screenplay, Supporting Actor

Hollywood Foreign Press Asociation Golden Globes Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Song

Producers Guild of America Best Picture

Directors Guild of America Best Director

Writers Guild of America Best Adapted Screenplay

New York Film Critics Association Picture, Director, Actor

Los Angeles Film Critics Associaiton Picture, Director Runner-up for Actor

Broadcast Film Critics Association Picture, Director, Supporting Actress

San Francisco Film Critics Picture, Director, Actor

St. Louis Film Critics: Picture, Director, Actor, Screenplay, runner-up for cinematograpy/effects (to King Kong)

Las Vegas Film Critics: Picture, Director, Actor

Iowa Film Critics: Picture and Director

Independent Spirit Awards: Picture and Director

Boston Film Critics: Picture, Director

Florida Film Critics: Best Picture, Director, Screenplay

Dallas-Fort Worth Critics: Picture, Director, Screenplay, runner-up for actor

Souteastern Film Critics: Picture, Director, Screenplay, runner-up for actor

Utah Film Critics: Best Picture, Direcotr, runner-up for actor

Vancouver Film Critics: Best Picture

London Film Critics: Best Picture

Venice Film Festival: Best Picture

Golden Satellite Awards: Best Picture, Director, Film Editing, Song

Online Film and Television Televions Association: 11 awards including Picture,
Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Screenplay,Ensemble

International Cinephile Society Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, runner-up for Director (to History of Violence), cinematography, score

Most Academy Award Nominations - 8

Number One Box Office Story of 2005 Per "Box Office Mojo" and Highest Grosser of Nominees

8 Chicago Film Critics Nominations including Best Picture

Central Ohio Film Critics: Best Picture, Director and Design Runner-up to A History of Violence; Best Actor, Screenplay

Phoenix Film Critics: Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography (lost Picture to Cinderella Man)

Top 5 at African American Film Critics Circle (where Crash won)

National Board of Review Runner Up, Best Direcotr, Supporting Actor

Internet Movie Data Base Poll: Best Picture

Fennecus Movie Database awards: 14 nominations, wins include Best Picture (Crash not nominated)

Sight & Sound Magazine (arguably top film magazine in the world): Best Picture

Film Editor's guild nominee for Best Film Editing (but not at Oscars)

Cinematographer's guild nominee for Best Cinematographhy

Over 300 top 10 lists, by the far the most of the year.

Most criticially acclaimed film of 2005 per Premiere Magazine critics poll.

Most critically acclaimed film of 2005 per Entertainment Weekly critics poll.

Human Rights Commission Award: Ang Lee

Many more on-line awards

Until now, no movie that had ever won the Producer's, Directors and Writer's Guilds awards had ever lost the Oscar for Best Picture.

Until now, no movie that had ever won the Golden Globe, Director's Guild and was the most nominated had ever lost the Oscar for Best Picture.

Statistically, Picture/Director matched at about 75% of the time, I can do the math later if anyone is interested.

Statistically, the most nominated film at the Oscars wins about 75% of the time (maybe more), math later.

Statistically, the film with the most acting nominations usually wins Best Picture (percentage later, my guess is over 70% of the time).

Statistically, films with the Best Director and Screenplay won 86% of the time (38/44).

BAFTA--Original screenplay, supporting actress;
Chicago Film Critics (thanks to Ebert & Roeper) for Best Picture;

African American Film Critics Best Pciture;

Screen Actor's Guild award for Best Acting Ensemble;

Editor's Guild for Best Editing;

Writer's Guild for Original Screenplay.

As for the Golden Globes, Crash becomes only the 2nd Oscar winner since 1943 when the Golden Globes began without a Globe nomination for Best Picture; the only other time was 1973 when there was confusion whether to categorize The Sting as a comedy or Drama)

The above objectively speaks for itself. Of all the five nominees, Good Night and Good Luck and Brokeback were even for most of the top critical scores, followed by Capote. Crash was dead last. On some lists, it even ranked below Sin City. (Which I thought a very good movie, groundbreaking cinematically, but without a whiff of Oscar anywhere near it.)

Many media critics and writers are blasting this year's Best Picture choice. And they should. Something insidious was certainly afoot. Never before has a film that struck the American zeitgeist so quickly and effortlessly, won so much acclaim and awards been inexplicably trumped by a movie that received almost no acclaim or awards, made no deep inroads as a cultural phenom, and frankly just wasn't that special.

Even though Brokeback wasn't near my favorite this year, there's something deeply embarrassing in last night's events.
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