March 08, 2006

Final words on Oscar 2006

The Jack Reacts

Jack Nicholson has gone and proved just why he's my favourite actor of all-time. Aside from being just a hilarious guy, a charismatic personality and a brilliant thespian, he also has wonderful taste. Mr. Nicholson cast a deserved vote for Brokeback Mountain as Best Picture. He, like the rest of us, thought it was sewn up. His reaction in the above screencap tells you all you need to know about this year's Academy Awards.

I feel the need to reiterate just why I'm harping on about it, AGAIN. I have a ridiculous passion for cinema, and that (unfortunately) extends to cinema's highest prize. For the first time in years, I was genuinely passionate about the Oscar frontrunner. I loved Brokeback Mountain. I also passionately loathed Crash.

With all that passion involved, you can't blame me for being so obsessive right? :p I'm sure others have their obsessive quirks.

Anyway, having somewhat slightly calmed down after the snub to end all snubs, I've gotta find an outlet for my feelings. I'll keep it short – like so many movies, Brokeback doesn't need the Oscar to validate its greatness. Anyone who's seen it knows that already, and it's a film as ageless as its central love story. However, for so many people, it's clear that the film DID need the Oscar…

After trawling through a number of accounts, I've found that many homosexuals understandably find this a huge slap in the face. Other fans of the movie like myself can only stand back and sympathise. Just how far has the Academy REALLY progressed in its history? It's strange how this loss just makes Brokeback's themes all the more resonant.

All I can say is – it's a film that will be remembered. As will Crash, but for all the wrong reasons. Never fear, for time will reveal the travesty that is AMPAS' decision soon enough.

I'm done for this year's Oscars, apologies for rambling so much. I'll leave you – those that are still here and interested that is – with a few of the many articles that have already appeared on the Net deploring the disaster:

The Times summarise the Oscar ceremony

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, fast-becoming my fave British film critic, also offers a few quick insights

Gene Stone from Yahoo! writes a critical commentary -

Emanuel Levy on Oscar's taste for mediocrity

Stephen King - yes, THAT Stephen King - on this year's outcome

MSNBC come down particularly hard on Crash

And finally, 2 lengthy but brilliant articles that are definitely worth reading:

A recounting of this year's Oscar race, and how it all went so horribly wrong

An elaboration on how Brokeback was more than just a movie to some people

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. I haven't seen broke back mountain, but I thought Crash was brilliant.

    Why did you hate it so much?

    08 Mar 2006, 12:28

  2. Hmm, part of my hatred for Crash stems from the fact that A – it won Best Picture out of nowhere, B – it's highly regarded by the 'public' (aka IMDb users), even if not by critics and C – because I think this (from an earlier blog entry):

    "It is a poorly executed white-liberal fantasy, constructed solely as a bad form of escapism and, frankly, when you're dealing with an issue as complex and sensitive as racism, I don't think escapism is the right treatment for it. Paul Haggis (now my least favourite person on the planet) seems to think that showing us a bunch of decent actors on autopilot performing a series of blatantly artificial scenarios works on film. It doesn't. Watching Crash you'd think the entire population of Los Angeles spend night and day engaging in not-so-intellectual confrontations about racism. The amount of racial slurs used to illustrate this belief is laughable, as is the compulsive need for each character to utter the word "fuck" every other minute.
    Haggis takes a heavy-handed approach to his subject and literally wallops his audience with a sledgehammer, ramming these issues down our throats. For what purpose? At the end, he pats us on the back and tells us not to worry, because everyone is racist anyway just to varying degrees. How does he arrive at such a conclusion? By presenting his characters in their best and their worst lights with NO grey area inbetween. What he ends up doing is playing with stereotypes that are unnecessarily offensive, particularly with regards to the Asian characters. He shows us the type, then half an hour later subverts it, but leaves no room for character development inbetween. Sandra Bullock falls down the stairs and suddenly her Hispanic maid is her best friend? Good Lord.
    Crash is like Magnolia in its undeniably contrived set-up, but worse. The criss-crossing of the characters verges on the unbelievable, but unlike that latter film, Crash lacks the heart to make itself remotely commendable.
    It's a credit to the abilities of Terrence Howard and Don Cheadle that they manage to rise above all this commotion and manage to inject some humility into their characterisations. Unfortunately, it's not enough to save this disastrous exercise from the realm of utter crap."

    On a more positive note though, do see Brokeback Mountain if you have the opportunity to do so any time soon. It's most definitely the finest movie of 2005, in my humble opinion.

    18 Mar 2006, 13:57

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