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Writer of Brokeback Mountain blasts Academy
Writer of Brokeback Mountain blasts Academy
She was pretty funny in her comments and correct in my view. "Crash" was a safe choice saying we all discrimnate and all rise to the occasion when we confront the real humanity. I much preferred Brokeback which was a true event and may change some minds about gay love.
"Brokeback" Author Blasts the Academy
Wednesday March 15 1:37 PM ET
Who knew that the voters who choose the Academy Award winners are actually heffalumps, the pleasantly plump elephantine character from Winnie the Pooh?
At least that's what Brokeback Mountain author Annie Proulx compares them to in an op-ed for Britain's Guardian newspaper blasting Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members for denying the film adaptation of her story the Oscar for Best Picture at the 78th Academy Awards. And conservative heffalumps at that.
Proulx turned her Pulitzer Prize-winning prose against the Academy in Saturday's Guardian, stating that, despite Ang Lee's win for Best Director, old-school Hollywood is "out of touch not only with the shifting larger culture and the yeasty ferment that is America these days, but also out of touch with their own segregated city, decide which films are good." She called Best Picture winner Crash a "safe pick" for the heffalumps.
Critics have speculated that Crash pulled off its Best Picture upset because the Industry is trying to emphasize that it is in touch with its "segregated city"--namely, Los Angeles--and that voters just aren't ready to award the top prize to a film that counts homosexuality as one of its main issues. While the racially charged Crash may have seemed like an edgy choice in light of its in-your-face treatment of ethnic stereotyping, was it really just a cop-out?
The 70-year-old Proulx certainly thinks so. "Next year we can look to the awards for controversial themes on the punishment of adulterers with a branding iron in the shape of the letter 'A,' runaway slaves and the debate over free silver," she wrote.
(The funny thing is, she thinks she's joking.)
"If you are looking for smart judging based on merit, skip the Academy Awards next year and pay attention to the Independent Spirit Awards," Proulx added. Brokeback Mountain lassoed the awards for Best Feature and Best Directing honors for Ang Lee at the indie affair.
Brokeback did ride off with three Oscars, including Best Adapted Screenplay award for Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana (who turned Proulx's New Yorker short story into a two-hour-and-14-minute epic) and one for Gustavo Santaolalla's haunting score.
And if those folks at the Independent Spirit Awards know so much, then weren't they correct in awarding Crash two statuettes (Best First Feature for director Paul Haggis and his feuding producers, and Best Supporting Male for Matt Dillon)?
Proulx also had constructive criticism for Lions Gate Entertainment, Crash's distributor. "Rumor has it that Lion's Gate inundated the academy voters with DVD copies of Trash--excuse me--Crash a few weeks before the ballot deadline."
That part about the inundation may be true, but what did Crash ever do to Annie Proulx?
She left few stars unturned as she then turned her wrath to the Academy's "expected" choice of Philip Seymour Hoffman for Best Actor.
"Hollywood loves mimicry, the conversion of a film actor into the spittin' image of a once-living celeb," Proulx wrote, presumably referring to Hoffman's spot-on portrayal of Truman Capote. "But which takes more skill, acting a person who strolled the boulevard a few decades ago…or the construction of characters from imagination and a few cold words on the page?" Speaking of cold words…
So maybe the Academy should have gone for the rare tie and split the Best Actor prize between Hoffman and Heath Ledger (New York Times film critic Stephen Holden compared Ledger's performance in Brokeback to the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn). But if there's one thing we yeasty Americans know, it's that the Academy messes up from time to time.
The question of whether Crash is actually better than Brokeback Mountain can be added to the myriad debates that have pitted past Best Picture winners Dances with Wolves, Forrest Gump and Titanic against critics' picks for those years --GoodFellas, Pulp Fiction and L.A. Confidential. And that's just in the 90s. Then there's the Best Picture-less controversy over Citizen Kane, High Noon, Rebel Without a Cause…
See? Just chalk this supposed injustice up to what it really is.
3/15/2006 1:22 pm
Hollywood is soooo leftwing, how can you blame them for being homophobic? How come whenever loses they blame homophobia or racism, but they would never say that Brokeback got nominated only because it is gay? It is just they "gay card". Frankly I am sick of it!|
3/15/2006 2:42 pm
Actually I think a number are right wing. like Mel Gibson and to some extent George Clooney. But I think Brokeback was a better film and desrved to win for its effect on society.|