What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Why Brokeback Mountain Should Have Won

It's been awhile since I posted and I won't lie and say that MySpace isn't a culprit but it isn't alone. I've also been quite busy outside of computer use. What with plays I'm directing, and whatnot. I don't spend nearly as much time on MySpace as I do on this blog when I'm into it heavily, but I will admit that sometimes after I've been on MySpace for a few minutes I don't have the desire to write here as much. It takes less time to check over there and it gets out the urge to comunicate, even if it is superficially. I realize that my post of late have heavily favored a MySpace subject, and this will hopefully be the last one since the subject is tiresome.

On the subject of the Oscars I'd like to chime in a bit. I watched with everyone else as Crash won the Oscar over Brokeback Mountain and I can only say that it further indicates the insignificance of the award. Best picture is supposed to be the pinicle of excellence in the film industry for the year and above all other awards, it is the one you want to win. Personally, I don't think that it matters near as much as the individual awards, for director, cinematography, and acting. The selfless, humble thing to do is to play the "no 'I' in team" card and root for the play to win above all. Of course this is preposterous when you see one movie win every award except best picture. The message there is that the movie had all of the elements but couldn't put it together well enough to beat out the other movie that had inferior acting, directing, etc. I find this ridiculous in the case of Brokeback Mountain, where directing, acting, cinematography, and the script all came together to create a great movie. I don't think that anyone would deny that. So it should have won best picture, hands down. I didn't see Capote or Munich but Good Night and Good Luck was one of the most original, creative movies I've seen in a long time, and is really in a class of it's own. I would have gladly accepted it as the Best Picture winner, but I knew that was highly unlikely, given it's narrow appeal. As for Crash, I liked it. But I also liked The 40 Year Old Virgin and Fun With Dick and Jane. Crash was about much more serious subject matters, granted, but like other decent flicks that shouldn't be winning Academy Awards it was one layered. It tried to teach you one lesson and then teach it over and over again using different people and multiple interlocking situations. I'm not saying, like other would that this is an unforgivalble sin that completely ruins the movie. I still enjoyed the movie. It shouldn't have won the Best Picture Oscar, though. It wasn't that good.

With that said, The Academy is not a single entity that gets together as a committee to discuss these things. Votes are left to individuals with individual opinions and these opinions are collected to form a final conclusion, without a debate ever taking place on the matter. Let's face it, the decision simply isn't that important. I've been disappointed in the choice of the Academy before and it won't be the last time. i've also thought that the award went to actors or directors who didn't win it based on one film, but on a body of work. Was Denzel Washington's performance in Training Day better than Russel Crow's in A Beautiful Mind. Please! But, I was glad they gave it to him. He deserved it. Crow had stolen the statue from Tom Hanks the previous year, so I wasn't too heart broken.

It's these little neuances and politicies that make the Oscars kind of a faux awards show. In many instances the Academy's decision is based on the awards that precede it in the year. The Oscars, being the final award handed out, is more redundant, most years than this. But, then again, like I said. It's not that important.


Jason said...

While I can't comment on who should have or should not have won in almost any of the categories because I hadn't seen the films(except for the live-action short film category, in which I had seen three including the eventual winner), I will say that aren't most entertainment awards largely irrelevant. I think it was Miramax that began the trend in the 1970s or 1980s of really hyping films and performances specifically for the Academy Awards (my facts there could be a bit off). Ever since then, the hype machine plays at least as big a part as the film itself in determining nominations and awards.

But don't think the MPAA is along in this problem. The Tony Award for Best New Musical is far and away much worse, in my opinion at awarding the "best" award to something other than what might actually be the "best". The Grammys may even be the worst in violation. The lesson is that we shouldn't expect awards to be a de facto truth about the quality of art, even in the best of circumstances.

Having said that, awards reflect a particular perception about the art in question, but they also present a particular perception about what it means to be the "best". Is it simply the best film making? Or is it more than that? Brokeback Mountain is really nothing more than a love story (I've read the book/pamphlet), although beautifully portrayed, from what I've heard about the film. Some may argue that Crash presents a much more relevant, poignant, and imperative story in today's culture. Having never seen either film, only heard about them, I can't say that is the case, but it's the perception I get. It's a different interpretation of the idea of "best". That may be hard for filmmakers in the traditionalist model to accept (i.e. those who hold the quality of the art-craft up as most important), but I think it's a valid designation.

Kyle said...

Don't get me wrong, I think that the Oscars do a much better job at awarding truly deserving people than the Grammys or Tonys. I think that's why people are so engulfed in their choices. They expect the Oscars to be right, or at least close. While it probably was close in most catagories, this year, it's a little disappointing when people see, what they see as the most important catagory go astray.