So I stayed up and watched the Oscars last night like we've done every year since whatever year it was that Braveheart won Best Picture and I can't help but feel like someone pulled the rug out from underneath me while I wasn't looking. I have to say that I was stunned when Brokeback Mountain didn't win Best Picture. Wait -- that's not entirely true. I did watch Crash last week because I knew it had a chance of sneaking in and taking Best Picture, so it didn't come as a complete shock when Jack Nicholson read that film's name at the end of the Oscar telecast last night. It's a good film -- and after I got done watching it, I said to myself, "Now, if that wins Best Picture instead of Brokeback, I won't feel too bad." And truthfully, it was a good film. Not the best movie I've ever seen in my life, but still very capable.
But for some reason, I still can't get over Brokeback Mountain not winning. A lot of the blogs this morning and screaming "homophobia!" which I'm not sure I entirely agree with. While the case could be made that even members of the generally liberal AMPAS were turned off by the subject matter of Brokeback, I'm more inclined to think that Brokeback Mountain suffered from the split-the-difference factor that seems to have become more common in recent Oscar years. What I think happened is that a lot of Academy members decided to vote for Brokeback by voting for Ang Lee's direction, and then to recognize Crash's Paul Haggis by voting for Crash for Best Picture. At least that's what I'd like to believe anyway, and for the most part, I don't think there was some conspiracy to cheat Brokeback out of the Best Picture Oscar. There's certainly plenty of precedence for splitting the Best Director/Best Picture Oscar.
But a part of me just can't get the bad taste out of my mouth. Perhaps it's because Brokeback affected me much more deeply than Crash did and on that alone, I feel it was the best film of the year. I know that Heidi will disagree with me, and Jeff will too. It's silly to admit, but every time I heard that Brokeback theme "The Wings" during the Oscars, I just started to tear up a little bit. I'm not sure why, but I just did. I'm very glad that the score won the Oscar, because it is by far the most original score I've heard in a while and it fit the movie just perfectly. And besides, even though John Williams has lost 40 Oscars, he's won five which is probably more than this guy will ever win in his lifetime.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the night for me was reserved for the usually uneventfuly Best Original Song. I so wanted Dolly Parton to win and it seemed like she was poised to win, but then that utterly ridiculous rap song from Hustle & Flow beat her out in the end. To her credit, Dolly seemed genuinely happy for them, but I couldn't help but think about the relatively few opportunities Dolly Parton is going to have to win an Oscar. Not that it matters to her, I'm sure. She has a closet full of awards I'm sure, but I just felt like an Oscar would be a good way to reward her 40+ year career of songwriting. But I suppose that's not what the Oscars are about, really. And as Heidi pointed out, how many more chances are the guys who won going to get at Oscar? Valid point.
So overall, it was kind of a disappointing Oscar year because the one big upset was half-predicted and then everything else fell right into the place where all the Oscar prognositcators said. And in the end, it's just the fucking Oscars.