Friday, March 10, 2006

Come on, people, it's only the Oscars

Okay, so the ceremony is over for another year, and Crash pulls an upset and wins. Fine. Whatever.

But the Brokeback supporters aren't yet willing to let go. Among the latest challenges to the loss is a weird claim, similar to the "hanging chads" controversy of the 2000 presidential elections, suggesting that Oscar voters are boobs who misread the voting ballot and voted for Crash when they really really meant to vote for Brokeback. The following image has been making the rounds online.

Personally, I find the ballot (assuming it is an accurate reproduction of what the real ballot looked like, and there's no evidence of that) easy to comprehend. You follow the black arrow. But maybe when I'm old and stupid, I might make such a mistake. I'll let you know when I'm old and stupid.

Next, a group of Brokeback supporters have successfully solicited thousands of dollars online to place a full-color ad in next weeks' Variety that looks like this.

Well, that'll show 'em, won't it?

Look, I'm delighted to see any movie garner a following of passionate fans who will get behind it to this degree. That's wonderful. But this has nothing to do with the relative merits of either movie. It has to do with placing too much importance on the wrong thing — to wit, the Best Picture Oscar. Here's the deal. Brokeback Mountain exists, and it will always exist, for this generation and future ones to see. It has made its mark on film history, and the loss of a glitzy but increasingly meaningless industry award has no bearing on that legacy. For those who think its loss is a grave injustice, newsflash: it's not the first one in history. Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction? Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan? Chicago over The Pianist? There are more examples over the last 78 years of Oscar getting it wrong than getting it right.

I've often said, and many of my friends seem to agree, that regardless of whatever awards a film may have on its mantlepiece, if that movie isn't on my DVD shelf then said awards aren't that special to me. I'm not more likely to hold a movie in higher regard than another one simply because it has "Academy Award Winner Best Picture!" emblazoned on the DVD package in 48 point type. If I had a choice, right now, between watching Oscar winner American Beauty or the couldn't-get-near-the-Oscars-with-a-ten-foot-pole Big Trouble in Little China, could you guess which I'd pick?

Brokeback's legacy doesn't lie in a gold-plated statuette. It lies in the hearts of the audience that loves it. Life goes on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A bit late for a comment but -- the one that always annoyed me was Terms of Endearment over The Right Stuff. I've learned to live with it, though.