The Oscar Quest: Best Picture & Best Director – 2005
And here we go. The category that caused a thousand scandals. I remember this race fondly. I had seen almost all the films (except Munich, which was released like three days before the ceremony, essentially), and knew the race was essentially between Brokeback and Crash. Now, I had enjoyed Crash. Didn’t love it, but I enjoyed it. And Brokeback — I had seen right around the time all the hoopla had just started to begin.
Now, let me say this now — I never understand why people get so fucking crazy about films like this. Brokeback and The Kids are All Right are two films that deal with gay characters and do so in a casual way. For the most part. They’re gay, and that’s it. They’re obviously wildly different films, but for some reason, just because they’re dealing with gay characters, everyone seems to think that makes the films incredibly better. In the case of The Kids are All Right, I didn’t get it at all. That, to me, was a marginally decent film where the main characters just happened to be gay. Other people saw that and were like, “Oh my God, they’re gay and they’re normal!” And were heralding it the best movie of the decade just because someone treated a gay character the way they’re supposed to treat them — like everyone else. Brokeback, though, is the better film, and I can actually see why it should have been nominated for Best Picture. But seriously, winning? Are you serious? Nothing happens! They go into the woods, do nothing for an hour — there are random little episodes like running into a bear and maybe they say like ten words here or there — and then randomly, they fuck. Dude spits on his hand though, and that’s awesome. But still, they fuck, and then they become lovers, and then they go home. And they marry women. And we see them marrying women. Then their lives are miserable except when they see each other, and we see their lives fall apart. In a way this is kind of like Blue Valentine with an extra half hour of run time. And cowboys. I see why this was good from a “genre” perspective — though it’s really not a western. I mean, it kind of is, but also isn’t. It’s a marginal western at best. I really don’t get why this should have won Best Picture, at all. And to be fair, Crash shouldn’t have won either.
I will say, before I tell you what I think should have won instead (though it should be woefully obvious when you see what the five nominees are and what I’ve already said about them), going into Oscar night, people weren’t entirely sure what was going to happen between these two, and it went right down to the wire. I had been rooting hard for Crash at this point — not because I loved the film but because I hate rooting for the huge favorite, especially since I didn’t even love the film all that much. Whatever love I had for it went right out the window once everyone went ape shit over it. But, when Best Picture was going to be announced, and they had Jack Nicholson come out with the envelope, I knew then and there that Crash was going to win. I even remember saying, the second that happened, “I would lay all the money in the world in Crash winning right now — because there is no way Jack Nicholson would ever announce that a gay cowboy movie had just won Best Picture.” It just didn’t fit. Plus now, I have that image in my head of Nicholson saying, “Crash,” in that Nicholson way of his. I just wanted to relay that story. It’s very memorable for me.
Best Picture – 2005
And the nominees were…
Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features)
Capote (United Artists)
Crash (Lions Gate Entertainment)
Good Night, and Good Luck (Warner Bros.)
Munich (DreamWorks, Universal)
Brokeback Mountain — I’ve pretty much said it up there, I agree with this being nominated, but I don’t think it should have won. At best this is second. Maybe third. No way. Just don’t see it.
Capote — Weak link. Long, boring, and really only got in because it’s a classical nominee. This really was a terrible set of nominees. It felt really, really weak even then.
Crash –– Yeah, I liked it and all, but — seriously?
Good Night, and Good Luck — My vote. Loved this film. Almost certainly not a Best Picture winner, but, in this group, what is?
Munich — Loved this film. Saw it during my senior week before graduation the first time. Surprised it took me that long to watch it. I really liked it. But it is not a Best Picture. Great, though
I really don’t have all that much to say about these movies. It’s kind of an “in for a penny in for a pound” argument, and really, with all that’s been said already, I just don’t give enough of a shit to bother. Just, Good Night and Good Luck is a brilliant film, Munich is amazing, especially since they basically shot and edited it in like six months, and Brokeback is also very good. And Crash — well, I need to watch that again to get a real opinion on it. That and Million Dollar Baby are nearing the point of a rewatch so I can gauge my true opinions on them.
My Thoughts: Good Night and Good Luck is the vote. There really is nothing else.
Rankings: (For now.)
3. Brokeback Mountain
1. Good Night, and Good Luck
Best Director – 2005
And the nominees were…
George Clooney, Good Night and Good Luck
Paul Haggis, Crash
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Bennett Miller, Capote
Steven Spielberg, Munich
Clooney — Yeah, I get why he didn’t win. He didn’t necessarily deserve to, be he definitely should have been nominated. So, good for him.
Haggis — Yeah, definitely did not deserve to win, at all. Got in because his picture was on fast track to the big award. Sound familiar, Tom Hooper?
Lee — the only real nominee worth voting for. Talk about a weak fucking category. Like, really weak. This is what got everyone up in arms. A weak set of Pictures, and then they matched entirely with Director. This is what led to that change we saw gradually over the past five years (which looks like it will promptly be taken away in about two weeks). So, really, he’s the only vote.
Miller — Yeah, no. Good job with the picture, but I think everyone was surprised he was even nominated. Rode the coattails of the performance.
Spielberg — Really the only other choice. But he’s won twice, so, that wasn’t going to happen. And I agree. Plus, those two really long sex scenes were just weird and out of place. Great job directing, though.
My Thoughts: It’s Lee. He’s the least worst option. What a weak year.