Does Crash Deserve Its Best Picture Academy Award?

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Does Crash Deserve Its Best Picture Academy Award?

Does Crash Deserve Its Best Picture Academy Award?

The Academy Awards is no stranger to controversy and 2006 was no different. To the shock of many, Crash beat out Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck, and Munich to win the Oscar for best picture. Going in, Brokeback Mountain was considered to be the favorite walking out with the prestigious title, with many stunned that Crash even received the best picture nomination. This isn’t the first time that the Academy voters made a big blunder for the best picture category, with Dances with Wolves (beating Goodfellas, Awakenings, Ghost, and The Godfather Part III) and Shakespeare in Love (beating out Elizabeth, Saving Private Ryan, Life is Beautiful, and The Thin Red Line) also considered terrible best picture winners. So, does Crash truly deserve all the hate for winning the best picture award? Let’s dive deeper into this topic.

Starring Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, and Matt Dillion, Crash was released in theaters on May 6, 2005, and the film received a lukewarm reception. This Paul Haggis film interweaves several stories following several citizens in a Los Angeles neighborhood after 9/11, namely a district attorney and his prejudiced wife, two police detectives, a Middle Eastern store owner, a racist traffic cop, and a wealthy African American couple. Currently, the film holds a solid 74% on rotten tomatoes, with some reviewers calling the 2005 film thought-provoking, compelling, intelligent, and well crafted while others called the movie a bit over-the-top, melodramatic, and a safe after school special film.

All-in-all, Crash isn’t a BAD film, but it’s definitely not the best movie that came out in 2005. While the film does a solid job of tackling the themes of racism, class, and xenophobia, the film is very on the nose about its message and the movie does end up feeling more like an after-school special than an actual film.

Take Matt Dillion’s character, Officer Ryan; the racist cop is not subtle at the very least about his behavior, which makes you wonder how he still has a job as a police officer. Examining characters like these need to be a delicate balance. Racism does indeed exist in our world; however, people tend to be more subtle about their hate for other cultures. Of course, some have no issues proudly displaying their hate for another race; however, Officer Ryan’s dialogue tends to be cringy because it doesn’t feel like Higgs trusts his audience enough to subdue the racist character. Despite the in-your-face message, the acting is pretty good across the board, with Dillion, Sandra Bullock, and Terrance Howard being notable standouts. Another issue with the film stems from the movie not having a clear journey for their characters.

Yes, several characters do change by the time the film credits roll, but some of that development never feels earned. Take Sandra Bullock’s character, Jean, who’s filled with hate and anger throughout the film. Instead of going on a personal journey to really tackle the deep root of her problems, she comes to her own realization about why she’s so pissed off all of the time. There wasn’t any dramatic moment that may have changed her attitude about how she views other races. In fact, when she and her husband was carjacked, that should’ve heightened her hate towards blacks.

Without a doubt, the best film was Brokeback Mountain. Back in 2005, it was rare to have mainstream films that centered around gay relationships, thus the movie not only told a beautiful story about the love between two cowboys but it got its message across in a subtle manner thanks to the amazing direction from Ang Lee. The story about Jack Twist and Ennie Del Mar’s love affair was a fresh take on the topic when it was released in 2005, whereas Crash’s plots weren’t anything new or revolutionary. No offense to Crash as I know everyone worked extremely hard on the movie; however, the backlash surrounding the film winning the Academy Award for best picture was warranted. Is it the worst film to ever win a best picture Academy Award? No, that honor belongs to The Greatest Show On Earth. Though Forrest Gump beating Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption was equally ridiculous. At the end of the day, Crash is just a solid film that happened to walk out of with the top honors at the 2006 Oscars. There were reports that a political play was behind the reason Crash was chosen over Brokeback Mountain, though none of those rumors have been confirmed to be true. Whatever the reason is, Brokeback Mountain doesn’t need a trophy to lay claim that it was the best movie of 2005.Racism

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