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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Losing gracefully: Brokeback fans not exempt....a moderate rant

Posted on 2006.03.09 at 09:16
Tags: ,


As many of you know, I saw (and re-saw) and became a huge fan of the film Brokeback Mountain, by far my favourite since the LotR films, and, perhaps, one of my all-time favourites. I really, really think it's a beautiful work of cinematic storytelling art.

Naturally, I was thrilled when it kept picking up awards, and, like most of its fans, I hoped it would win the United State's most coveted film award, "Best Picture" at the Academy Awards.

When it won "Best Adapted Screenplay" and "Best Director" I held my breath, ready to burst into squees when Jack Nicholson said for Best Picture, "And the winner is ... Brokeback Mountain!" But he didn't. Amazingly, Nicholson gasped and said, "Crash!" It was amazing to the Crash crew, too, since they were going wild in the seating. A true upset. And, as I said previously, I was upset. Stunned, in fact. I spent the next hours and days moping around the boards and LJ's.

It was at the LJ of another BBM fan that I first read and discussed Kenneth Turan's scold of Hollywood voters for electing Crash over Brokeback. I didn't agree with everything he said, since I have always had a picture of Hollywood folk as extremely liberal except for the random Charlton Heston, but I knew that resistance to the specifically homosexual aspect of the portrayal was real. People I've talked to here, a middle-of-the-road part of the U.S. when it comes to sexual issues, who really liked the film, maybe even loved it, were made uncomfortable by the amorous scenes between the two men. Certainly, even otherwise very liberal viewers may have found it difficult to watch two men kissing, really kissing, like any heterosexual pair of lovers on the screen (not to mention the murkily-shot scene of their first rough, brusk encounter,which any viewer old enough to know can tell is supposed to be anal sex).

But, as I read more and more snippets, especially in articles written by more analytical writers, I modified my views as to why Crash won. I wrote to another fellow-fan, perhaps it wasn't so much that Academy voters rejected BBM, but that they simply wanted Crash more, for various reasons. Perhaps they really thought it was the better film (still unimaginable to me -- or to my husband -- I confess). Or, as some practical-minded analysts who focus on the business side of Hollywood suggested, it was because so many LA actors and other artists (the majority of Academy voters) were actually in Crash. The film had a very large cast, very dedicated to the project, and a big crew. Or they had worked with people who worked on Crash -- its cast, its director, its crew. Or they had family members and friends who had worked on the film, etc. Some writers suggested that LA residents had warmed to the film simply because it was about their own city, giving a gritty but hopelful view of that city, which had to be affecting to them in a personal way.

Anyway, since commenting in these LJ's, I have quieted down, partially because I feel I am over it, and partially because I haven't liked the tone of the protests and complaints. Although I loathe losing anything myself, I also hate letting it show. I'll whine to close friends in private, but in public I am all smiles.

I have always admired gracious losers, those who can step back and let the winners enjoy their moment of recognition without casting a shadow over the proceedings. A lot of Brokeback fans, it seems, have been so incensed and so emotional about the loss, they seem to have lost their manners along with the award. This has embarrassed me on the filmmaker's behalf, because it makes them look like sore losers, too. When I think of Ang Lee's moving and gracious acceptance speech at the Oscars when he received Best Director, I want to cringe. I hate to think the world will associate him and his film with the tongue-lashings being doled out by his film's wounded fans.

The other thing I haven't liked about the BBM fan backlash has been its political nature. Protests to the award going to Crash have not focussed on the matter of merit as much as the supposed internal attitudes of academy voters: their prejudices, their psycholodical inadequacies and lack of cultural enlightenment, etc. Making the attack a political one like this makes the film seem as though it's supposed to be an "issue film," which it isn't. Ang Lee and the creators did not make the film as a political statement. Most viewers who have loved it (raising my hand) have not seen it as one. We have loved it as a beautiful film -- powerful and true to the human condition. Period. To drag in the political stuff ("Academy voters are homophobes!"), even if it were true, serves to skew the public perception of the film and degrades its worth (in my opinion). It would have been far better to keep our mouths shut and restrict the licking of wounds to low-profile LJ's, blogs, and emails (in my opinion). At least until a decent interval had passed, we would have done better to allow the winner to be a winner. By dragging Crash's Best Picture Oscar through the mud, we have only dirtied ourselves. Worse, we have smirched our film.

I hope it will blow over soon. I hope general audiences (who are potential audiences of the film on DVD) will not remember Brokeback Mountain first and foremost as "that gay movie," which they can instantly dismiss. The film that all those gay-rights folks had the big snit about when it didn't win.

Again, just my opinion.

***

Anyway. Here's the article that prompted this post. Roger Ebert shows that Kenneth Turan isn't the only one who can issue a public scolding. It was in the entertainment section of the paper this morning.

Now, I am no big Roger Ebert fan; we often disagree about films regularly. (Heck, I don't think he gave RotK four stars!) But I don't disrespect him and don't think he has any sort of anti-gay, anti-Ang Lee axe to grind, either. When he says he thought Crash was better, I don't assume he is lying, deluded or a closet anti-gay reactionary. I am assuming he is sincere. I still don't agree with his assessment of the film, but it gave me an awful pang to see this public dressing-down. Especially when I think of Ang Lee and the other people who made this film reading it. I am hoping they will see the ungracious behaviour of their film's supporters for what it actually was: wounded love striking out....

~ Mechtild

Posted on Thu, Mar. 09, 2006

'Crash' a 'safe harbor' for liberals? Hardly
BY ROGER EBERT

One of the mysteries of the 2006 Oscar season is the virulence with which lovers of "Brokeback Mountain" savaged "Crash." When the film about racism actually won the Oscar for best picture, there was no grace in their response. As someone who felt "Brokeback" was a great film but "Crash" a greater one, I would have been pleased if either had won.

But here is Ken Turan in the Los Angeles Times, writing on the morning after: "So for people who were discomfited by 'Brokeback Mountain' but wanted to be able to look themselves in the mirror and feel like they were good, productive liberals, 'Crash' provided the perfect safe harbor. They could vote for it in good conscience, vote for it and feel they had made a progressive move, vote for it and not feel that there was any stain on their liberal credentials for shunning what 'Brokeback' had to offer. And that's exactly what they did."

And Nikki Finke, in the LA Weekly: "Way back on January 17th, I decided to nominate the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Best Bunch of Hypocrites. That's because I felt this year's dirty little Oscar secret was the anecdotal evidence pouring in to me about hetero members of the Academy of Motions Picture Arts and Sciences being unwilling to screen 'Brokeback Mountain.' For a community that takes pride in progressive values, it seemed shameful to me that Hollywood's homophobia could be on a par with Pat Robertson's."

What is intriguing about these writers and other critics is that they never mention the other three best picture nominees: "Capote," "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "Munich." Their silence on these films reveals their agenda: They wanted "Brokeback Mountain" to win, saw "Crash" as the spoiler, and attacked "Crash." If "Munich" had been the spoiler, they might have focused on it. When they said those who voted for "Crash" were homophobes who were using a liberal movie to mask their hatred of homosexuals, they might have said the same thing about "Munich."

This seems simply wrong. Consider Finke's "anecdotal evidence" that puts Hollywood's homophobia on a par with Pat Robertson's. PAT ROBERTSON? This is certainly the most extreme statement she could make on the subject, but can it be true? How many anecdotes add up to evidence?

My impression, also based on anecdotal evidence, is that the usual number of academy voters saw the usual number of academy nominees, and voted for the ones they admired the most. In a year without "Brokeback Mountain," Finke, Turan and many others might have admired "Crash." It is not a "safe harbor," but a film that takes the discussion of racism in America in a direction it has not gone before in the movies, directing attention at those who congratulate themselves on not being racist, including liberals and/or minority group members. It is a movie of raw confrontation about the complexity of our motives.
It is noticeable how many writers on "Hollywood's homophobia" were able to sidestep "Capote," which was a hard subject to miss, being right there on the same list of best picture nominees. Were "Brokeback's" supporters homophobic in championing the cowboys over what Jon Stewart called the "effete New York intellectual"?

Of course not. "Brokeback Mountain" was simply a better movie than "Capote." And "Crash" was better than "Brokeback Mountain," although they were both among the best films of the year. That is a matter of opinion. But I was not "discomfited" by "Brokeback Mountain." Read my original review. I chose "Crash" as the best film of the year not because it promoted one agenda and not another, but because it was a better film.

The nature of the attacks on "Crash" by the supporters of "Brokeback Mountain" seem to proceed from the other position: "Brokeback" is better not only because of its artistry but because of its subject matter, and those who disagree hate homosexuals. Its supporters could vote for it in good conscience, vote for it and feel they had made a progressive move, vote for it and not feel that there was any stain on their liberal credentials for shunning what "Crash" had to offer.


***

For those who haven't seen it, and for my own files, here is the news article that caused the broo-ha ha, appearing right after the Academy Awards:

Breaking no ground
Why 'Crash' won, why 'Brokeback' lost and how the academy chose to play it safe.

By Kenneth Turan, LA Times Staff Writer
March 5, 2006

Sometimes you win by losing, and nothing has proved what a powerful, taboo-breaking, necessary film "Brokeback Mountain" was more than its loss Sunday night to "Crash" in the Oscar best picture category.

Despite all the magazine covers it graced, despite all the red-state theaters it made good money in, despite (or maybe because of) all the jokes late-night talk show hosts made about it, you could not take the pulse of the industry without realizing that this film made a number of people distinctly uncomfortable.

More than any other of the nominated films, "Brokeback Mountain" was the one people told me they really didn't feel like seeing, didn't really get, didn't understand the fuss over. Did I really like it, they wanted to know. Yes, I really did.

In the privacy of the voting booth, as many political candidates who've led in polls only to lose elections have found out, people are free to act out the unspoken fears and unconscious prejudices that they would never breathe to another soul, or, likely, acknowledge to themselves. And at least this year, that acting out doomed "Brokeback Mountain."

For Hollywood, as a whole laundry list of people announced from the podium Sunday night and a lengthy montage of clips tried to emphasize, is a liberal place, a place that prides itself on its progressive agenda. If this were a year when voters had no other palatable options, they might have taken a deep breath and voted for "Brokeback." This year, however, "Crash" was poised to be the spoiler.

I do not for one minute question the sincerity and integrity of the people who made "Crash," and I do not question their commitment to wanting a more equal society. But I do question the film they've made. It may be true, as producer Cathy Schulman said in accepting the Oscar for best picture, that this was "one of the most breathtaking and stunning maverick years in American history," but "Crash" is not an example of that.

I don't care how much trouble "Crash" had getting financing or getting people on board, the reality of this film, the reason it won the best picture Oscar, is that it is, at its core, a standard Hollywood movie, as manipulative and unrealistic as the day is long. And something more.

For "Crash's" biggest asset is its ability to give people a carload of those standard Hollywood satisfactions but make them think they are seeing something groundbreaking and daring. It is, in some ways, a feel-good film about racism, a film you could see and feel like a better person, a film that could make you believe that you had done your moral duty and examined your soul when in fact you were just getting your buttons pushed and your preconceptions reconfirmed.

So for people who were discomfited by "Brokeback Mountain" but wanted to be able to look themselves in the mirror and feel like they were good, productive liberals, "Crash" provided the perfect safe harbor. They could vote for it in good conscience, vote for it and feel they had made a progressive move, vote for it and not feel that there was any stain on their liberal credentials for shunning what "Brokeback" had to offer. And that's exactly what they did.

"Brokeback," it is worth noting, was in some ways the tamest of the discomforting films available to Oscar voters in various categories. Steven Spielberg's "Munich"; the Palestinian Territories' "Paradise Now," one of the best foreign language nominees; and the documentary nominee "Darwin's Nightmare" offered scenarios that truly shook up people's normal ways of seeing the world. None of them won a thing.

Hollywood, of course, is under no obligation to be a progressive force in the world. It is in the business of entertainment, in the business of making the most dollars it can. Yes, on Oscar night, it likes to pat itself on the back for the good it does in the world, but as Sunday night's ceremony proved, it is easier to congratulate yourself for a job well done in the past than actually do that job in the present.





~ Mechtild


Brokeback Mountain Links Page HERE


Comments:


Maeglian
maeglian at 2006-03-09 17:05 (UTC) (Link)
In my opinion, those who are incensed about BBM's loss at the Oscars genuinely think it is the best film, not because it promotes some "agenda" but because it's a cinematic masterpiece and true filmatic achievement in every significant sense. And so the thought lies close at hand that many of those who awarded Crash instead (all of them people who by means of their position in the movie industry should be extremely able to judge filmatic achievement) must have been acting based on conscious or subconscious ulterior motives and prejudices. In fact that *is* my personal opinion. Even if it's not true specifically of Ebert - of whom I have no knowledge nor opinion. My opinion seem to be shared by a number of commentators including Stephen King.


Any comparison of Capote and BBM, moreover, rings hollow to me in terms of proving that the AMPAS was not out to put down gay themes specifically. Granted I have not seen Capote, only clips and trailers, and in those the titular figure comes across nearly as the ultimate effeminate *parody* of a gay man; - confirming the stereotypes instead of challenging them and moving beyond them into the universality of human emotions the way BBM does. I can unfortunately see how it would seem more "comfortable" and less stereotype-challenging for those trying to pass off as progressive and liberal to award that kind of portrayal over BBM's one. It's a pity if gays can only be "accepted" as long as they "act stereotypically gay".
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-03-09 17:25 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for replying Maeglian, and with passion. I should have been clearer that my main sorrow has been that so many attacks against Crash should have been focussed around accusing voters of being anti-gay, rather than sticking to the facts (well, I think they are the facts): that Brokeback is a great film that deserved the Academy's highest recognition. I think it did the cause no good to chastise the voters for not voting for Brokeback, esepecially by making perceived prejudices on the part of voters, which we cannot know but only surmise, the basis for the invective. What I would have preferred to see would be articles focussing on how Brokeback was a better film, period, and leave all the stuff about voter motives for behind-the-scenes venting.

Any comparison of Capote and BBM, moreover, rings hollow to me in terms of proving that the AMPAS was not out to put down gay themes specifically. Granted I have not seen Capote, only clips and trailers, and in those the titular figure comes across nearly as the ultimate effeminate *parody* of a gay man; - confirming the stereotypes instead of challenging them and moving beyond them into the universality of human emotions the way BBM does.

I did see Capote and thought it was excellent. And, I would say, groundbreaking even in gay issues. The real Truman Capote was extremely eccentric as well as effeminate, mincing and lisping like the worst charicature imaginable. That Hoffman pulled off the portrayal the way he did: leaving in all the very affected mannerisms that SCREAM "faggot/queer/pansy/queen", yet manage to produce a portrayal of a man to be reckoned with: brilliant, perceptive, ambitious, powerful (as well as immensely vain, capable of ruthlessness, and privately miserable), was a very fine thing.

I don't think it was a parody, the sort of thing that makes uncomfortable-about-gay-issues people more comfortable. That, to me, would be films like The Birdcage (aren't the gay people so funny and cute? I find them so endearing!) or that one Hoffman was in as a down-and-out but noble drag queen with Robert DeNiro (aren't the gay people so sad and tragic? I feel so sorry for them!). The Capote film was very straight-up, very uncompromising in its portrayal. We got Capote, the best and the worst. Finally the film is about a fascinating, real man for viewers, not about a an outrageous NYC/Deep South pansy who made it big writing a crime thriller.

It's a pity if gays can only be "accepted" as long as they "act stereotypically gay".

If you are applying that to Hoffman's Capote it won't work. I don't think audiences coming away loving him, or even liking him (which they do the BBN characters). But they respect him -- in spite of all those mannerisms, not because of them.

I think it is the sort of honesty about character shown in the portrayals in Capote that makes BBM so good. The two men and their families -- their characters -- are so real. They are up there for us to see and love and identify with and be furious at in all their best and worst. Viewers respond to that. And, because the people in BBM are so much more accessible than those in Capote, they respond with love. I do.

Golly, Maeglian, I'd like to say more but I have to go to work. Drat!
Maeglian
maeglian at 2006-03-09 17:57 (UTC) (Link)
What I would have preferred to see would be articles focussing on how Brokeback was a better film, period, and leave all the stuff about voter motives for behind-the-scenes venting.

Well, I guess it goes to prove that BBM fans inclusive of public persons and commentators are human too! :-D

But in truth, I think the tide has turned in that the "public" focus is already back to the quality of BBM, as it should be, and not on the motives, such as they possibly might or might not have been, of the Crash voters. For instance the Variety fan ad that is underway focuses solely on the quality of BBM, on the positive side, and on thanking the BBM Cast and Crew.

As I said I haven't seen Capote and could only surmise from clips. I assume that PSH's performance must be outstanding beyond any impression made in those clips since he won out over HL's fabulous Ennis at every major award.
Hewene
sayhello at 2006-03-09 17:26 (UTC) (Link)
The nature of the attacks on "Crash" by the supporters of "Brokeback Mountain" seem to proceed from the other position: "Brokeback" is better not only because of its artistry but because of its subject matter, and those who disagree hate homosexuals. Its supporters could vote for it in good conscience, vote for it and feel they had made a progressive move, vote for it and not feel that there was any stain on their liberal credentials for shunning what "Crash" had to offer.

Yippee! for Roger Ebert! I *heart* this guy so much. I haven't managed to see Crash yet, but everyone I've spoken to who has seen both, including gay friends, has told me they liked Crash better.

I didn't particularly care for BBM. I thought it OK, but nothing special. Because of the quality of the movie and the performances. I'm no homophobe. It's gotten a bit frustrating to see everyone who doesn't adore BBM labeled as homophobes. I've been pretty disgusted with most of what I've read since the Oscars...

Hewene
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-03-09 23:29 (UTC) (Link)
Obviously, I would disagree with you on the merits of BBM, Hewene, but what you say (quoted below) is just the sort of response I would have preferred not to see provoked by us BBM fans complaining to such a degree and on the wrong grounds. You wrote:

I didn't particularly care for BBM. I thought it OK, but nothing special. Because of the quality of the movie and the performances. I'm no homophobe. It's gotten a bit frustrating to see everyone who doesn't adore BBM labeled as homophobes. I've been pretty disgusted with most of what I've read since the Oscars...

No one likes to see their opinions about a work dismissed, told they are not qualified because they are too biased. Again, I am sure there are people who really might have rejected the film simply because of its subject, but, "it's a free country" and so forth.


Hewene
sayhello at 2006-03-10 02:45 (UTC) (Link)
Obviously, I would disagree with you on the merits of BBM, Hewene,

But you want to know the stupidest thing about that? Not a single, solitary one of my "friends" has asked for one word of explanation or discussion as to why I feel that way. I've become a non-entity because I cannot join in the swoon for BBM.

No one likes to see their opinions about a work dismissed,

Yet that's precisely what I've seen. I really feel now, and have a different understanding, for the folks who got stomped on for saying they disliked any of the LOTR movies. Because I have universally seen (except for Pearl) my posts and comments about BBM either totally ignored, glossed over, or dismissed. No requests for explanation. No puzzled replies. Since I was not ready to rave and squeal about the movie, I have been summarily exorcised from pretty much all discussion going on by my friends. And I get it. They want to squeal. They want to swoon. They want to adore. Why bother hearing from someone who doesn't agree with you?

The hostility that has followed the Oscars was just the icing on the cake.

Hewene
Ann
just_ann_now at 2006-03-09 18:41 (UTC) (Link)

My two (or more) cents again: Political activism

What BBM did for me was politicize me on the gay-rights issue.

I've always been politically active; but immediately upon returning from seeing BBM my first action was to send a donation to Equality Virginia, our premier GBLT political action group. (I am neither G,B,L, or T). The second thing I did was ask to be added to the mailing list.

Each week (and sometimes more) during our current legislative session, we've received one of those wonderfully handy "e-sign and click" letters to send on. I can just imagine my favorite legislator's surprise (he knows me well, since I used to be his Legislative Assistant) at this deluge of material crossing his desk. But my interest has now added an element of further personal accountability to his actions on these issues. My continued message to him has been: these are not gay rights issues, these are human rights issues. It hasn't been all that long since interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia.

We have not been entirely successful in our objectives this year: Virginians will still be voting on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the state; but due to our actions the entire text of the amendment will be published on the ballot, so Virginians will know exactly what the implications of the amendment will be.

My most sincere hope, I guess, is that those who were moved by the film, as I was, will translate this into concrete, useful actions.


Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-03-09 23:52 (UTC) (Link)

Re: My two (or more) cents again: Political activism

Ann, I think the film has already had an impact on the way people think about what it is to be gay in the United States (since it's quite different in many northern European countries, where it has been no big deal for many years). But the impact is what it is because BBM has NOT a political or issue-driven film. No amount of protesting, letter-writing or door-to-door arguing will have changed as many hearts of average American people than seeing -- and liking (see Hewene's response above *grin*) this film.

I don't know that those who were moved by the film are going to follow through with political action, writing letters, etc. It's much easier to be moved and have a good cry, then go home and do what one always does. I should know. I am one of those sorts. *cries during "The Constant Gardner"...* "Oh, isn't it terrible about the pharmaceutical drug cartels!" *forgets about it*

Bu that hearts are being touched, minds being changed -- even if only to the point of having reservations about the issue -- is a very good thing. I have noticed a few local articles about congregations -- grassroots, mind you -- talking about trying to be more explicitly welcoming to gays. No one in the articles interviewed said, "Oh, it was BBM that changed my mind." But I think it might have that sort of residual effect.

For me, the power of the film remains a universal one, one that goes to the heart of me and what I feel and believe about life regardless of gender orientation. I once wrote to a fellow BBM-fan about this film....

The main thing that kept surging through me as I watched the film, bringing me to tears, was how much the film made me love people and feel for the human condition. Again, I don't remember feeling this so strongly since watching LotR. My heart was breaking for the various characters, but it also loved them.

I know you aren't religious, but I felt as though I was seeing the characters the way I've been taught that God sees them: seeing them in their nakedness: all their faults -- every lie, every moment of cowardice and spite, every shirking of an obligation -- but, at the same time, all their piercing beauty. I saw how flawed these characters are, how much they screwed up themselves and others, but I just felt flooded with loved for them.

I was filled with love when I left the theatre. I suppose as soon as someone is less than wonderful to me it will evaporate, but it was great while it was happening!

Feb. 6, 2006


I haven't changed my mind on any of that. :)
pearlette
pearlette at 2006-03-09 20:26 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for posting this, Mech. Brave of you!! *chuckle*

Good Night, and Good Luck is every bit as good as Brokeback. They are both important, non-preachy, powerful films. Both stirred my emotions on a deep level. Both get my vote as the two most outstanding and memorable films of the year.

Heath IS fabulous. I was torn between him and David Strathairn. The contenders for Best Actor this year were high quality. Not a Tom or a Sean among them!

I would like to see Capote. The subject matter interests me.

I don't think Crash deserves the dissing it's received. I prefer Brokeback. By miles. But Crash is nonetheless worth watching. It's intelligent and provocative and tackles head-on a very spiky subject. It strikes one false note, IMO ... which is just one reason (there are many more) why Brokeback is the superior work.

Yes, I do think that the Academy pulled Crash out of the hat at the last minute because they decided - weirdly enough - that racism was somehow a cooler and safer topic than homosexuality. Yes, it was a cop-out. Yes, it was the usual Hollywood politics. We all know that. But I don't think any of this has harmed BBM's reputation.

Thinking back to Oscar night 2004, the entire LOTR fandom would have erupted, of course, if ROTK hadn't won ... *eeek* :D

I post these observations as one who likes and admires Brokeback but is outside the fandom.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-03-10 00:03 (UTC) (Link)
A courteous, thoughtful post, Pearl. But could I expect less from the La Divina Perla?

I still haven't seen Good Night, and Good Luck, but have heard nothing but raves about it. I am just guessing I will still prefer Brokeback, if only for heart reasons (see quoted portion in the post I wrote above, to the estimable Ann). But that doesn't mean I can't value and esteem it and find it superb viewing.

I don't know whether you will "enjoy" Capote. It's a very dark film. It touches me emotionally, but primarily I find it cerebral, intellectually engrossing. I thought it was super and enjoyed it very much, but it is not a "feel good" film, even on account of angst. As a fan of plain good movies -- which I know you are -- I am sure you will "enjoy" it.

Heath... Heath. What can I say? I've watched two of his earlier films (as you know), and while he was "good enough" (as Alma Jr. said to Cassie the waitress), I would never, never, never imagine the same actor could or would turn in his performance as Ennis Del Mar. I think his performance in BBM is the sort that will be remembered and loved for a long time. But, to be fair, that is not the same thing as saying his performance was, technically, as a craftsman, "better" than these other superb players nominated this year. I really can't be objective about it.

But whether Ledger (or Williams - thought she was grrrreat, too) got an Oscar or not, whether Ang Lee got a Best Picture or not, I think Brokeback and the characters in it are destined to be classics in American cinema.

pearlette
pearlette at 2006-03-10 00:35 (UTC) (Link)

Brokeback's classic status

Yes, I think so too. :)

When I said that 'GN&GL' stirred my emotions on a deep level, of course I didn't mean in quite the same way as Brokeback. Brokeback totally engages the heart, mind and soul!

But GN&GL made me want to stand up and cheer its message. Gorgeous black and silver (as Cion called it) photography and wonderful soundtrack too.

I can cope with dark films. I'm not expecting Capote to be a joyride. I enjoy practically any genre, from luscious fantasy to hard-edged cerebral fare, as long as it's well made. :)



golden_berry
golden_berry at 2006-03-10 16:33 (UTC) (Link)
I haven't paid any attention to Roger Ebert's opinions since Gene Siskel died. So there. ;)

I've read in a couple of places that some older Academy voters did not even see Brokeback Mountain, that they would "never watch a film like that." So they voted without even viewing all the nominees. Wonder how often that happens? Personal bias is always a factor in film choices, and that applies to awards voting as well.

Of the four Best Picture nominees I haven't seen, GN&GL is at the top of the list!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-03-10 16:56 (UTC) (Link)
I haven't paid any attention to Roger Ebert's opinions since Gene Siskel died. So there. ;)

Yeah, Siskel was better. But I didn't quote Ebert because I think he's such an excellent reviewer, but because he is so well known in the U.S. Whatever he writes is widely quoted and read, alas.

I've read in a couple of places that some older Academy voters did not even see Brokeback Mountain, that they would "never watch a film like that." So they voted without even viewing all the nominees. Wonder how often that happens? Personal bias is always a factor in film choices, and that applies to awards voting as well.

I hadn't heard that. Well, that certainly supports the claims of BBM's most heated fans. But that they don't see all the films before they vote is something I have heard before. Especially in categories like documentaries and shorts. But I hadn't heard they failed to watch nominees in the major categories, the ones most likely to make the most people hold their breath to hear read out.

That voters would refuse to see a nominated film cannot be a common occurrence. If a film were made and nominated that sympathetically portrayed holocaust-deniers, or animal-torturers, or some other group most people think absolutely beneath contempt, I could see voters refusing to see that. But BBM is such a ... non-"in your face" film.

It occurs to me that viewers might have other reasons to reject it out of hand, just based on what they had heard, and not because of the "squick factor" -- that it portrays two men in love, complete with amorous scenes.

Perhaps the unspoken point of view of the storytellers is the thing that most aggravates disgruntled viewers. If only the storytellers would make it clear that the two men should not have done it! The film's reserved but compassionately-observed approach might be the very thing that would irritate viewers who already were opposed to seeing this sort of match, whether on the grounds of the lovers being gay, or on the grounds of them being long-term adulterers, making their families miserable with their deception -- or both.

Just a thought.
taerie
taerie at 2006-03-10 17:23 (UTC) (Link)
I think I am probably the only person who hasn't seen BBM cause it is a romantic tragedy. (You know how I adore angst.) I'll probably eventually sit down and watch it cause it's obviously a good movie about a subject I like.. (ROMANCE) just like I did watch "Love Story" and "Romeo and Juliet" eventually although nobody could drag me to the theatre to see them initially cause I hate bawling my eyes out in public. I also just really don't like too much sadness in one place.. or too much injustice.. ( Well.. you know that. LOL!)
I am a bit leery too at having the homophobia card flung on me cause of my opinion of SLASH or BBM or anything else. That's not nice or fair.. and as overly introspective as I am.. believe me, I would have ferreted THAT out and admitted it to myself by now at least privately (and probably kept my liberal mouth shut about the whole subject and you wouldn't be reading this.)

If BBM gets people on the Gay Rights bandwagon then Yes Yes YES!!! It has been a force for good. There is just no two ways about that issue in my opinion. I was proudly born and raised within easy driving distance of Hollywood for heaven's sake and lived on the outskirts of San Francisco. I have lifelong friends who are openly gay that I love, disagree and agree with and support.
I stopped watching the Academy Awards or caring about them many many moons ago. (I didn't even watch LotR's night of triumph!) Awards of any kind sort of inherently torc my oyster. Some people tend to rely on them too much as a gauge for worth instead of judging for themselves. However, I think you have a very tolerant and just point of view here that screaming homophobe looks bad even if it is undoubtedly true in some cases. It is below the belt.. so to speak. I will likely never see Crash just because the subject matter does not interest or entertain me. And that, is why I sit down and watch any movie at the end of the day.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-03-10 23:31 (UTC) (Link)
Well, you may not like BBM, Taerie. But I won't berate you if you don't, honestly! *smiley face* But I imagine you will see it someday, if you watched Romeo and Juliet finally. And, you watched LotR, over which I cried buckets (the Grey Havens sailing-away smile undid me every time).

I wrote in another journal, if a sad story engages me, it hurts. But, such stories "hurt good," and are worth every sob and contraction of the heart muscle. (In my opinion.)

It turns out that my mother and father-in-law went to see BBM yesterday. My mother-in-law talked to me about it on the phone today, saying among other things, although she thought it was very good, it "was so sad." So, it really might not be your sort of movie, no matter how good it is.

But I still hope you eventually do see it, simply because I love it. (lame reason, I know *grin*)
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