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Old 03-15-2006, 12:41 PM   #1
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'Brokeback' author: We were robbed

Talk about being a sore loser!

Annie Proulx rips 'Crash,' Academy

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Annie Proulx, whose 1997 short story inspired the film "Brokeback Mountain," has penned a scattershot blast in a British newspaper unleashing her anger over the film's best-picture Oscar loss.

Proulx criticizes Oscar voters and the Academy Awards ceremony in the 1,094-word rant, which appeared in Saturday's issue of The Guardian, a liberal paper boasting 1.2 million readers daily.

The best-picture Oscar went to "Crash," which focuses on race relations in Los Angeles.

Academy members who vote for the year's best film are "out of touch not only with the shifting larger culture and the yeasty ferment that is America these days, but also out of touch with their own segregated city," Proulx writes. (Read her Guardian column here.)

The 70-year-old Pulitzer-prize winning author points out that "Brokeback," which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, was named best picture at the Independent Spirit Awards one day before the March 5 Oscars.

"If you are looking for smart judging based on merit, skip the Academy Awards next year and pay attention to the Independent Spirit choices," Proulx advises.

She even lashes out at Lionsgate, the distribution company behind "Crash."

"Rumour has it that Lionsgate inundated the academy voters with DVD copies of Trash -- excuse me -- Crash a few weeks before the ballot deadline," Proulx writes.

She decries the "atmosphere of insufferable self-importance" inside the Kodak Theatre, the Oscars site, and describes the audience as a "somewhat dim LA crowd." The show, she writes, was "reminiscent of a small-town talent-show night."

"Clapping wildly for bad stuff enhances this," Proulx writes.

She notes that "Brokeback's" three Oscar wins, for original score, adapted screenplay and direction for Ang Lee put it "on equal footing with King Kong."

When Jack Nicholson announced "Crash" as the best-picture winner, "there was a gasp of shock," Proulx writes.

"It was a safe pick of 'controversial film' for the heffalumps," she writes, using the elephant-like "Winnie the Pooh" character to describe academy voters.

"For those who call this little piece a Sour Grapes Rant," Proulx concludes, "play it as it lays."

Calls by the Associated Press to Proulx's Wyoming home and her literary agent, Elizabeth Darhansoff, were not immediately returned Tuesday.

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Old 03-15-2006, 12:47 PM   #2
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I know, she comes across as a "sore loser" but I'm sure it must also be so emotional for her. I think it's a joke that Crash won. But like I've said before, Crash will go down in history merely for having an upset Oscar win, whereas Brokeback will be historic for so many other reasons.

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Old 03-15-2006, 01:49 PM   #3
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Here's the Guardian article that was mentioned: http://books.guardian.co.uk/comment/...727309,00.html
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Old 03-15-2006, 03:32 PM   #4
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i thought this article was interesting:

[q]The reason gay people are so eye-popping furious over what happened to "Brokeback Mountain" at the Academy Awards is more than just disappointment that a gay-themed movie lost best picture. To put it in classic Hollywood terms, many gays believe that Oscar — ruthlessly, deliberately and mercilessly — plunged his sword into the backs of those who love him most.

Who the heck does he think he is, anyway? Bette Davis?

If the Oscars gold derby is regarded as the sporting event that it really is, there's no doubt who the cheerleaders are: gay guys.

If you don't believe that, you haven't been paying attention to who organizes your office Oscars pool every year. Don't those chaps all seem to be a little too well groomed and well-spoken?

Go ahead and ask any gay man you know if he's ever fantasized about winning an Oscar and he'll instantly blurt out his acceptance speech. Even the part — a la Julia Roberts — where he warns the orchestra conductor not to dare interrupt him because he may never make it up to the podium again and there's so much to say.

Of course, Chris Rock wasn't kidding when he notoriously said last year, "What straight guy that you know cares? Who gives a f---?"

So "Brokeback's" loss was more than just mere disappointment by a group of people who rooted for it to win. Finally, gay people — who'd been unofficially in charge of whipping up Oscars ballyhoo nationwide forever — had their own horse in the derby. And it wasn't another one of those pity-poor-us-because-we're-dying-of-AIDS films starring Tom Hanks.

The "Brokeback" pony had similar hopelessly straight guys in the saddle, yes, but it was a love story. If it won best picture, its victory would be a milestone moment in showbiz history as important and validating to gays as the "In the Heat of the Night" best picture win was to African Americans and the "Schindler's List" victory was to Jews.

Imagine gay people's excitement and glee throughout this Oscars race! Even better, it looked like "Brokeback" was the easiest bet in any Oscars pool because it could not be denied. It led with the most nominations, which almost always assures triumph, and it had previously been rubber-stamped the best pic of the year by 23 other award groups, including the Producers Guild, BAFTA, Indie Spirits, Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., New York Film Critics Circle, the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. and Golden Globes (where "Crash" wasn't even nominated).

Photo: Oscar's best actor of 1955, Ernest Borgnine, is one more academy member who washed his hands of "Brokeback," refusing even to watch it.
(United Artists)

Its subsequent Oscars loss was "blatant homophobia" according to Ann Northrop, cohost of "Gay U.S.A.," the nationally syndicated TV news show. "Come on! It won every other best picture award in the world, but I don't think they wanted to give it to us!"

Her cohost Andy Humm added with sad resignation, "It's the typical conservatism of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which is composed of old straight guys."

More than two-thirds of respondents to a poll at gay news site Advocate.com agree, blaming homophobia for "Brokeback's" loss. Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan concurred, too, writing, "In the privacy of the voting booth, people are free to act out the unspoken fears and unconscious prejudices…. And at least this year, that acting out doomed 'Brokeback Mountain.'"

Meantime, more and more actual evidence of bias mounts. No longer is Tony Curtis alone among older academy members who publicly admitted that they refused even to consider "Brokeback." Oscar's best actor of 1955 Ernest Borgnine ("Marty") told Entertainment Weekly: "I didn’t see (‘Brokeback Mountain’) and I don’t care to see it. I know they say it’s a good picture, but I don’t care to see it." Then he added the most ridiculous, illogical, slam ever uttered against the gay cowboys: "If John Wayne were alive, he’d be rolling over in his grave!"

Perhaps we can no longer assume that apparently hip Sarah Jessica Parker isn't homophobic. She made a shocking confession to Conan O'Brien and his national TV audience: she voted for best picture at the Oscars without watching "Brokeback Mountain." Instead, she accepted input about it from her three-year-old son who watched about 20 minutes of the DVD screener out of curiosity. Presumably, Sarah ended up voting for something else.

How can gay people not feel betrayed by Oscar when so many voters publicly admit that they never even gave "Brokeback" a chance? Worse, that didn't stop them from giving "Brokeback" all of the other Oscars it was expected to get: best director, screenplay and musical score. But they just couldn't go that last step, just couldn't install such a historic milestone on a financially successful and critically acclaimed film — worthy of Academy Awards for writing and direction — and place it in Oscar's best pic pantheon.

Can gay people ever forgive Oscar? If not, just think of what the Academy Awards will be like in years to come without their cheerleading? Will anybody care?



confession: i totally organized my office's Oscar pool.

and i *still* won, despite being wrong in Best Picture.

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Old 03-15-2006, 03:44 PM   #5
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personally i liked crash better than brokeback
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Old 03-15-2006, 03:44 PM   #6
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How can people vote for Best Picture without watching all five movies? That is so unfair.

I can't believe SJP admitted that, or that she showed it to her three year old. Then again, she's always saying he's a genius.

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