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“Crash” is a movie that is about a group of people in LA experiencing racial tolerance in America. There are eight “groups” in the cast of characters. The movie takes place in a 35-hour time block where all of these people will “crash” or “bump” into each other at some point even if they do not know them. The cast is multi-ethnic and throughout the movie, you can see what each “group” struggles with. The “group” does not have to be centered around one central commonality, as groupings can be based on race, gender, or other similarities. As such, advertising focused on the fact that crash was an ensemble movie with a diverse cast and the stars in it were all credited with great success. With that said, “Crash” received critical notoriety, possibly due to the actors are credited in the movie. In a controversial award show season, “Crash” consistently was up against “Brokeback Mountain”, a picture centered on homosexuality. It can be inferred that “Crash” winning best picture was a social and political response to the controversy of “Brokeback Mountain” and has been deemed in today’s society as “worst best picture”, which in turn only increases the hype of the movie today.
“Crash” got many awards and nominations. In total “Crash” won sixty-four awards and was nominated for over a hundred. The award that it is most know for, the Academy Awards, in which Crash notoriously won over “Brokeback Mountain”. It won Best Motion Picture, Best Writing Original Screenplay and best achievement in Film editing. It is interesting to see how “Crash” won these awards and how statistics were very low. It seems that while people were moved by the subjects and topics that “Crash” covered, even the director, Paul Haggis the director thought differently, though.
Haggis, when interviewed, said that it shouldn’t be the best picture. He purposely put in racial stereotypes. In one interview he explains “I wanted to write that movie and bust liberals. It’s too easy to bust folks we consider to be racist”. Haggis also explains in interviews that “It was a social experiment. I wanted to fuck with people.” He thinks that it is more about class in America than race (Buxton).
Moreover, the controversy regarding “Crash” winning best picture also relates to the sociopolitical landscape regarding homosexuality. In 2006, homophobia was not as evident to the public as people thought they were and was not represented highly in critically acclaimed motion pictures. If the movie were to come out today, it would have most likely not won best picture because right now homosexuality is a very popular subject and it would have more attention than “Crash”. But that is not to say that “Crash” would be ignored because racial issues and equality are also hot topics today.
From what I have seen in “Crash”, some of the awards that it got made sense but some did not. One of the awards that it did deserve was the Oscar for Best Achievement in Film Editing. The way that the movie was edited into different stories was very unique. It was a bit confusing but when you go through the movie you eventually get what is going on. The transitions between the scenes were smooth in how it wasn’t just a random jump. The transition to a new scene would have some of the scene that came before for some context so the next scene would not be extremely confusing. Another award that Crash did deserve was the award for best writing and screenplay (IMDb). The way that the movie was written in different events all having to do with each other in some minuscule way. This minuscule way that the events had to do with each other really helped to explain some of the backstories. Some of the events I can see how people were touched by the story and how the characters really tried their best to fix their problems (Child).
With PR and advertising “Crash” got a lot of attention in the media. There were many types of PR and advertising for the movie. Advertising helped the movie in a multitude of ways. One of those ways were movie reviews. When critics would review the movie they always mentioned something about Haggis and his other films and works. With the movie posters, some of them had the quote “Moving at the speed of life, we are bound to collide with each other”. This quote is basically the motto of the movie. When the DVD’s came out, on the covers “Provocative” and “Thrilling” were two words used to get people to buy the movie. In the advertising campaign “Crash” would in some way relate to Haggis’ “Million Dollar Baby” which was used a lot in the campaign for the movie. “Million Dollar Baby” was an Oscar-winning movie so Haggis was known for having great movies (Boardman).
Another movie that was up for the Best Picture was “Brokeback Mountain”. “Crash” and “Brokeback Mountain” were competing against each other for that Best Picture title. In the end “Crash” won and “Brokeback Mountain” did not. “Crash” won over “Brokeback Mountain” for a couple of reasons. “Brokeback Mountain” was a very taboo movie at the time. Ken Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote on the day after the movie: “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 (Ebert).” Another way that “Crash” got more attention than “Brokeback” is that according to Nikke Finke of LA Weekly: hetero members of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were unwilling to screen “Brokeback Mountain”. Finke comments “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 (Ebert).” According to Robert Freidman, the company that sponsored the ads for “Crash” was PR agency “The Dart Group” who did “Shakespeare in Love” which won an award over “Saving Private Ryan”. Friedman explains how Focus Pictures (released “Brokeback Mountain”) was not to keen on the press while Lion’s Gate (released “Crash”) was full of people who worked on past Miramax films who know how to make the movie an “underdog” story (Baradell).
In the end, it was “Crash” that won. Even today there is still a lot of controversy about how “Crash” won the Oscar and if it deserved it or not. Today even the director thinks about the movie and how it should not have won the Oscar for Best Picture. We can not change the fact that “Crash” won but what we can do is we can look back and see why did “Crash” win these awards and did they deserve it or not. This is all up to what one as an individual would think, so everyone has their own opinion and there is nothing more to be said about it.
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