Well, it's 8:34 pm and the 78th Annual Academy Awards are over. As I sit down at the clicker to write my thoughts on the nights events, I have to be honest I was pretty sure Crash was going to win in most of the categories for which it was nominated. Sure, it lost things like Best Director to Brokeback Mountain (as well Best Supporting Actor) and whatever else, but ultimately it won Best Picture.
How did I know this when everything seemed to point to Brokeback Mountain?
As a member of the Screen Actor's Guild I have the privilege of voting in the Screen Actor's Awards. This year for the first time ever a movie was sent to me on DVD. It was explained that the film was out of theaters and this was the reason why I was being given this DVD. The film was Crash and I had already seen it in the theater. Ever the DVD geek, I popped it in my player to see if it was a screener copy or a legitimate copy of the DVD. To my surprise was exactly the same DVD I could purchase in the stores.
From what I understand this movie did well at the Screen Actor's Awards and I have to think it's because more people had probably seen the movie. Plus, since most of the members of the Screen Actor's Guild don't make a lot of money, we would be more apt to vote for the film because they had technically given us something. Personally, I think I voted for the film because I liked it but I also am a big Matt Dillon fan.
It's funny, I don't feel as if I had as much invested in this year's Awards Ceremony. Last year, I personally wanted The Aviator to kick the stuffing out of Million Dollar Baby. This was a Martin Scorsese movie, afterall. He is among the filmmakers that made me want to get into this business in the first place. The year before that, I know I felt personally invested in whatever film was vying for Best Picture.
This year, I had seen all the films that were nominated and while I thought they were good, it seemed like they were nominated for what they tried to say as opposed to what they actually said. Truthfully, the Academy Awards is a glamour event that highlights films and performances that look at causes people feel need to be highlighted. Sure, there are narrative pictures or biopics, but usually those have a character in them isn't someone in the mainstream as far as their lifestyle (Capote or Transamerica, anyone?) is concerned .
Having recently done my taxes, I realized I only spent about $250 on going to the movies this year. While that might be more than most people, that number was close to $500 the year before and I am sure it was right there for many years before that. With the DVD window shrinking and so many more options to see on the big and small screen, I am willing to bet I am seeing more movies now, I am just watching them in the comfort of my own home.
I guess I feel a sense of dispassion right now. The movies that were supposed to win, won tonight, but I didn't feel any real investment in any of them. The show lasted three and a half hours and I enjoyed it, but when it was over I didn't have the feeling I normally have had in the previous years. Even though the films I wanted to win lost, I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster ride. Tonight, I just watched the show, updated my ballot and when all was said and done, went into my room to write this article. I think it is a mix of happiness because I actually had the foresight to see Crash beating Brokeback Mountain, but also sadness because the films this year seemed to be the best films by attrition.
So here's to 2006 where 5 more films are going to make their case for why they deserve to be the best, and even if I don't feel the same connectedness next year, I know that I will at least have screened all the films and be watching the ceremony. Also, should I get another DVD for a film in the mail that just happens to be vying for the top honors, I might even place a wager in Vegas.
Lastly, George Clooney had a pretty good speech at the ready for a guy who didn't think he was going to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
Dont't forget to also check out: Crash