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"Brokeback Mountain"

Andrew Sullivan and his readers wonder why Brokeback Mountain lost the Best Picture Oscar to Crash while winning the Best Director award.

I haven't seen Crash, but I did take my teenage daughter to see Brokeback Mountain yesterday afternoon. I should take this opportunity to point out that, though straight, she's a leader in her school's Gay Straight Alliance chapter... and as for me, though straight, I've argued strongly in favor of gay rights numerous times on my blog (here, here, here, here, here, and here, among others).

That said, as the credits rolled, we looked at one another and asked, "What was all the fuss about?" Neither of us felt any kind of emotional connection to the protagonists. I never cared about what happened to them, or to their relationship. But I don't think this reaction had anything to do with their sexuality -- rather, it had everything to do with how they were written, which was to say sparsely at best. What did they stand for? What did they believe in? What did they want from life? Most of all, why did they love one another?

I would turn Andrew's question on its head and ask not why Brokeback Mountain didn't win Best Picture, but instead why it did win Best Director. Could it have been a political award -- Hollywood's longstanding method of rewarding a film's makers for their perceived daringness as opposed to the likability of their picture?

In any case, I was disappointed that Walk the Line wasn't even nominated for Best Picture, because I thought it deserved not only the nomination but the award itself -- and I'm not a fan of country music. At least Reese Witherspoon won for her incredible performance as June Carter -- a richly deserved honor.


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