It's all over but the shouting, or in this case, whispering. The 2006 Academy Awards were fraught with cultural significance this year, as the article from the Washington Posts says
In a most honest assessment of the 'impact' movies have on popular culture, Robert Redford said, "Did 'All the President's Men' really change journalism? Did the film impact anybody but maybe a bunch of young journalists who got into journalism for the wrong reasons because they thought there was glamour there? I don't know."
These are difficult words for Participant Productions, which produced several Oscar nominated films, such as North Country, Good Night and Good Luck and Syriana. Likewise, the film Brokeback Mountain was going to teach us - unrelentingly, teach us. Entertaining us had gone rather by the board. Oh, we had a montage shown to us of 'issue' movies of long ago, like Gentlemen's Agreement - but Porcupine has seen Grapes of Wrath. Porcupine knows Grapes of Wrath. Brokeback Mountain, you're no Grapes of Wrath. You're not even High Noon. Also, while a movie like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was a box office flop, it is interresting to remember that the artist from that era whose movies were consistent hits was - Shirley Temple. Nothing to sneeze at when you consider her films are still selling briskly some 70 years after they were made. How many people do you suppose rushed out and bought copies of M*A*S*H or Midnight Cowboy last year? The sledgehammer is rarely an effective teacher.
Host Jon Stewart was amusing, but the entire broadcast had a rather funeral air about it, at one point mentioning the unspeakable - that box office receipts were down. Even the winners didn't seem particularly happy. At the end of the evening, Jack Nicholson was the one man in Hollywood with the answer to the $64,000 question for a brief moment - Crash had surpassed Brokeback Mountain as Best Film of the year. But it was a better film. The intricate storytelling, the compelling characters - for all the reasons we go to see a film, Crash was the better performer. There is angry talk of how Hollywood has sold out. If that were true, none of the pious sermons would have been nominated in the first place. Porcupine has seen almost all of the nominated films, and Crash truly deserved to win, with Capote as a close second - out of the five nominated. It is interesting to note that the Best Picture category is one where the Academy as a whole gets to vote.
As a contrast, another interesting award ceremony are the so-called 'Christian Oscars' - read the article HERE. What is most intereting is the respective performance of the two sets of Best Picture nominees.
From the Academy - Good Night and Good Luck, gross $43,093,000; Brokeback Mountain, gross $127,799,295; Munich, gross $117,079,435; Crash, gross $84,796,250; and Capote, gross $26, 349,585 - for a grand total of $399,117,565.
From the Epiphany Awards - Chronicles of Narnia, gross $594,115,568; Pride and Predjudice, gross $84,290,279; Madagascar, gross $214,600,000; March of the Penguins, gross $114,413,017; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, gross $472,456,431 - for a grand total of $1,479,875,295.
"I'm proud to be out of touch", said George Clooney as he accepted his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 'Syriana'.
It remains to be seen if the financial powers that be in Hollywood share that sentiment.