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Alpha

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Minding the Gap

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Who let Ebert pick the Oscars?

From: Tripp Logan

I want to know when it was decided that Roger Ebert gets to pick the Oscar for Best Picture? For the second year in a row, you have been all over the place touting a hackneyed Paul Haggis film over far superior films. For the second year in a row, you succeeded in swaying the Academy your direction. Unfortunately, "Crash" won for all of the wrong reasons and will one day be considered along side "The Greatest Show on Earth" as one of the most embarrassing choices ever made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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As for the homophobia issue: When a film sweeps nearly every precursor and fails to win the Oscar, you have to at least consider the possibility of a backlash against that picture. Especially when the film that beat it won virtually none of the major precursors (and don't bring up the SAG ensemble award. That went to "The Birdcage" in the past. Hardly counts as a pick for Best Picture.) When the subject matter is homosexuality and the film has generated as much controversy as "Brokeback Mountain", you have to at least consider the possibility that homophobia played a part in the decision process.

Nikki Finke is not the only writer who has sited "anecdotal evidence" that Academy winners were not willing to screen "Brokeback Mountain" because subject matter made them queasy. Tony Curtis was directly quoted in one article. This buzz has been going on for several months. When grown men won't see a movie because it is about two gay men, that sounds like fear (phobia) to me.

Using "Capote" as a comparison is bogus and a little insulting. "Look -- that movie had a gay person in it, so it's the same thing." The films are not about the same thing and you know it.

Many of us are angry because we know homophobia when it happens to us. A lifetime of personal experience makes for a lot of insight. Finally, "Crash" will do nothing one way or the other to confront racism in this country. It is only a movie. A heavy handed one at that. Ironically, this movie about prejudice won the Oscar because of prejudice. Homophobia was the big winner at the Oscars on Sunday night and you helped it happen.

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