Pushing politics and product

From: Richard Millward

With all due respect, surely you of all people must recognize that there's nothing new about "Crash." Its storytelling techniques, its visual style, the "Cavalcade" of B-list "stars," even the thematic material which so impressed you -- it's all been done before, and frequently better. I can't imagine what must have possessed you to choose to portray the selection of "Crash" over "Brokeback Mountain" as some kind of triumph of "art" over "popular" (or, at least, LOUD) acclaim?

"Crash" was pedestrian (at best), derivative and only intermittently engaging. All this before even beginning to debate the paradox of how an Oscar for Director and an Oscar for Picture could, logically, EVER be awarded to different films.

As distant as I am from the entire Hollywood mechanism, even *I* can see the political expediency of choosing "Crash": "Hey, we're not out of touch with you out there in the mainstream! Look, no homos at OUR Oscars! No lib'rul commies, no effete (that means homos again!) writers, nothing even REMOTELY sympathetic to those awful, awful, ragheaded hoodlums! But, hey, we can do Serious -- no, really we can -- 'cause you know racism is bad, bad, bad..."

Please. At least the Academy must acknowledge the choice for exactly what it is: the safest possible promotional tool of a movie industry that sees itself under siege from social forces on the religious right, from technological forces on the Internet and from the sheer diversity of entertainment options OTHER then movies available to huge populations. It's not homophobia, it's just BUSINESS...

Which begs the question: Why pretend the Oscars are for anything OTHER than promotion of product? But I suppose we can leave that for another time.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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