Really good, but maybe not the greatest. Crash may have won the Oscar for Best Motion Picture in 2006, but even director Paul Haggis doesn’t think his film about racial tensions should’ve won that golden statuette.
“Was it the best film of the year? I don’t think so. There were great films that year,” Haggis told HitFix in a recent interview of his movie, which starred Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, and Thandie Newton, among others. “But you shouldn’t ask me what the best film of the year was because I wouldn’t be voting for Crash, only because I saw the artistry that was in the other films.”
The other nominees in the category that year were Brokeback Mountain, Good Night, and Good Luck, Munich, and Capote.
Brokeback Mountain, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger as lovers, had been favored to win the best picture trophy. There was an uproar after the film, which was directed by Ang Lee, lost to Crash.
L.A. Times movie critic Kenneth Turan wondered if the subject matter in the cowboy romance made Academy members uncomfortable. “In the privacy of the voting booth … people are free to act out the unspoken fears and unconscious prejudices that they would never breathe to another soul, or likely, acknowledge themselves,” he wrote after the awards. “And at least this year, the acting out doomed Brokeback Mountain.”
Last year, The Hollywood Reporter asked Academy members how they would vote in some of the Oscars’ historic races — including Brokeback Mountain versus Crash. The winner? You guessed it: Brokeback.
But that’s in the past. Haggis is diving back into the issue of racism again with his new project, HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero, about a battle in 1980s New York to build public housing in the white, middle-class side of Yonkers.
“Dealing with the issues of race and class again, I knew there would be those who think, ‘Why is he doing this again?’” the director told HitFix. “This is an important story. It happened right there. It happened 30 minutes from here and a few years ago. And it’s happening right now. And if we don’t tell the story, who will?”
Show Me a Hero premieres Sunday, Aug. 16, at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
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