Award Repo: Crash

One way of ascertaining if a Best Picture win was deserved is by charting a movie's esteem in the years after its win. Whenever you see one of those montages about the Wonders of Cinema, for example, there are always clips from cherished films like All About Eve and Chicago. Movies like that weren't just appreciated in the year they were released, but are actively enjoyed today. There are plenty of movies that won that I didn't personally care for (like Gladiator - feh), but I can't argue against the impact they had on American film. But what happens when a movie wins Best Picture, and is then immediately forgotten? Crash happens. Oh, sorry. Crash hasn't been totally forgotten. It comes up in contemporary discussions occasionally - as a textbook example of a ludicrous Best Picture win. It would be one thing if it were an unimpressive movie nominated in a field of other unimpressive movies. But let's take a look at the other nominees for the 78th Academy Awards (given out for the movies released in 2005):

Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck

Sometimes, I feel like I need to vehemently defend or over-explain my rationale behind calling for an award repo. In this case, all I really have to say is, "Come on. Look at that list." There are other undeserving Best Picture winners that are inferior to another movie in contention, but I'm hard-pressed to think of another year in which the undeserving Best Picture winner is inferior to all four of the other nominees. I'd love to see a full autopsy on this win. Academy voters are a staunch, old-fashioned bunch, so it's not surprising that a gay cowboy drama didn't win, nor that voters felt like they'd be able to give themselves a warm pat on the back for choosing a screechy diatribe of overwrought racial politics. I imagine that "I'm not racist! I voted for Crash!" is a thought that passed through a lot of smug minds that year.

Whatever the reason was for this laughable mistake, enough time has passed to see that clearly, a correction is needed here. Brokeback Mountain seems the obvious choice for a replacement winner, so let's get the repo team over to Paul Haggis' place. And while he and the other winners are kindly bundling up their awards in bubble wrap for shipment, let's go ahead and snag the other undeserved statuettes given out for that abominable screenplay. Try and tell me that the script for Crash was better than the ones for The Squid and the Whale or Match Point with a straight face. I'll take you out for ice cream if you can do it.


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