2005 • Crash

Crash 2005 Best Picture2005 was one of the few years (if only year) where I have actually seen all of the Best Picture nominees. I more or less slept through Munich and can’t properly judge it. I saw Good Night and Good Luck in the theater with Jason and Nick in Eden Prairie shortly after I moved to Minnesota full-time in January 2006, and declared it to be a good movie about the network news industry. I rented Capote in the summer of 2006 and watched it alone and had nightmares about the Clutter family’s random murder for months. I went to Brokeback Mountain in the theater by myself also in early 2006 and thought it was great.

The only movie from that year I had not seen prior to our project was Crash, a movie that devout movie fan and good friend Jason disliked greatly, or at the very least was irate that it won Best Picture over Brokeback. I was interested to see how I would react to it, being fairly impressionable by Jason’s opinions. So, on Friday night, Lauren, Sarah Domenichetti, and I sat down to watch Crash.

Crash is the interwoven story of several different racially motivated stories taking place on the same day in Los Angeles. There’s a white husband and wife carjacked by a couple black guys; a pair of cops, one of whom sexually assaults an innocent black woman at a traffic stop; a Persian store owner and a Hispanic locksmith arguing about a broken lock… and a few other smaller storylines. Throughout the course of a day, these groups of people run into each other at various points and conflicts arise, culminating with a final car crash.

I am a fan of movies that take place over a short period of time, and I am a fan of character development movies, and Crash seemed to at least loosely fit each of these categories. I don’t normally like movies about racial or religious problems, like 1947’s Gentleman’s Agreement, but I surprisingly had no trouble following Crash.

Unlike most Best Picture winners, Crash was nominated only for a single acting award—Matt Dillon for Best Supporting Actor, which he lost to George Clooney for Syriana. There were no nominees for Best Actor or Best Actress because there were no lead roles; instead it seemed there were just a ton of supporting roles in the movie. No one character had any more screen time than any other it seemed. I thought the best acting in the movie was Michael Peña, the Hispanic fellow who had a very touching scene with his daughter who was scared of getting shot.

So, the question that so many argued over in 2005… was Crash deserving of the Best Picture? Well, it’s been so long since I’ve seen Brokeback that it’s difficult to compare the two. And I wouldn’t have thought twice if Capote had won either. But, I tend to side with Roger Ebert… I think perhaps they actually got it right. I really liked Crash! Sorry Jason, I know I just went down a few pegs in your book… or peg-holder… er whatever.

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