Today’s Newsreel

posted by Ross Melnick on March 6, 2006 at 4:40 am

Comments (7)

Mikeoaklandpark on March 6, 2006 at 7:46 am

Crash was not a big surprise or was it the biggest upset in Acadamy history. For once the acadamy voted Best Picture to a film that truly deserved it. I am a gay man and from the day the nomintaions came out I said Crash was the best film I had seen last year. Had I been an acadamy voter, I would have voted the way all the awards went last night except for Best Supporting Actress. I felt Catherine Keener was much better than Rachel Weiz.

Alto on March 6, 2006 at 5:52 pm

Well, it was certainly a surprise to me and to everybody else who was watching it at our little “Oscar party”. Let’s face it, it was truly a handicapper from the start:
(1) its release date (May 8, 2005) – it barely made it in “under the wire” as an eligible candidate;
(2) by industry standards, this movie was already “old news” â€" when the nominees were announced, it had already been released on home video for several months (since September 6, 2005), whereas other nominees were just beginning wide theatrical release and are still in theaters today (and are only now being released on home video â€" a smart “post-Oscar” marketing move);
(3) a low-budget ($6.5M) and low-profile film, from a Hollywood production and publicity standpoint (and yet it did a respectable $55M box office when compared with Brokeback Mountain’s current $79M take, which will undoubtedly continue to go higher).

Looking at the nominees across all categories, you could say that the playing field was “loaded”. Three out of the biggest contenders focused on themes and characters that were either gay (“Brokeback Mountain”, “Capote”) or trans-gendered (Transamerica). Perhaps it was more gayness than even Hollywood could handle all at once.

Sorry to say, but in these “p.c.” times, it seems that excellence can also be a liability: “Brokeback Mountain” received SO much buzz, hype and critical acclaim (not to mention many other “best” awards – and deservedly so) that the Academy must have felt that a vote for it would have been perceived as an obvious “no-brainer” pressure bow to popular consensus. From an image standpoint, they must have felt it better to deliberately “go against the grain”, shock everyone, pick an underdog and err on the side of “political correctness” – the Academy at its “liberal” best: “edgy” and at the same time “safe”.

Ironic (and disappointing) actually, because so much of America still has a hard time accepting or acknowledging issues of sexual orientation or identity on ANY level, and being gay or trans-gendered is ANYTHING but popular or mainstream. If the Academy REALLY wanted to make a genuine statement about “tolerance” on awards night, they could have stepped up to the plate and voted the way so many others have. Besides, don’t they have ANY clue as to who Oscar’s most loyal audience is???

Ah, there’s nothing like Academy Awards night â€" the second biggest gay national holiday (after Halloween, of course!) :–)

Alto on March 7, 2006 at 6:48 am

“Agenda”? Hmm…I never received a memo from the “home office” about any agenda. I must be out of the loop!

As for “normalizing”…I didn’t realize it was abnormal in the first place (the American Psychological Association recognized that 32 years ago).

“Brokeback Mountain” told a love story, plain and simple, without resorting to obvious clichés, “preachy-ness”, “in your face” language, or sordid sex scenes (unlike so many other movies).
No need to strive for “shock value” – the screenplay and dramatic elements speak for themselves, allowing a variety of perspectives and dimensions to emerge. Undeniably, this was an “unconventional” love, given the time, setting and social climate the characters found themselves in (the characters themselves were not your “usual” gay men – anything but stereotypical). Director Ang Lee and writers Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana did a masterful job of adapting Annie Proulx’s short story for the big screen – the fact that they didn’t “gay it up” is precisely why I loved this film!

“Love is a force of nature.” – movie tagline

stevenj on March 7, 2006 at 9:23 am

I never received my agenda either and I’m thoroughly out of the closet and have been for 35 years. I think someone has got the gay agenda confused with the straight agenda. Brokeback was made by straight people for a straight audience. It’s theme (according to the straight author of the story) is homophobia in rural America. We see this form of psychological terrorism inflicted on Ennis at a young age and the repressed and fearful person that Ennis turns into. We see that it destroys his marriage— and the love of his life. Rural America (and the big cities for that matter) can still be a very dangerous place for gay people and this is not 1963. The high profile murder of Matthew Sheppard comes to mind. My own personal opinion is that I thought Brokeback was a far superior film to Crash although I liked it also. The fact that it didn’t really have an agenda is one of the reasons the film has done well in all it’s bookings nationwide and will probably have a huge dvd audience next month when it comes out again. Might not have won best picture but I think Brokeback, as a story and a film, will have a long life.

Mikeoaklandpark on March 7, 2006 at 3:30 pm

I posted the first comment. I just knew some right wing idot (gee is this Bush posting something under a false name he lies about everything else)would start up on the gay issue. Nobody pushed Brokeback down your throat or anybody elses. I think the acadamy showed they are not hoomophobic or prejudice by awarding both films.
All rights groups like the Christian, ACLU groups all fight towrd getting people to accept what they believe. People should accept what they want.

Alto on March 7, 2006 at 4:43 pm

Seriously though…

What I do believe is that these organizations are trying to advocate fair and equal treatment in housing, accommodations, and the workplace, and protection under the law from those that try to deny these rights (and in a modern democratic society, these are basic rights, not privileges). Acceptance is a pipe dream, because it is ultimately a personal choice that cannot be decided or regulated by someone else, and I’m not sure what a “normal” lifestyle is, because normalcy has no universal definition. However, if one’s daily lifestyle means living in fear of losing one’s job, being denied insurance benefits, or having the tar beaten out of them in public, then compared to the rest of society (i.e. the “majority”), I would have to say that it is definitely not “normal”.

All gay people should NOT expect or deserve special treatment, just fair treatment. All gay people should NOT expect everyone to like them, but should expect others to let them live without fear or harm.

But that was not your original point. You seemed to be saying that you are tired of the movies (and mass media) being used as a vehicle of sorts to push some specialized homosexual “agenda” (or dare I say “propaganda”) of “normalcy” to mainstream society, and that gay rights groups play an influential role in this. Actually, if one watches or reads the news regularly, one would probably conclude that it is the rest of society’s behavior that needs to be “normalized” first in order for ANYBODY to get along.

We all have choices, and you will find many more movies out there that do NOT make it a point of advocating tolerance towards gays or promoting “the gay lifestyle” ** anymore than they do so for blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews or women, and you are more than welcome to view those movies, regardless of whether you are gay, straight, or anything in-between. If you or I feel that we are being relentlessly “assaulted” by messages with the words “bigot, “racist” or “discrimination”, we have the right to say so, but we also have the right to ignore those messages by changing the channel, turning the page, ignoring the movie, or simply walking away. Democracy may not be perfect, but at least we have it.

** I’ve always found humor in people using this phrase, since those same people have yet to define “the straight lifestyle.”

Alto on March 8, 2006 at 8:39 am
  1. Just like straights, there are some gay people who need to synchronize the speed of their mouths (and keyboards) with their brains.

  2. George W. Bush, although not exactly the sharpest tack on the board, really has nothing to do with this. However, with regards to the world’s problems, he has far exceeded his personal quota.

  3. Are you serious? Perhaps you have never seen …”Patton”, “Tora!Tora!Tora!”, “Full Metal Jacket”, “Apocalypse Now”, “Platoon”, “The Deer Hunter”, “Good Morning, Vietnam”, “Glory”, “The Tuskegee Airmen”, “Black Hawk Down”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “Pearl Harbor”…not to mention oldies like “All Quiet on the Western Front”, “Bridge On the River Kwai”, “Stalag 17”, “The Great Escape” and every John Wayne, Henry Fonda or John Ford WWII movie ever made. Just go to and search under the genre “war” — I think you’ll find something from the 5,464 titles listed there.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but if I follow your “a tit for a tat” train-of-logic, I suppose then that Hollywood would have to produce approximately 5,464 gay-themed movies, just to make the playing field “even”. Calling all gay actors! (Shouldn’t be any problem finding too many of those.)

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