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Was There a 'Brokeback' Backlash?
NewsMax ^ | 7 March 2006

Posted on 03/06/2006 5:35:10 PM PST by Aussie Dasher

NEW YORK -- We chatted about it, joked about it, argued about it, spoofed it. "Brokeback Mountain" was everywhere in our popular culture - yet it lost the big Oscar it was supposed to win.

Was there a "Brokeback Backlash," or was "Crash" just the worthy contender that came on strong in the final Best Picture stretch? There were as many theories being offered up Monday as there are "Brokeback" parodies on the Internet.

One theory was that, despite the hoopla, the endless late-night monologues and the clever imitations, people (Academy voters, that is) didn't really love the soulful saga of two gay cowboys - and perhaps even felt uncomfortable with its themes.

"Sometimes people pretend to like movies more than they actually do," said Richard Walter, who heads the screenwriting program at UCLA's film school. "But this film wasn't really THAT good. What it tried to do was great, sensational. But what it actually accomplished wasn't so great. You can't really buy the love story."

Film critic Kenneth Turan, writing in the Los Angeles Times, said the problem wasn't with the film's quality. Rather, he said, "you could not take the pulse of the industry without realizing that this film made people distinctly 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 to themselves. And at least this year, that acting out doomed 'Brokeback Mountain."'

Gay activists did not necessarily agree.

"I don't think it has anything to do with the subject matter," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national gay rights group. He noted that "Brokeback" and "Crash" both dealt with "tough issues like indifference and intolerance."

"I was certainly disappointed," Solmonese said. "But I would trade that Oscar for all the positive conversations that this movie spurred between parents and their gay children, or between employees and their gay co-workers. That impact transcends any accolades."

Some people focused on the demographics of the typical Academy voter: older, and city-dwelling. Author and "Brokeback" co-screenwriter Larry McMurtry thought that was key to his film's loss.

"Members of the Academy are mostly urban people," McMurtry, who won the adapted screenplay prize with Diana Ossana, said backstage at Sunday night's ceremony. "We are an urban nation. We are not a rural nation. It's not easy even to get a rural story made."

McMurtry could have added that not only are Academy voters urban, they also are from Los Angeles - the city that is the heart of "Crash," a racial drama depicting the intertwining experiences of an array of characters over 36 hours. The film, featuring a huge and accomplished cast ("Raise your hand if you're NOT in 'Crash,"' host Jon Stewart quipped to the crowd), also won for original screenplay and film editing.

"Brokeback" director Ang Lee, who won the directing prize, said he hadn't a clue why the film didn't take the best-picture award. "They didn't vote for it," he said. "I don't know. You asked me one question, and I don't know the answer."

But his brother had an opinion. Lee Kang, speaking in Tapei, Taiwan, suggested American bias was involved. "When the locals are voting, they will have this, whether you call it nationalism or something else," he said.

"Crash" writer/director Paul Haggis, for his part, said he hadn't "for a second" believed the whispers, which grew louder as Oscar night approached, that "Crash" had the momentum to overtake "Brokeback."

"I didn't believe any of that nonsense," he said. "In fact, we were so shocked. I mean, we're still trying to figure out if we got this."

"Crash" came out to mixed reviews in May, considered much too early for a film to stay in voters' minds. But Lionsgate Films reminded voters and critics of the movie's potency by flooding them with copies of the DVD late in 2005.

In winning over the heavily favored "Brokeback," the film evoked major upsets of the past, most recently the 1999 triumph of "Shakespeare in Love" over "Saving Private Ryan." Another famous underdog champ was "Chariots of Fire," which in 1982 beat both Warren Beatty's historical epic, "Reds," and the family story "On Golden Pond."

One disturbing difference for the Academy: a lot more viewers tuned in to see those upsets. An estimated 38.8 million people watched Sunday's telecast on ABC _ down 8 percent from last year and the second-worst showing in nearly two decades, according to Nielsen Media Research. Except for the 2003 count of 33 million viewers - when "Chicago" took the best-picture award - viewership hadn't dipped below 40 million since 1987.

So what is to be learned from Sunday night's upset result? Not much, says Walter, the film professor. You just really never know what Academy voters are going to do.

"It's just a crapshoot," Walter said. "You go to Vegas and you put your money on number 17.

"There is NO lesson to be learned from all this. It doesn't mean a thing."


TOPICS: TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: backlash; brokebackmountain; glassteat; humpbackmountain; nooscar; pooftermovie; poofters
Seems members of the Academy still believe in Rule 1...
1 posted on 03/06/2006 5:35:13 PM PST by Aussie Dasher
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To: Aussie Dasher
Crash was simply a far superior film in terms of story, acting, writing, and editing. Brokeback was the most overrated film since the Accidental Tourist (a film that was nominated but didn't win).

I bet a friend that Crash would win, and that the best Bareback could hope for was Best Director.

2 posted on 03/06/2006 5:37:57 PM PST by Clemenza (I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked...)
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To: Clemenza

I stopped paying attention when "Titanic" won !


3 posted on 03/06/2006 5:42:52 PM PST by Mears (The Killer Queen-caviar and cigarettes.)
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To: Aussie Dasher

There were no "cowboys" in Brokeback Mountain. They were "sheep herder boys".


4 posted on 03/06/2006 5:43:39 PM PST by Banjoguy (I refuse to 'Google' anything at anytime.)
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To: Aussie Dasher
A little souvenir from the brokeback Oscars:


5 posted on 03/06/2006 5:44:58 PM PST by demkicker (democrats and terrorists are familiar bedfellows)
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To: Aussie Dasher

The people who place so much emphasis on every "message film" don't understand that many people have real thoughts and real impressions that may not follow neatly "on message"...... also, even within the illustrious "Academy" there may be a lot of people who just met the subject with a BIG YAWN....... like who really cares about some artificial story of two sheep herders banging each other in a tent?? I mean, who really gives a flying XXXX?

I was so tired of the hype that if I'd been in the Academy I'd have been ready to vote for "Anything but Brokebutt Mountain" just out of disgust at being told by the PC-mavens how to vote........


6 posted on 03/06/2006 5:45:29 PM PST by Enchante (Democrats: "We are ALL broken and worn out, our party & ideas, what else is new?")
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To: Aussie Dasher

"Brokeback Mountain" was written by the writers of "Lonesome Dove", the television miniseries.

If it weren't for the gay element (which gives relevance to the movie), it would just be a soap opera, like "Lonesome Dove", "Knots Landing", etc. Not even as good as "Dallas" or "Desperate Housewives."


7 posted on 03/06/2006 5:45:42 PM PST by nj26
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To: Aussie Dasher
We chatted about it, joked about it, argued about it, spoofed it. "Brokeback Mountain" was everywhere in our popular culture - yet it lost the big Oscar it was supposed to win.

something something something coitus interruptus something something something

8 posted on 03/06/2006 5:47:45 PM PST by Alex Murphy (Colossians 4:5)
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To: Banjoguy
They were "sheep herder boys".

Cowpokes.
9 posted on 03/06/2006 5:49:23 PM PST by cripplecreek (Never a minigun handy when you need one.)
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To: Aussie Dasher

Don't know, don't care.


10 posted on 03/06/2006 5:49:31 PM PST by OldFriend (HELL IS TOO GOOD FOR OUR MAINSTREAM MEDIA)
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To: Aussie Dasher

Like someone said, "the five films didn't gross together ($250M) what Narnia did by itself. ($800M) And, now the directors of StumpBrokeSheep are claiming "rural discrimination" against the academy! That's funny!


11 posted on 03/06/2006 5:51:11 PM PST by Bushbacker1 (Kill 'em til they're dead! Then, kill 'em again!)
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To: Aussie Dasher

Who wants to go see a movie about two cowpokes having anal sex?


12 posted on 03/06/2006 5:51:22 PM PST by skateman (Bush good, demonrats bad.)
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To: Aussie Dasher
In my mind, the problem was that their entire marketing campaign was "We're being oppressed by these hateful people that don't want you to see this movie!"

I saw a couple dozen "news" articles saying how intolerant types were protesting the movie, threatening etc, and one article that actually found somebody that had something actually bad to say about the movie. And all that was was the principal of the religious school that one of the actors attended said the school didn't approve of the movie or the actors choice to appear in it. OOOOOH!, what venom.

Anyways, typical Hollywood. All flash, no substance.

13 posted on 03/06/2006 5:51:32 PM PST by MichiganMan (Thank Michael Moore for 2004!!)
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To: nj26

At least the Brokeback 'screenplay' was written by the 'Lonesome Dove' writers. The Brokeback 'book' was written by someone else.


14 posted on 03/06/2006 5:51:36 PM PST by DigitalVideoDude
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To: nj26

It sounds like they just cloned "Same Time Next Year" and gayed it up.


15 posted on 03/06/2006 5:52:50 PM PST by Brett66 (Where government advances and it advances relentlessly freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: Banjoguy
They were "sheep herder boys".

As they rode past the flock one day, all they heard was "daaaaady, daaaaady"!

16 posted on 03/06/2006 5:53:37 PM PST by Bushbacker1 (Kill 'em til they're dead! Then, kill 'em again!)
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To: Aussie Dasher
He noted that "Brokeback" and "Crash" both dealt with "tough issues like indifference and intolerance."

What kind of intolerance? Were the sheep bleating "faaags, faaaags, faaaags" throughout the entire movie?

17 posted on 03/06/2006 5:54:03 PM PST by Hillarys Gate Cult (The man who said "there's no such thing as a stupid question" has never talked to Helen Thomas.)
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To: Aussie Dasher
The Hollyweird element still seems to be saying, "We're here, we're queer and we're in your face." On top of which they add, "You have to like us and BE LIKE US."

Well, we don't.

18 posted on 03/06/2006 5:54:20 PM PST by stboz
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To: Bushbacker1
Like someone said, "the five films didn't gross together ($250M) what Narnia did by itself. ($800M)

And to think, just this weekend I read a review of this past year's blockbusters, that claimed Narnia's earnings were only mediocre at best. I'm sure the folks at Disney and Walden Media have been crying all the way to the bank :D

19 posted on 03/06/2006 5:55:48 PM PST by Alex Murphy (Colossians 4:5)
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To: Aussie Dasher
"It's just a crapshoot," Walter said. "You go to Vegas and you put your money on number 17.

How do you do that in craps?

20 posted on 03/06/2006 5:56:12 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Aussie Dasher
McMurtry, who won the adapted screenplay prize with Diana Ossana, said backstage at Sunday night's ceremony... "We are an urban nation. We are not a rural nation..."

Speaks volumes about how Hollywood views America.

21 posted on 03/06/2006 5:56:27 PM PST by fat city ("Journalists are sloppy, lazy and on expense account")
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To: Clemenza

Accidental Tourist!? That was one of only 2 films in my 40+ years of watching movies that I walked out on. Most dreadful waste of film ever!

I had completely forgotten (thankfully) that piece of garbage until just now!

IMHO - Brokeback never stood a chance. ABC/Disney kept the buzz going trying to get the ratings (and supposed suspense) up to a very high level. They also knew that a victory for Brokeback would further amplify Hollywood's complete misunderstanding of flyover country. Can you imagine the headlines today in Christian and conservative circles had Brokeback won?


22 posted on 03/06/2006 5:58:40 PM PST by Kandy Atz ("Let him rave on that men may know him mad.")
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult
In the film the more straight of the pair, Heath Ledger's character, talks about when his dad took him and his brother to see a dead rancher in a ditch, presumed to be gay because he was a rancher who was ridiculed as such and had a ranch with another guy and no women. The body had had his genitals mutilated or something along those lines. The character opines maybe his dad was involved in the killing.

The other, who has other homosexual affairs and travels to Mexico for hustlers, ends up dead from a possible gay-bash murder (real or imagined, it's left to the viewer).

They also spend time talking about having a ranch of their own.

23 posted on 03/06/2006 6:01:59 PM PST by newzjunkey (All I need is a safe home and peace of mind. Why am I still in CA?)
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To: Aussie Dasher

"It's just a crapshoot," Walter said. "You go to Vegas and you put your money on number 17.

"There is NO lesson to be learned from all this. It doesn't mean a thing."

Walter the Professor is brain dead.

Several million viewers Net Flixed the gay event.

According to Walter if they used the same format next year there would be no change in the viewer numbers. I say Net flix usage will triple that night as millions more watch a mailed movie or a rerun of 24.

It's all about freedom of choice Walter.


24 posted on 03/06/2006 6:06:49 PM PST by TET1968
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To: skateman
Who wants to go see a movie about two cowpokes having anal sex?

Well, they weren't pokin' cows...were they?

25 posted on 03/06/2006 6:08:28 PM PST by Loud Mime ("Countdown" - A documentary about Keith Olbermann's dwindling IQ)
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To: Loud Mime

no... sheep.


26 posted on 03/06/2006 6:10:14 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist )
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To: fat city
It's not entirely untrue. It's the urban centers which give Democrats their wins (or near wins) in elections. The culture is driven by urban mythos. I think she was just saying Hollywood is so urban-minded that it's difficult to get a rural film made, that is one not set in a city.

I don't care why it didn't win. I'm not surprised, for all their claim of being "open minded" or "progressive" or "out of step" they're no better than the rest of us. Even the actors themselves seemed uncomfortable with the publicity the film got. It was a cultural moment (which kind of worked against it) the actors didn't really seem to want to embrace and Hollywood was just like them. The Academy voters can feel "good" about themselves because they gave the director an Oscar for his own risk taking.

Just like they can feel good about being paid to be pimping for charities, for example. They'll rationalize it all and blame conservatives or homophobes or older, out-of-touch Academy voters.

27 posted on 03/06/2006 6:11:00 PM PST by newzjunkey (All I need is a safe home and peace of mind. Why am I still in CA?)
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To: Aussie Dasher

"In fact, we were so shocked."

They all did look truly shocked.


28 posted on 03/06/2006 6:46:58 PM PST by jocon307 (The Silent Majority - silent no longer)
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To: Aussie Dasher

If I wanted to watch Queerback Mountin I would have moved to San Fagsisco.


29 posted on 03/06/2006 6:52:54 PM PST by bray (Proud Bushbot for 6 years going on 8!)
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To: demkicker

Lol. That's just too darn funny.


30 posted on 03/06/2006 8:01:23 PM PST by MotleyGirl70 (Most cats are democrats - did you ever meet a creature with such an inborn sense of entitlement?)
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To: Aussie Dasher
>>One disturbing difference for the Academy: a lot more viewers tuned in to see those upsets. An estimated 38.8 million people watched Sunday's telecast on ABC _ down 8 percent from last year and the second-worst showing in nearly two decades, according to Nielsen Media Research. Except for the 2003 count of 33 million viewers - when "Chicago" took the best-picture award - viewership hadn't dipped below 40 million since 1987.

Huh? Shouldn't that be a lot less viewers tuned in to see those upsets. Otherwise why would it be "disturbing"?

31 posted on 03/06/2006 8:16:12 PM PST by B4Ranch (The truth is good for you, like sunlight, but too much all at once can really hurt.)
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