Couch Potato Pickings | Brokeback Mountain: Why didn’t it win that Best Picture Oscar?

The other day I told a film critic friend of mine that I’d decided to do a post about Brokeback Mountain because it was going to be showing on TV within two days of Crash? (Come back on Monday for that).

“Crash,” he questioned, “which one’s that?”

“The one that won Best Picture Oscar that year,” I replied.

“What? I thought Brokeback Montain won that…”

Now, the very fact that I had the above conversation just proves the point I intended to make today regarding these two films. Brokeback Mountain should have won that Best Picture Academy Award back in 2006. What do you think?

Many people will argue that it was a close call between the two movies and ultimately simply a question of taste with Crash winning out, but there many more of us who believe that Brokeback Mountain lost out due to political reasons. Click here for more on that. It’ll have you exclaiming. It did me.

In the meantime, on a simple matter of taste level, here are the five reasons why I think Brokeback Mountain should have won over Crash:

1. The strength of the adaptation. Annie Proulx’s original short story was transformed into this powerful, visually-stunning, emotionally heartbreaking film.

2. It was the first mainstream film to depict a love story between two men (and without pandering to the usual gay stereotype) and therefore deserved to win for breaking massive ground.

Ooh, and just in case you’re jumping up and down now screaming ‘what about Philadelphia?” then may I point out that while Philadelphia was a mainstream movie and did cover gay issues, it is primarily an AIDS film and certainly not a romance. A similar argument applies to the film that won in the Best Actor category that Brokeback year – Capote. So many people attempted to defend the Academy’s Brokeback Mountain snub as nothing to do with homophobia by saying “oh that’s piffle, Capote won an Oscar” Er, hello? Capote is a film about a writer who forged a relationship with a murderer and wrote a classic novel about it. If the fact that this writer was gay makes Capote a gay film then that makes Alexander the Great, Night and Day, Hans Christian Andersen, Lawrence of Arabia and The Agony and the Ecstasy gay films too.

3. Beautiful cinematography.

4. The quality of acting. Both Ledger and Gyllenhaal are totally believable as ranch hands torn between the pressures of convention and their passionate love for each other.  Williams and Hathaway support them perfectly too.

5. Unforgettable – not only because it’s the first mainstream movie of its kind, but because this tender and moving portrayal of a deeply tragic tale haunts you for days afterwards.

On Channel 4 tonight at 9.15pm

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