Head-on ‘Crash’

first_img “I wish I knew how to quit you,” Lee said, holding the Oscar and using his movie’s most quoted line. Witherspoon and Hoffman had each won just about every preliminary acting award leading up to the Oscars. “Oh my goodness, I never thought I’d be here in my whole life growing up in Tennessee,” Witherspoon gushed. “Wow, I’m in a category with some great, great, great actors, fantastic actors, and I’m overwhelmed, really overwhelmed,” Hoffman said, later saluting his mom for raising him and three siblings alone. “We’re at the party, Mom,” Hoffman said. “Be proud, Mom, because I’m proud of you.” George Clooney won supporting actor for the complex political thriller “Syriana,” capping a career year that also saw him nominated for writing and directing best picture nominee “Good Night, and Good Luck.” “All right, so I’m not winning director,” Clooney, 44, joked (and correctly predicted). Referring to a line that host Jon Stewart made during his opening monologue, Clooney said, “I would say that we are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while. It’s probably a good thing. We’re the ones who talked about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and we talked about civil rights when it wasn’t really popular, and we bring up subjects. “This Academy, this group of people, gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters. I’m proud to be a part of this Academy, proud to be part of this community and proud to be out of touch. And I thank you so much for this.” Given Clooney’s well-known liberal activism, the politics in his acceptance speech were rather muted. Likewise, Stewart, host of the pointed “The Daily Show,” kept his focus on the movies, never mentioning President Bush or Iraq. He did get in a dig at the vice president, saying, “I do have some bad news to report. Bjork could not be here. She was trying on her Oscars dress and Dick Cheney shot her.” Bjork famously attended the Oscars in 2001 wearing a swan ensemble. Even the famously taciturn contrarian Robert Altman, honoree with a lifetime achievement award, kept his remarks genial and apolitical. “No other filmmaker has gotten a better shake than I have,” Altman, 81, said. “My love of filmmaking has given me an entree to the world and the human condition.” Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin gave Altman the lifetime honor, often talking at the same time, making light of the filmmaker’s penchant for including overlapping dialogue in his movies. “To the audience, it seems like the popcorn they’d been munching turns into peyote buttons,” Tomlin said, referring to the kinetic effect of Altman’s movies. Altman’s five nominations (for directing “M*A*S*H,” “Nashville,” “The Player,” “Short Cuts” and “Gosford Park”) ties him in Oscar futility with filmmakers Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Clarence Brown and King Vidor. The bodacious hip-hop song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from “Hustle & Flow” won for best song. It wasn’t the first hip-hop Oscar winner (Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” from “8 Mile” has that distinction) but it was the first hip-hop song ever performed on the show. And what a performance. “How come Three 6 Mafia are the most exciting people here tonight?” Stewart said of the winners, also noting that “I think it just got a little easier out here for a pimp.” Backstage, one of the song’s performers and writers, Jordan Houston, said, “I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t stand still. I had to run somewhere. I started to run somewhere. People thought the police was probably chasing me somewhere.” A more staid Rachel Weisz (she is seven months pregnant) won supporting actress playing the doomed humanitarian activist in “The Constant Gardener.” Weisz thanked co-star Ralph Fiennes, director Fernando Meirelles “and of course, John le Carre, who wrote this unflinching, angry story. And he really paid tribute to the people who are willing to risk their own lives to fight injustice. They’re greater men and women than I.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “Crash” crashed the Oscars on Sunday night. Paul Haggis’ drama about racism in contemporary Los Angeles won best picture at the 78th annual Academy Awards, pulling off an upset of favorite “Brokeback Mountain” that rated anywhere between mild and shocking, depending on how solid a lock you thought “Brokeback” was. “Crash” won three Oscars, including editing and original screenplay. The gay romance “Brokeback Mountain” and period epic “Memoirs of a Geisha” also won three awards each, tops for an evening that spread the wealth. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Reese Witherspoon won lead acting honors, each playing real-life characters. Hoffman was honored for his haunting channeling of author Truman Capote in “Capote”; Witherspoon for playing sassy singer June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Up until the final award, this year’s Oscars was notable mostly for being short on surprises and relatively reticent on politics. The biggest shocker, up until “Crash’s” best-picture landing, was a hip-hop best song winner that substituted the word “witches” for a bleepable, rhyming counterpart. “Crash” was controversial from the moment it was released last May. Its champions found the film an articulate and gripping look at the racial and cultural divisions of daily life in Los Angeles. Its detractors found the ensemble drama to be a one-note, simplistic and contrived look at a city where everyone seemed to be an angry, ugly bigot. Lions Gate spent heavily promoting its first best-picture nominee, sending out more than 130,000 DVD screeners to people in the entertainment industry. In all, Lions Gate spent more than $4 million on the movie’s Oscar campaign. The film itself cost $6.5 million to make. “We opened at the wrong time, but thank God for Lions Gate. In doing everything wrong, they did everything right,” said Haggis backstage. “They were so smart the way they did this. This was the year Hollywood rewarded the rule-breakers.” Though his movie was slighted for the top honor, “Brokeback” filmmaker Ang Lee won the directing prize. last_img

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