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DISPATCH FROM AWARDS SEASON: "Crash" Dashes "Brokeback"'s Hopes For Best Picture at 78th Academy Awa

By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire March 6, 2006 at 4:45AM

Four films each won three Academy Awards tonight in Los Angeles: "Crash", "Brokeback Mountain", "King Kong" and "Memoirs of a Geisha". The best picture Oscar at the 78th Academy Awards went to "Crash," which also won the award for best original screenplay and film editing, meanwhile Ang Lee won the prize for best director for "Brokeback Mountain", which also was honored for adapted screenplay and original score. "Kong" and "Geisha" each nabbed a number of key technical prizes.
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Four films each won three Academy Awards tonight in Los Angeles: "Crash", "Brokeback Mountain", "King Kong" and "Memoirs of a Geisha". The best picture Oscar at the 78th Academy Awards went to "Crash," which also won the award for best original screenplay and film editing, meanwhile Ang Lee won the prize for best director for "Brokeback Mountain", which also was honored for adapted screenplay and original score. "Kong" and "Geisha" each nabbed a number of key technical prizes.

[indieWIRE is publishing iPOP photos from awards weekend in Los Angeles; more photos will be posted in the coming days.]

"Crash," a $7 million Lionsgate film about race relations in Los Angeles that was acquired at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival, debuted in theaters last Spring and earned some $53 million at the box office. The win surprised a number of insiders and observers given that the movie was not widely rewarded early on by critics groups. Although as the long awards season wore on, with prizes from the guilds and increasing buzz from Oscar voters, the divisive film seemed to gain traction as a viable contender. On the other hand, while "Brokeback" was hardly considered an Oscar contender early on, as the film caught fire with critics and audiences it emerged as the likely winner. Clearly, those involved with the film were hoping for the top prize, but even at Saturday's Independent Spirit Awards (where "Brokeback" won best picture), some close to the film expressed fears that Haggis' film might dash their dreams.

"Wow," Jack Nicholson could be seen saying as he announced "Crash" as the best picture Oscar winner during the live broadcast tonight. Indeed. Backstage after the show, in live TV interviews with party reporters, "Brokeback Mountain" director Ang Lee expressed outward disappointment at the loss. "I was a little shocked," he told one television interviewer, "We'd been winning awards all season..."

"Crash" producer Cathy Schulman, once a programmer at the Sundance Film Festival, thanked audiences, "for embracing our film, about love and about tolerance, about truth." She added in her speech on stage, "Thank you to the people all around the world who have been touched by this message. And we are humbled by the other nominees in this category. You have made this year one of the most breathtaking, and stunning, maverick years in American cinema, thank you."

While insiders may debate a few of A.M.P.A.S. voters' choices for some time, it was clearly a night in which that maverick spirit in filmmaking was honored. What a fitting evening to present their first Academy Award -- an honorary Oscar -- to 81 year old filmmaker Robert Altman, a legendary figure in cinema who has received five nominations for directing and never won.

Robert Altman accepts his honorary Oscar tonight at the Academy Awards. Photo by A.M.P.A.S.

"I've always said that making a film is like making a sand castle at the beach," Altman said, after receiving a standing ovation from the crowd, "You invite your friends and you get them down there, and you say you build this beautiful structure, several of you. Then you sit back and watch the tide come in. Have a drink, watch the tide come in, and the ocean just takes it away."

"And that sand castle remains in your mind. Now I've built about 40 of them, and I never tire of it. No other filmmaker has gotten a better shake than I have. I'm very fortunate in my career. I've never had to direct a film I didn't choose or develop. I love filmmaking. It has given me an entree to the world, and the human condition and for that I'm forever grateful."

The complete list of winners at the 78th Academy Awards:

Best motion picture of the year

"Crash" (Lions Gate), A Bob Yari/DEJ/Blackfriar's Bridge/ Harris Company/ApolloProscreen GmbH & Co./Bull's Eye Entertainment Production, Paul Haggis and Cathy Schulman, Producers

Achievement in directing

"Brokeback Mountain" (Focus Features), Ang Lee

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Reese Witherspoon in "Walk the Line" (20th Century Fox)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Rachel Weisz in "The Constant Gardener" (Focus Features)

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Capote" (UA/Sony Pictures Classics)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

George Clooney in "Syriana" (Warner Bros.)

Adapted screenplay

"Brokeback Mountain" (Focus Features), Screenplay by Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana

Original screenplay

"Crash" (Lions Gate), Screenplay by Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco Story by Paul Haggis

Best foreign language film of the year

"Tsotsi" A Moviworld Production, South Africa

Best documentary feature

"March of the Penguins" (Warner Independent Pictures), A Bonne Pioche Production, Luc Jacquet and Yves Darondeau

Best animated feature film of the year

"Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (DreamWorks Animation SKG), Nick Park and Steve Box

Achievement in art direction

"Memoirs of a Geisha" (Sony Pictures Releasing), Art Direction: John Myhre, Set Decoration: Gretchen Rau

Achievement in cinematography

"Memoirs of a Geisha" (Sony Pictures Releasing), Dion Beebe

Achievement in costume design

"Memoirs of a Geisha" (Sony Pictures Releasing), Colleen Atwood

Best documentary short subject

"A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin", A NomaFilms Production, Corinne Marrinan and Eric Simonson

Achievement in film editing

"Crash" (Lions Gate), Hughes Winborne

Achievement in makeup

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (Buena Vista), Howard Berger and Tami Lane

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

"Brokeback Mountain" (Focus Features), Gustavo Santaolalla

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

"It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from"Hustle & Flow" (Paramount Classics, MTV Films and New Deal Entertainment), Music and Lyric by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard

Best animated short film

"The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation" A John Canemaker Production, John Canemaker and Peggy Stern

Best live action short film

"Six Shooter" (Sundance Film Channel) A Missing in Action Films and Funny Farm Films Production, Martin McDonagh

Achievement in sound editing

"King Kong" (Universal), Mike Hopkins and Ethan Van der Ryn

Achievement in sound mixing

"King Kong" (Universal), Christopher Boyes, Michael Semanick, Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek

Achievement in visual effects

"King Kong" (Universal), Joe Letteri, Brian Van't Hul, Christian Rivers and Richard Taylor

[indieWIRE is publishing iPOP photos from awards weekend in Los Angeles; more photos will be posted in the coming days.]

Check out indieWIRE's Oscar and Spirit Award coverage in the special Awards Watch section.

This article is related to: Awards





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