- Title: USA: Academy Award nominees for best picture and best director
- Date: 2nd March 2006
- Summary: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (RECENT) (REUTERS) SOUNDBITE (English) ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY SENIOR EDITOR BEN SVETKY SAYING: "Well, there is a school of thought that the Academy is in some ways very conservative, that there's an older membership and that they don't respond well to controversial subject matter, particularly controversial matters of sexuality. But in recent years, that school of thought has been falling a little bit. The Academy is getting younger, year by year. It's getting a little hipper, a little more tolerant, and this will be an interesting test."
- Embargoed: 17th March 2006 12:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Reuters ID: LVA4JN04I6Z0CJGM90ABY1UQ2Y4E
- Story Text: A pack of art house movies with serious social themes lead the pack of Academy Award nominees for best picture and best director. "Brokeback Mountain" has won most of the movie awards leading up to the Academy Awards, and is now the clear front-runner for the best film Oscar. It also earned a nomination for Ang Lee as best director.
"First of all, Ang Lee is an amazing director. The versatility he's shown over the last several years has been incredible. This particular movie hit a lot of people very strongly, and it's hard to sort of deny him that, at least that's our feeling. Brokeback -- you know, we're betting that that's the one that is going to win, we're not sure," says Entertainment Weekly senior editor Ben Svetky.
But despite wowing critics, the media and now Oscar voters, "Brokeback" faces a pitched battle for best movie because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has never before given its top honor to a film with an overtly gay love story. Its biggest challenge may come from moody race relations drama "Crash," which has made a comeback in the Oscar hunt in recent weeks.
"The thing that 'Crash' has going for it is that the Academy is a largely L.A.-based institution, and 'Crash' is an L.A. drama. I think that -- you can't underestimate that. And if 'Crash' does pull off an upset and win Best Picture, that may be part of the reason that an L.A. audience -- the Academy Voters - responded to it. They recognized the issues, they recognized the streets, they recognized the people," Svetky explained. "Crash" was written and directed by Paul Haggis, who also wrote the screenplay for last year's big winner, "Million Dollar Baby."
Also in the running is George Clooney's "Good Night, and Good Luck," a tale of newsman Edward R. Murrow's attack on McCarthyism. The story resonates today as people question whether civil liberties are being lost in the war on terrorism.
"Good Night, and Good Luck' was made for something like seven million dollars. It's a tiny, tiny, little movie. But it's a really powerful movie and even more extraordinary in that it's about politics, which is not a subject that Hollywood is all that comfortable with, at least historically. It's not a subject that moviegoers have proven to be all that excited about, but Clooney really pulled it off," Svetky said.
Also in the race is "Capote," about writer Truman Capote's questionable ethics. The film was directed by relative newcomer Bennett Miller.
"Every once in a while, a film like Capote will get nominated as a way of telling the director: welcome to the fold, here's an invitation to the party, you're not going to take home a trophy, but come back again real soon and we may have something for you. It's one of those kind of -- let's recognize a young filmmaker who's really showing a lot of potential," said Svetky.
The last of the five films and the only major studio release is "Munich," Steven Spielberg's story of the moral price Israel paid for hunting down the killers of its athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
"You know, I can't tell you for sure why Steven Spielberg and Munich haven't made more of an impact on the Oscars this year. He's nominated for Director, but you know, he's won before," said Svetky. "This movie is not everyone's favorite. It's controversial. It deals with a subject that's really hot-button right now, it deals with terrorism and the war on terrorism in an uncomfortable way for a lot of viewers."
The 78th annual Academy Awards take place on Sunday, March 5th in Hollywood, California. ENDS.
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