2005

Best Picture: Crash   Brokeback Mountain

Mainstream audiences usually lag behind the point where daring filmmakers dream. Fifteen years after Do the Right Thing, America was finally ready to discuss race in a meaningful way, handing Best Picture to Crash. But it was Brokeback Mountain that was once again ahead of the social curve. Ang Lee’s western masterpiece is painted with gorgeous Wyoming vistas, complex character studies and master performances by Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway.

Best Director: Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) Michael Haneke (Cache)

Michael Haneke is one of few to ever win the Palme d’Or twice: The White Ribbon (2009) and Amour (2012). Still, his most fascinating film is Cache, which earned the Cannes Best Director prize. Haneke’s penchant for long single-takes fits perfectly into this voyeuristic tale of a stalker sending a Paris couple videotapes of their daily lives. Think Rear Window in reverse; the discreet alarm of the bourgeoisie.

Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote)

Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line)

Best Supporting Actor: George Clooney (Syriana)     Seth Rogen (The 40-Year-Old Virgin)

Best Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener)     Sandra Bullock (Crash)

After endearing herself in Speed and Mrs. Congeniality, Bullock stole the show in Crash as the conflicted 21st century white woman trying her best not to be racist, failing, then seeing the light. The role set up her Oscar win for The Blind Side, where she proved that social change isn’t complete until good folks stand firm in the mainstream arenas of Sunday luncheons and Friday night bleachers.

Best Original Screenplay: Crash (Paul Haggis)   Wedding Crashers (Steve Faber & Bob Fisher)

The second half is weaker than the first, but Faber and Fisher’s script is comedy gold. The film paired Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as a hilarious buddy team of wedding crashers, cast Christopher Walken and Jane Seymour as the eccentric parents of Rachel McAdams, painted Isla Fischer as a “stage-5 clinger,” starved Will Ferrell of his ma’s meatloaf and introduced the world to Bradley Cooper.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Brokeback Mountain (Larry McMurty & Diana Ossana from a short story by Annie Proulx)  A History of Violence (Josh Olson from John Wagner & Vince Locke’s graphic novel)

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Written & Edited by Jason Fraley / Graphic Design by Josh Fraley