Ten years on and people are still smarting about how the 2005 Best Picture Oscar race went down. It was a banner year with the favourite being “Brokeback Mountain” whilst “Munich,” “Good Night And Good Luck” and “Capote” offered some very serious and healthy competition.
Yet when the award was announced, it was Paul Haggis’ “Crash” that look home the big gong (along with best original screenplay) and no-one has really forgiven the Academy ever since. These days it’s often the pin-up child of “that time the Oscars got it wrong,” taking over from the position that “Shakespeare in Love” had occupied for several years.
That’s not to say it was a bad film by any means, “Crash” certainly got its healthy share of rave reviews and it did touch a raw nerve in American society at the time. Haggis himself forged ahead with a strong career and returns to screens soon with HBO’s miniseries “Show Me A Hero”.
Doing interviews for that, he spoke with Hitfix and the topic of “Crash” and its win came up. Haggis was refreshingly candid and upfront in his answer:
“Was it the best film of the year? I don’t think so. There were great films that year. ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ – amazing film. ‘Capote’ – terrific film. Ang Lee’s ‘Brokeback Mountain’ – great film. And Spielberg’s ‘Munich.’ What a year. ‘Crash’ for some reason affected people. And you can’t judge these films like that.
I’m very glad to have those Oscars. They’re lovely things. But you shouldn’t ask me what the best film of the year was, because I wouldn’t be voting for ‘Crash,’ only because I saw the artistry that was in the other films.
For some reason, that’s the film that touched people the most that year. So I guess that’s what they voted for, something that really touched them. And I’m very proud of the fact that ‘Crash’ does touch you. People still come up to me more than any of my films and say, ‘that film just changed my life.’ I’ve heard that dozens and dozens and dozens of times. So it did its job there. I knew it was the social experiment that I wanted, so I think it’s a really good social experiment. Is it a great film? I don’t know.”
“Crash” opened in cinemas on May 6th 2005.