It’s been a decade since Crash won Best Picture at the 78th Academy Awards, confusing everyone who’d seen Brokeback Mountain or Good Night and Good Luck, which were, distinct from Crash, watchable movies. Now the film’s own director has confessed he’s just as baffled.
“Was it the best film of the year? I don’t think so,” Haggis said in an interview with HitFix. Haggis is currently promoting his new HBO miniseries, Show Me a Hero, which like Crash explores racial and class tensions. He went on:
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. I mean please, what a year. Crash for some reason affected people, it touched people … 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. Now however, 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.”
I don’t doubt Crash may have affected people, but stacked against the competition it’s difficult to argue much for it. It tried to paint a hard-hitting portrait of modern racial tensions, but it just came off like a poorly-written high school kid’s thesis on why racism is like, totally bad and stuff. Plus, it still missed a bunch of marks, like the painfully cartoonish Asian couple. But it did take place in Los Angeles (hello, Academy voters!) and give white people a soothing pat on the head for recognizing bigotry when it came up, sat in their laps, and socked them across the chops.
Haggis: “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.”
Perhaps if more people knew he co-wrote Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 that would change.