One of the best rumors floating around on DataLounge.com, the popular gay website, is that old Hollywood was so determined to stop Brokeback Mountain from receiving a Best Picture Oscar that Jack Nicholson, who announced the award, promised his cronies that if Brokeback won, he would announce the movie Crash instead. What could the Academy do about it? They couldn't take it back. They couldn't award another one to Brokeback.
It's a pleasantly paranoid possibility, about as likely to be true as Tom Cruise being in love with Katie Holmes. But it is a mark of how genuinely confused many people are. Brokeback was the better movie, it encompassed a larger scope, it featured better performances, and was better directed (which the academy recognized by awarding Ang Lee the Oscar.) And Brokeback broke new ground in its subject matter, while Crash exposed the fact that yes, despite their best intentions, white people who live in Los Angeles occasionally have to deal with African-Americans, generally in the form of the police, their servants, and thieves.
So what happened? Brokeback won almost all the critics' awards, but the critics are only trying to select the best movie. In Hollywood, the old guard never embraced Brokeback. It never had a chance to win over the 60-year-old straight white men who compose most of the voting. Giving Brokeback an award is not the kind of message Hollywood wants to send to middle America. Hollywood does not heart homosexuals. The only people in the country who really truly seem to believe that Hollywood is pushing a gay agenda message the throats of Americans are the ultra far-right wing, the Michael Medveds, Ann Coulters, and Gary Baumans.
Think about it. Hollywood's homosexual agenda? Gay actors can't even come out of the closet. Gay executives and agents stay in the closet. There isn't a more closeted business in the country, except, perhaps, the National Football League.
Hollywood's homosexual agenda? Name the great gay-themed movies over the last thirty years? Let's see, Philadelphia (where the gay protagonist is dying) and... well that's it. That's Hollywood's gay agenda over the last thirty years. Two movies.
The movie business is always a decade or so behind the rest of the country. They can't afford to break ground. They are all owned by large conglomerates and have to make profits; thus their movies are always safe, bland, and homogenized. That's their agenda -- to bring in cash.
There's no point in Brokeback fans getting angry and upset, however. In the long run, Brokeback will win -- its esteem will grow and its message will spread. Keep in mind that the Academy seldom selects the best movie of the year for an Oscar. Citizen Kane lost to How Green Was My Valley, Grand Illusion lost to You Can't Take It With You, High Noon lost to The Greatest Show on Earth, and A Place in the Sun and A Streetcar Named Desire lost to An American In Paris. GoodFellas lost to Dances With Wolves. And in one year three of the greatest movies ever made -- All the President's Men, Taxi Driver, and Network -- were all nominated. They lost. To Rocky.