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Paul Haggis is willing to admit that his critics may have a point.
The director told HitFix that he does not consider his 2005 film Crash to be that year’s standout. Crash nabbed the best picture Oscar over Brokeback Mountain in what is considered to be among the most notable upsets in the category’s history.
“Was it the best film of the year? I don’t think so,” Haggis said candidly. “There were great films that year. Good Night and Good Luck, amazing film. Capote, terrific film. Ang Lee‘s Brokeback Mountain, great film. And [Steven] Spielberg‘s Munich. I mean please, what a year.”
“Crash for some reason affected people, it touched people,” the director continued. “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.”
However, Haggis pointed out that he is “amused” when people tell him that the film falls back on racial stereotypes, as he said he purposely emphasized stereotypes in the film’s first half-hour, only to subvert them in the rest of the movie. He also added that numerous people have told him that the film changed their life.
“I mean, I knew it was the social experiment that I wanted, so I think it’s a really good social experiment,” said Haggis, who directed the HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero. “Is it a great film? I don’t know.”
After the HitFlix interview was published, Haggis clarified his remarks about the line of questioning regarding whether his film was “the best” of that year.
“I am very proud of Crash, and am honored to have been chosen as one of the best films of that year — especially in a year where there were so many terrific and daring films that explored real and pressing issues. It is unfair and rather ridiculous to ask a director if his film is ‘the best’ — being a Canadian I am never going to be one who stands up and announces ‘Yes, my film absolutely deserved to win over all those amazing films.’ It’s not going to happen — and my answers have always been consistent,” Haggis told Roger Friedman, of Showbiz 411.
Earlier this year, The Hollywood Reporter asked hundreds of Academy voters how they would vote today in a number of key best-picture races from history. For the 2006 race, Brokeback Mountain emerged victorious over Crash among the selected voters.
Aug. 13, 8:40 am Updated with Haggis’ remarks to Showbiz 411
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