Tv & Film
‘Everything Everywhere’ Is Unbeatable–But So Was ‘Brokeback Mountain’
(Almost) everyone says it’s the winner, far and away. The picture is unbeatable. The Directors Guild, the Producers Guild, and the Screen Actors Guild have crowned it already, and the Writers Guild is likely poised to do the same tonight. The spirit Awards did it yesterday. The Critics Choice Awards had already gone thumbs up. as Deadline's Pete Hammond points out, all six prognosticators on the Los Angeles Times “Buzzmeter” have Everything Everywhere in for the win.
But there’s still that spooky sense of unease. Maybe, as Hammond notes, the slight shadow is cast by Everything’s BAFTA loss to All Quiet On The Western Front, plus the sure knowledge that some older members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences aren’t charmed by the wildly off-center film, plus memory of recent upsets, which saw CODA dump Power Of The Dog and Green Book beat Roma.
As Pete says, there are no sure things. And we know how the Academy loves an underdog, or, as Oscar campaigners love to put it, “the little engine that could.” In the last ten years, only twice has the most-nominated Oscar film—it happened with Birdman (tied for nominations with The Grand Budapest Hotel) and The Shape Of Water—gone on to win Best Picture.
So Everything’s 11 nominations, the most for any film this year, could be read as a counter-indicator. With too many nominations, there are too many ways to “take care” of a film, while leaving the Best Picture vote for something else.
But scarier than all that, I think, is the memory of Brokeback Mountain, the disruptive gay Western that dominated the field in 2006, and lost to Crash.
With eight nominations, including three for acting and a directing nomination for Ang Lee, Brokeback led the field that year. I remember having lunch at New York’s Park Bistro with the film’s co-producer and distributor James Schamus on nominations day, Jan. 31. The energy was overwhelming. Well-wishers tumbled in from the street to offer congratulations. But I couldn’t escape an unhappy feeling that this was actually the peak.
Of course, the honors continued to cascade for weeks. Brokeback was the winner with BAFTA, the Critics Choice, the Spirit Awards, the Globes, the DGA, PGA and WGA. Its only significant miss was with SAG—and, of course, with the Academy.
To this day, Brokeback’s loss is cited as one of the biggest mistakes in Oscar history, a mortal sin. There were accusations of homophobia, and even a staged “revote” that purported to show that Academy voters had buyer’s remorse, and, on reconsideration, would not have given the prize to Crash.
Whatever. I sure don’t know. But Brokeback still haunts the prediction business. As Pete Hammond notes, nothing is certain.