March 7, 2006

Not from The Onion, amusingly enough:

Gays brokenhearted over 'Brokeback' loss; S.F. crowd gets quiet, some cry as 'Crash' wins Oscar - Wyatt Buchanan, SF Chronicle

The single-word title of the film that won best picture at the Academy Awards Sunday night, beating "Brokeback Mountain," could perhaps best describe the mood at the end of San Francisco's premier Oscar night party. Moments before, when "Brokeback's" Ang Lee won for best director, the packed house at the Academy of Friends AIDS fundraising gala at the Concourse Exhibition Center erupted in wild cheering.

But as Jack Nicholson announced the best picture award for "Crash," a film that received nowhere near the media attention of the cowboy love story, the crowd went quiet. Some booed, and others cried. This was supposed to have been the big "gay" year at the Oscars, with "Brokeback," "Capote" and "Transamerica" all vying for major awards. Many saw "Brokeback" as a kind of great gay hope for best picture.

"I felt like 'Brokeback Mountain' was a film that brought Americans together over issues of homophobia," said Grant Colfax, who hugged and wept with his partner, Rod Rogers [is that his real name?], as the final award of the night went to a movie that instead explored issues of race. Although Colfax said he liked "Crash," he called it a safe choice.

Others were less diplomatic. "I think that's an absolute horror," said Brad Bruner, who is a leader in the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association. "It's an outright sign of homophobia in our country. ('Crash') won no awards before this. It makes me sick."

Overall, the films with gay themes and characters fared moderately. No actors won Oscars for performances in "Brokeback Mountain," and Felicity Huffman did not win for her portrayal of a transgender female in "Transamerica," but Philip Seymour Hoffman did score with his performance in "Capote," a film based on the life of gay writer Truman Capote.

That win meant Hoffman beat out Heath Ledger's character in "Brokeback Mountain," although many people at the event, which raised $500,000 for HIV and AIDS community services, said Hoffman deserved the honor.

Despite the lack of success for "Brokeback Mountain," which won just three of the eight awards for which it was nominated, cowboy hats and western wear were high fashion at the party. A movie poster signed by the actors and director sold for just over $2,800 in a silent auction, though the listed value was "priceless."

Gala attendees, who paid at least $200 a ticket, could get their picture taken with Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall look-alikes in front of a mountain backdrop.

Caralee Schmitt, who attended the event with her husband, marveled at the cowboy couture on display Sunday, which she had never seen growing up in Bozeman, Mont. "My father was a cowboy, but not at all like these kind of cowboys," said Schmitt, who lives in South San Francisco.


My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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