Brokeback Mountain vs. Crash (2005)
Before the 2005 Oscars, most pundits predicted that "Brokeback Mountain" would be named Best Picture. On the surface, it's the more comforting film. It's a romance, it has beautiful scenery and it's got the mother of all tearjerker endings. "Crash," on the other hand, is all yelling and racial tension. But looking deeper, "Brokeback Mountain" has the edgier premise: it says that two men who can't live and love openly will be doomed to heartbreak and loss. "Crash" says that individuals can fight their racist impulses and make life better for people around them. Remember that final scene where Ludacris lets loose the Cambodian refugees hiding in the back of the van? That's pretty feel-good. The last scene in "Brokeback Mountain" has Ennis crying over Jack's old shirt. We suspect "Crash" won in part because it comforted viewers that racial tension can be surmounted, but "Brokeback Mountain" left them feeling bad about the state of gay unions - and that goes double when they don't agree with them.