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I can’t even remember the last time “Oscar” and I actually agreed on the winner for Best Picture. Last night, however, the Academy decided to listen to me, as well as many other critics, and they named “Crash” the best of 2005, an upset win that I predicted a few weeks ago. (But as my fellow blogger Paul also pointed out to me in an e-mail, I win the office betting pool again because even when I was wrong in my predictions, I was right!) So I hope you’ll indulge me in a brief moment of gloating.

But I have to say I disagree with Paul’s comments on another topic. Earlier today, he wrote that “Brokeback” didn’t win because of some kind of intolerant backlash toward the movie’s gay themes. “Brokeback” probably hurt itself with too much hype too early in the Oscar season–and the film never had the substance or style of a movie like “Crash” to back up the hype. The truth is, “Brokeback” didn’t make the top five (top 10, yes, but not top five) of many critics’ best-of lists, and “Crash” did. For both movies, word-of-mouth caught up just in time for the final vote.

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