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Writers and prizes, part 2

Is anyone connected with Brokeback Mountain more bitter about its Best Picture loss than Annie Proulx, whose short story was the film’s source text? It’s hard to imagine. In an essay on the Guardian site, Proulx describes her experiences at the Oscar ceremony, and the dashing of her big-prize hopes.

“We should have known conservative heffalump academy voters would have rather different ideas of what was stirring contemporary culture,” she writes. “Roughly 6,000 film industry voters, most in the Los Angeles area, many living cloistered lives behind wrought-iron gates or in deluxe rest-homes, out of touch not only with the shifting larger culture and the yeasty ferment that is America these days, but also out of touch with their own segregated city, decide which films are good. And rumour has it that Lions Gate inundated the academy voters with DVD copies of Trash – excuse me – Crash a few weeks before the ballot deadline. Next year we can look to the awards for controversial themes on the punishment of adulterers with a branding iron in the shape of the letter A, runaway slaves, and the debate over free silver.”

There’s plenty more, much of it just as entertainingly furious; Proulx herself concedes that the piece is a “Sour Grapes Rant.” But probably her sneakiest rhetorical flourish is opening with a brief description of the homophobic bigots who picketed the sidewalk outside the awards pavilion — just to make it clear what side she considers those Crash-voters to really be on.

Related links:
Click here for Annie Proulx’s essay in The Guardian