Wow! That was awesome, the biggest upset in recent Oscar history, and my best film of the year actually won best picture for the first time in 13 years. I've read all the blogs saying that it was homophobia, or that Crash was about LA, but in reality here are the reasons that Crash pulled of a ginormous upset:
1)It Made Them Feel
Oscar voters hardly ever vote against a film. They vote for what has the biggest punch. Films that pull out emotion from the viewers do quite well. Look at the other nominees: Capote and GNGL were very stoic films with little emotion on the surface. Munich was too bleak. And Brokeback could have been more emotional (gladly it wasn't) but was a little too restrained, especially at the end. Crash had at least 3 "OMG" moments, that took its viewers breaths away, and the scene when the Persian shop owner shoots the repairman was the best scene of the year. And often it is scenes that win oscars more than an entire film. Crash wasn't a perfect film, but neither was Brokeback. And when Brokeback didn't work it came off clunky and unintentionally funny. Crash, when it didn't work felt over the top and preachy, but still felt like high drama.
2) It had actors
Voters love films with lots of actors and this award could be considered the equivilent for best ensemble cast. Brokeback had a small cast, of relative newcomers, and Crash had a lot of well established character actors. Actors love voting for each other.
Oscar pundits were wondering what this would mean, since BB was not nominated for best editing, one of the awards Crash won. Editing defines the pace, and overall feel of the film. What that means is that basically the voters felt that they connected more with the feel and pace of Crash than with BB, which had some pacing problems.
Brokeback was everywhere, and Focus may have put out too many ads. It was on the cover of everything. Some voters I heard from said that it wasn't that they didn't like it, so much as they thought it was a good film that was being way too publicized. Partly this is Focus' fault, and partly it was the media who couldn't stop talking about it. In this case too much publicitiy may have turned a lot of voters off. On the other hand Crash spent the least amount of money of all 5 Best Picture contendars, making it feel like the little overachieving film it was.
This was a great oscar year, I was way off, and I like not being right in my predictions. Jon wasn't excellent, but he had some hillarious lines, The Three 6 Mafia rocked the joint, Robert Altman gave one of the best lifetime achievement speeches I've heard, and it ran under time, which was great.