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Posted by Ty Burr  March 8, 2006 12:46 PM

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Just received this thoughtful e-mail response from a reader named Eugenia that adds another kink to the Oscar-win tail.

"I'm not sure how you can say with such certainty that homophobia didn't play a part in 'Brokeback Mountain' not winning. There have been numerous mentions of Oscar voters (most notably Tony Curtis, ironically enough) who refused to even see the movie because it involved two men having sex (first pointed out, I believe, by Nikki Finke here).

"I do think you're onto something with the vote being not about the 'other guy,' though, the 'other' in this case being both a literal and figurative other - the Taiwanese Ang Lee (Best Director nod notwithstanding).

"It's sad that this is the first year that a non-white director has ever won (perhaps someone should have mentioned that to George Clooney before he launched into his fulsome panagyric on Hollywood inclusivity), and I can't help thinking that Ang Lee's outsider status, both as a foreigner and as a non-white, helped influence the outcome of the race. 'Crash' may have been about race relations, but it was still made by a white man (and by many accounts, it was made for white people) - the type of person that constitutes most of the Academy membership. The Academy may finally given the Best Directing award to a non-white, but in the end, the top prize remains out of reach for a minority filmmaker, and I think that is as much a part of the story as is any latent homophobia over 'Brokeback Mountain''s subject matter."

I might argue that after "Sense and Sensibility" and "The Ice Storm" -- not to mention "Crouching Tiger" and his taking a big-budget tentpole bullet with "Hulk" -- Lee is exactly the kind of director the industry wants to reward: tasteful, literate, and not particularly ethnic. The larger point remains: Minority filmmakers telling minority stories are under-represented in both Hollywood and the best picture category.

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Ty Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.

Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.

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