Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:March 16th, 2006 13:01 EST
Bitter Grapes Grow Over Mountain

Bitter Grapes Grow Over Mountain

By Maria Grella

You may not have heard of Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx but you’re probably aware of her work.  Proulx is the author of the 1997 short story that inspired the best picture nominee Brokeback Mountain.  Now add to her achievement the author of a bitter rant and poor sportsmanship in a liberal British newspaper.  Though the Oscars are history, and the winners and losers have long since gone back to their normal lives, Proulx has been very vocal in her upset over the loss.  What ever happened to ‘it’s an honor just to be nominated’?


In Saturday’s issue of The Guardian, a paper with a circulation of 1.2 million daily readers, she criticized the voters and award show for choosing Crash over Brokeback Mountain.  Proulx minces no words in her verbal assault, stating that the Academy members are “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”.


She went on to mention how at the Independent Spirit Awards, held the day before the Oscars, Brokeback Mountain was the recipient of best picture.  “If you are looking for smart judging based on merit, skip the Academy Awards next year, and pay attention to the Independent Spirit choices.” 


There is a belief that the last movie you see you vote for, which results in companies sending out promo packages to voters as late as possible.  Proulx took notice and continued with attacking the distribution company behind Crash.  “Rumour has it that Lionsgate inundated the academy voters with DVD copies of Trash – excuse me – Crash a few weeks before the ballot deadline.”


The outraged author put down the Academy Awards ceremony saying it was “reminiscent of a small-town talent show”, called the audience within the Kodak theatre a “somewhat dim LA crowd”, and mentioned how insulting it was for Brokeback Mountain to win the same number of Oscars as King Kong.  She ended her angry words with a final statement:  “For those who call this little piece a Sour Grapes Rant, play it as it lays”.


History was made in having a major motion picture about two gay leading men and their tragic love story, but while art is subjective and can’t truly be judged against another piece, Brokeback Mountain doesn’t have the same universal appeal that Crash does.  Racial tension and stereotypes are topics everyone can relate to in one way or another.  Rather than taking the high road and accepting what the Academy voted for as best picture, Proulx acted as immature as a child would throwing a temper tantrum.  She may deny her written outburst as being bitter grapes, but it is quite blatantly a testament to her being a sore loser.  Grace in both winning and losing is apparently a virtue that Proulx has yet to learn.