Whether it’s through his films or in interviews, director Paul Haggis isn’t afraid to express his opinion. He isn’t afraid to be brutally honest either, even when it comes to perhaps his greatest accomplishment in the movie business.
Haggis is famous for having directed Crash, which took home the Best Picture prize at the 78th Academy Awards back into 2006. The underdog beat out Capote; Munich; Good Night, and Good Luck; and Brokeback Mountain — but whether it should have is up for debate.
The other films on that list were better-received by critics and even the Crash’s director admits that it may not have been the best film that year. Check this excerpt from his interview with HitFix and you’ll see what we mean:
“Was it the best film of the year? I don’t think so. There were great films that year. Good Night and Good Luck, amazing film. Capote, terrific film. Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, great film. And Spielberg’s Munich. I mean please, what a year. Crash, for some reason, affected people, it touched people. And you can’t judge these films like that. I’m very glad to have those Oscars. They’re lovely things. But you shouldn’t ask me what the best film of the year was because I wouldn’t be voting for Crash, only because I saw the artistry that was in the other films.
“Now, however, for some reason that’s the film that touched people the most that year. So I guess that’s what they voted for, something that really touched them. And I’m very proud of the fact that Crash does touch you. People still come up to me more than any of my films and say, ‘That film just changed my life.’ I’ve heard that dozens and dozens and dozens of times. So it did its job there. I mean I knew it was the social experiment that I wanted, so I think it’s a really good social experiment. Is it a great film? I don’t know.”
It’s an interesting distinction Haggis makes between the best film of the year and the one that affects or touches the most people in the most profound way. As an achievement, the latter is perhaps more significant, but does it qualify a film as Best Picture?
It’s an open-ended question either way, but we certainly commend Haggis for his honesty. He is currently directing Show Me a Hero, an HBO miniseries that chronicles a contentious battle over public housing in Yonkers, New York, that brings issues of race and class to the fore.