I looked for the blemish, and of course it was still there...2005: Crash.
Next to it, in 2006, was Pan's Labyrinth, which was my pick for #1 movie that year as well.
How can a man be so wrong and so right in such short succession?
I'm not saying that Ebert's review won that Oscar for Crash, but I will say without hesitation that his review of the movie was far more intelligent and ingenuous than the movie itself.
Because I was (am) incapable of loving both Crash and Brokeback Mountain, I initially assumed, in a narrow-minded, egocentric way, that Ebert would be equally incapable of loving them both. How wrong I was. His review of Brokeback Mountain reads like the abstract of a scholarly paper: impeccably researched, profoundly thought-provoking. I actually got more out of the movie just from reading his review.
How can a man be so wrong and so right at the exact same time?
You all know by now that Crash is a favorite scapegoat/punching bag of mine, so what I'm about to say next may come as a surprise, but it is absolutely true: I wish I could see in Crash what Roger Ebert saw. I wish I could see a movie that has the "possibility of making [its] viewers better people," instead of a silly movie with a bunch of actors wading through contrived situations and somehow managing to recite hackneyed, superficial dialogue with a straight face.[*](Not withstanding the One Good Scene, of course.)
I also wish that we could have had the benefit of Ebert's ten-year retrospective on Crash. Would he have stood by his prior assertions, or would he have been slightly embarrassed by the effusiveness of his praise? Would it have withstood the test of time, in his brilliant but flawed opinion, or would he have realized that he initially saw so much more in it than was actually there?