Oscar Politics: Campaigns–A Beautiful Mind and John Nash

In 2000, there was mud-slinging in the Presidential elections (Bush won), the SAG election (conducted twice due to dubious tactics), and even in the Olympic judging, wrote Tim Gray in Variety.

So why should Oscar be exempt?

Universal’s chair Stacey Snider first said that unidentified rivals were responsible for negative stories about A Beautiful Mind that were cropping up in newspapers, magazines, and Web sites. Everyone in Hollywood is convinced they know the culprit, but nobody has offered any proof. Rival studios privately insisted that, “It wasn’t us! Journalists were loath to admit they might have been manipulated.

Attacking the moral character of 73 year old mathematician John Nash (played by Russell Crowe) was pretty low, forcing him to appear on various shows, talking about his past (anti-Semitic remarks).

But it was not new. And it was not unique to the Oscars. When a film wins the Best Picture, rivals always nod cynically that the conquering studio “bought” the award.