Roger Ebert is offering positive and thoughtful reasons for his prediction that Crash will take the Best Picture Oscar, but in my mind he’s essentially predicting that older-Academy- member homophobia is going to ultimately call the tune. I think it’s a tiny bit derelict of Roger to not at least acknowledge what I’ve been referring to as the Tony Curtis factor. The 81 year-old actor was widely quoted as saying he “hasn’t seen the heavily Oscar-nominated picture and probably won’t, and the same is true for other Academy members,” adding that “Howard Hughes and John Wayne wouldn’t like it.” And surely Ebert has at least glanced at or heard about Nikki Finke‘s 2.2 L.A. Weekly column that said “this year’s dirty little secret is the anecdotal evidence pouring in to me about hetero members being unwilling to screen Brokeback Mountain…for a community that takes pride in progressive values, it’s shameful that Hollywood’s homophobia may be on a par with Pat Robertson’s.” I’m not trying to boil it all down to a single us-vs.-them issue, and I assume readers understand I’m not saying it’s homophobic to vote for Crash over Brokeback Mountain for Best Picture. But talk to people with older dads and uncles in the Academy, and they’ll tell you that the World War II generation has indicated they have problems with Brokeback along these lines. It’s also widely acknowledged that Crash, as a certain pundit put it to me a while back, is “the middle-class choice for Best Picture.” Middle class as in “ohh, I don’t know if I want to sit in a theatre with my wife and watch that pup-tent scene.”