25 Mar “In a Crisis, It Was a ‘Beautiful’ Job” From Los Angeles Times
Ten years from now, it will be hard to know what will be more memorable, “A Beautiful Mind” the movie or “A Beautiful Mind” the Oscar campaign, a watershed moment in the ongoing battle between historians and Hollywood over the custody of our shared heritage.
“It says it was really close,” joked producer Brian Grazer as he accepted the envelope and the award for best picture, tacitly acknowledging the battle the film has endured on its way to the Oscar.
“A Beautiful Mind’s” route to victory represented a personal vindication for some of Hollywood’s biggest players, who launched a massive campaign to win the Oscar. Yet it was a victory, barely snatched from the jaws of defeat as Universal was forced to concentrate most of its effort on defending the film from charges of having whitewashed Nash’s life.
This is the first Oscar winner with its own crisis PR manager, the inveterate Sitrickand Co. The firm, whose other clients have included Orange County in the middle of its bankruptcy, Enron wannabe Global Crossing and Paula Poundstone, wasn’t brought on to squelch tales of Russell Crowe’s sex life or hide evidence of discontent on the set, but to inoculate the film from a far graver adversary: the truth.