'Crash' Wins Oscar Poll, But Many Say 'None of the Above'

"Crash" breaks through as the public's top Oscar choice this year, but the real winner in a list of box-office laggards is no choice at all.

Twenty-two percent in this ABC News poll pick "Crash" for the Best Picture statuette, with "Brokeback Mountain" in second place at 15 percent. But -- unusually -- the biggest group, 34 percent, has no opinion on which flick should win.

That's what happens when the nominees all rank 29th or lower on the year's list for gross box office receipts: A lot of people just haven't seen them. "No opinion" on the Oscar pick is 10 or more points higher this year than in recent years, when nominees included blockbusters such as "Lord of the Rings" and "Gladiator."

As things stand, "Brokeback" is closely pursued by "Munich" (11 percent) and "Good Night, and Good Luck" (11 percent) and "Capote" (8 percent).

Nominees Lose at Box Office

Hollywood ticket sales were down for a third-straight year in 2005, and this year's nominees, in particular, seem to be more about art than money. The top grosser on the list, "Brokeback," ranks only 29th for domestic ticket sales; "Crash" ranks 49th; "Capote" is 104th. Indeed the box office gross for all five nominees combined would only rank fifth on the year's list of top-grossing films.

The disconnect between Academy members who selected the nominees and the movie-going public looks to do with the age-old conflict between reality and escapism. The Best Picture nominees all deal with "real life" situations, while the top movies at the domestic box office are sci-fi adventures, including "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" ($380 million), "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" ($289 million), "Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" ($288 million), "War of the Worlds" ($234 million), and "King Kong" ($217 million).

In comparison, "Brokeback Mountain," the top earner among this year's nominees, has brought in $75 million, followed by "Crash" with $53 million.

Younger Audience Helps 'Crash' Prevail

Young adults and non-whites help boost "Crash," a film about race relations in Los Angeles, to its first-place position: Non-whites and 18- to 34-year-olds are at least twice as likely as whites and people 35 and older to say it should win the Oscar.

Second-place "Brokeback," an unusual love story (since it occurs between two male cowboys), gets somewhat higher support from women than men, 18 percent versus 12 percent. Men, for their part, are twice as likely as women to go for "Munich," which has guns, explosions, geopolitics and angst.

Political divisions are muted: Republicans, Democrats and independents alike are more apt to pick "Crash" than "Brokeback" for the award. "Crash" also gets more votes in all regions, although "Brokeback" comes closer in the West and Northeast.

As usual, half of seniors have no preference among the five nominated films. They don't go out as much to the movies, or at least not to these movies.

Political divisions are muted: Republicans, Democrats and independents alike are more apt to pick "Crash" than "Brokeback" for the award. "Crash" also gets more votes in all regions, although "Brokeback" comes closer in the West and Northeast.

METHODOLOGY -- This ABC News poll was conducted by telephone Feb. 22-26, 2006, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. The Oscars air at 8 p.m. Eastern, Sunday night, March 5, on ABC.

Click here for PDF version with full questionnaire and results.

Click here for more ABC News polls in our Poll Vault.

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