Less Cash, More Crash

For Oscar this year, cheap is chic. Four of the five films nominated for Best Picture cost under $15 million to make, less than a fifth of the average Hollywood budget. Of them, the very cheapest was Crash, which cost $6.5 million and earned six Oscar nods, including three for writer-director-producer Paul Haggis. Yet the film's domestic box-office total ($56 million) was higher than that of any of its laureled rivals when the nominations came out last Tuesday.

When the execs at Lionsgate Films told Haggis several months ago that they were aiming for Best Picture, he literally laughed at them....

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