They had 10 truly wonderful, thought provoking, well-presented films, each of which deserved recognition. And no real standout, that broke records at the box office. What to do? Divide up the awards as evenly as possible, rewarding the best in each. (Notice that Harry Potter got nothing, which is how it should be in this lineup.)
First, the movies that are what movie-making is all about; the progression of the craft, the beauty and special effects that people go to the movies *for*:
Memoirs of a Geisha - 3 awards
King Kong - 3 awards
Narnia - 1 award
Memoirs of a Geisha was beautiful, but not ground-breaking. It got the beauty awards - Cinematography, Costume Design, Art Direction. (3 awards)
King Kong was stunning, and got the awards for technical merit - Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing. (3 awards)
Some kind of a nod needed to be given to Narnia, so they gave it Makeup, which is appropriate.
Now for the *real* deep, thought-provoking, ground-breaking or 'teaching' films. (By teaching, I mean they're getting across a message that Americans need to be hearing.) They have to divide up between: Crash, Brokeback Mountain, The Constant Gardener, Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana, Walk the Line, Capote.
Walk the Line, Capote, The Constant Gardener, Good Night and Good Luck, and Syriana are not really up to the others in that 'deep thought' area - they each get one award: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor; except for Good Night and Good Luck, which doesn't make it in at all.
Those are lightweight awards, in terms of rewarding the movie itself. They reward individuals, while giving some recognition to the movie. That's a whole different system of thought that they use with that. (They apparently balance how many years they have left to reward an actor and how many years the actor has already put in with how many times the actor really should have gotten it before compared to the other nominees.)
Now they're left with the two heavyweight contenders, Crash and BBM. I haven't seen Crash, but I understand that it's about racial prejudice. This is a worthy topic also.
Brokeback Mountain - 3 awards
Crash - 3 awards
They each took their Screenplay awards. BBM wasn't up for Film Editing, so Crash gets that. Crash wasn't up for Music (which BBM should have had anyway - it's the most recognizable theme; everyone has heard it), so that evens the score. That leaves Best Director and Best Picture. They split it. Correctly (imho). Ang Lee deserved that. He deserves credit for a beautiful picture, for the end result of the acting, for making the story and the screenplay 'work', and for bringing such a subject to the mainstream public in the first place.