Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared Tuesday "Crash" Day to honor the cast and crew of the Oscar-winning movie about race relations set in the second biggest U.S. city.
"Crash," directed by Canadian-born screenplay writer and director Paul Haggis, was a surprise Best Picture winner over "Brokeback Mountain" at the 78th Academy Awards ceremony last month.
"I think it's important for us to talk about race and ethnicity and the tensions that we have in this, the most diverse city in the United States of America," Villaraigosa said during a City Hall ceremony that coincided with the DVD release of the director's cut of the movie.
"Each of those characters had a side to them that wanted to reach out, that wanted to kind of understand, that wanted to connect, and they did connect," said Villaraigosa, the city's first Latino mayor. "That's why I liked this movie."
Villaraigosa also praised Haggis for shooting the film entirely in Los Angeles and urged other Hollywood movie studios to follow suit.
Officials in Los Angeles, which is home to Hollywood, have been worried about the fact that many Hollywood studios were shooting their films in other U.S. states and even foreign countries, resulting in losses of billions of dollars in revenue for the entertainment-related industries in the area.
Haggis called the "Crash" Day designation "a great honor."
"This is a movie about good people who do things they wish they hadn't, or say things they wish they hadn't," he said. "I'm very proud to be a part of something that sparked a conversation."