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The folks in Hollywood often don’t get it right.

But this year they did. They got it absolutely, perfectly right earlier this evening when they gave the Best Picture Oscar to “Crash.” Bravo!

If you haven’t seen it, run — don’t walk — to your local video store or sign on to Netflix and put it at the top of your queue.

This is a “must-see” movie. Turn on the answering machine, lock the door, pull the shades, and get comfortable. You won’t be able to tear yourself away, although the movie is frequently difficult to watch because its frank depiction of bigotry and prejudice makes the viewer extremely uncomfortable.

The entire ensemble cast is magnificent, with Sandra Bullock giving the most surprisingly believable performance, but Matt Dillion deserved his Oscar nomination. As the saying goes, I would watch Don Cheadle read the telephone book. He is one of the best actors working today — simply, eloquently brilliant — and too often overlooked or underrated. (He was robbed when he did not win the Oscar for “Hotel Rwanda.”)

I can’t remember how I learned about this movie . . . perhaps it was a recommendation from “Netflix.” I watched the DVD back in September 2005, when it had first been released and was thoroughly impressed, but never imagined I was watching the next Best Picture winner.

The film was not a box office blockbuster, opening in 4th place with a gross of only $9,100,000, and a cumulative total of $55,382,847 in 19 weeks. To date it has banked another $47,600,000 in rental revenue. Those are modest numbers by current industry standards.

But the movie started getting “buzz” earlier this year and apparently really picked up “awards season” steam after the cast deservedly won the Screen Actors Guild Award for best ensemble. Winning the Oscar tonight will assure that it reaches a much larger audience — perhaps it will be re-released in theatres — and that is a very good thing because the film’s message is an important one.

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