From a NYTimes article making the claim that The Departed won because the industry was trying to take back big name glory from the Indie-Scene:
It was less poignant than telling that these four men, Mr. Scorsese included, were onstage together, having become what they once assailed. They are the establishment, and they are not ready to cede the field to a moshed-up world of indies and global filmmakers.
Well, yes, at least two of those guys are truly powerful, but there's a reason for that.
But I take a bit of umbrage towards the assertion that these guys are some kind of powerful monolith standing in the way of Indie recognition. When was the last time George Lucas won a screenwriting or directing award? Heh. Coppola garnered his first awards by making The Godfather, and has virtually no power (for multiple reasons).
Spielberg and Lucas are truly powerful, but they don't award themselves.
To make movies on the level that these directors envision requires quite a bit of clout, one way or the other.
As for the indies and the internationals: There are always more bad films than good. Indie (or international) does not equal better by default. Let's not forget that.
Even if The Departed is just an excellent example of a popcorn movie (it's more than that), then we can only concede that that is very much a good thing.
A win for this one is an opportunity for better films to be made overall, in theory.
The only way these key filmmakers from the early 70s American scene gained their current prominence was by learning how to make movies that are as riveting as Scorsese's winner. Period.
Jesus, thirty seconds after Scorsese finally wins an Oscar he's labeled "The Establishment"