Although originally released in 2004, the film did not qualify for the following year's Academy Awards as it did not play at least one week in L.A. (as Academy Awards rules require for eligibility). When it finally opened in L.A. the following year, the film did qualify for Oscar consideration for 2005, and it went on to win the Best Picture Oscar for that year.
For the scene in which Daniel is trying to convince his daughter to get out from under the bed, director Paul Haggis directed Michael Peña, who plays Daniel, to talk to her like he would talk to a guy in a bar.
Two Koreans were intentionally cast as the "Chinese" couple to underscore the fact that most non-Asians cannot or don't care to differentiate between the various Asian nationalities and instead choose to refer to all of them (Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese, etc.) as "Chinese", like the characters in the movie do.
Paul Haggis had wanted Christine to drive a Lexus SUV or a similar car that reflected her social status. Since the car was to be destroyed during the accident scene, however, budget restrictions dictated otherwise and a 1992 Jeep was used instead.
Before Ryan Phillippe signed on, Heath Ledger was in talks for the role of Hansen. Ironically Ledger starred in "Brokeback Mountain," the film that lost the Best Picture Oscar to "Crash" in a controversial decision.
Annie Proulx, author of Brokeback Mountain (2005), wrote a strong polemic against this one in the British newspaper "The Guardian", venting her disgust and disappointment that her film was beaten by Paul Haggis' at the Oscars, one of the Academy's more controversial decisions in years.
The only Best Picture winner initially released before the previous year's Best Picture (2005 Best Picture, Million Dollar Baby (2004), release date was 15 December 2004 and 2006 Best Picture, this film, release date: 10 September 2004).