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Death Becomes Oscar

Death Becomes Oscar

Spolier alert: character deaths in some Oscar contenders discussed…

After finally catching the impressive and powerful Letters from Iwo Jima this afternoon, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that the Oscar nominees for Best Picture are all kinda centered around people dying. Sort of. I mean, they die by the thousands in Cint Eastwood’s WWII epic (alternate title: Suicide Notes from Iwo Jima). The Queen is set around the events of Princess Diana’s untimely passing. Just about every lead actor, except the guy nommy-nominated for an Oscar himself, is killed in The Departed. The dying may be scarce in Babel, but the entire premise of the film hinges on the domino effect of a near-death experience. Even the token comedy nominee, Little Miss Sunshine, begins with an attempted suicide, and later climaxes around the predictable death of Alan Arkin (and his corpse shuttled around with the family in a blatant Vacation rip-off). No wonder Dreamgirls didn’t get the Best Picture nod everyone expected: the only major character in that movie who dies, Eddie Murphy’s Jimmy “Thunder” Early, doesn’t have the forethought to do it onscreen.

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