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Best Picture – “In the Bedroom”

Producers: Graham Leader, Ross Katz, Todd Field

Previous Best Film wins: Los Angeles Film Critics Association

The story: Matt Fowler (Tom Wilkinson) is a doctor practicing in his native Maine and is married to Ruth (Sissy Spacek), a choral music teacher. When their only child, Frank (Nick Stahl), is home from school for the summer, he falls in love with a local single mother, Natalie (Marisa Tomei). Yet, as the beauty of Maine’s fleeting summer comes to an end, these characters suddenly find themselves in the midst of unimaginable tragedy. Matt and Ruth are forced to struggle through their heartbreak and loss.

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Oscar odds: First-time writer/director Todd Field, known primarily as an actor (Eyes Wide Shut; Twister), takes a look at a very intimate and personal subject: an everyday, usually happy family unexpectedly thrown into despair by tragic events. Sure, sounds like a million other movies we’ve seen before, but the key to Bedroom is the script and the performances. Field has collected an amazing cast, lead by the understated Wilkinson and the quietly fierce Spacek as the parents having to cope with the death of their son. Just the kind of movie the Academy likes to nominate but rarely gives the award to (think Secrets & Lies). —Kit Bowen

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