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Do you think the dark Oscars are a new trend?

February 19, 2008 | 10:36 am

What do you think of the dark tone of the films up for best picture this year? In the past we've mostly seen sprawling epics and inspiring biopics rule. Is it a new Oscar trend?


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If this trend is real, we saw its dramatic emergence last year with "The Departed" winning the top Oscar race. Maybe even with the surprise win of "Crash" the previous year. Now, if "No Country for Old Men" prevails, we'll have seen recent champs come out with guns blazing and secret evil exposed. Does this mean farewell to those good, ole Oscar days of singing priests and nuns ("Going My Way," "The Sound of Music") and other saintly folk ("Gandhi," even "Schindler's List" and "Forrest Gump")?

If the gloom and grit we've seen fall upon the best-pic race recently is here to stay, it may mean one of two things: that academy members are finally revealing the dark side that we've always suspected of hard-hearted Hollywooders. Or else it means the world around them has changed so much in recent years that they're merely reflecting that. It's always been a cruel world, but today we underscore it with gangsta rap and by voting nice people off remote jungle islands on TV.

Of course, the prevalence of dark films like "The Departed," "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" could just be a fluke. In the past there were periods when similar flicks like "The French Connection" (1971) and "The Godfather" (1972) stole the golden prize.

Even when dark wins weren't consecutive, the best picture race has always, really, been racy now and then: "On the Waterfront," "Midnight Cowboy" and "The Silence of the Lambs."

So what do YOU think? New trend? Or has that sly naked Golden Boy just been showing us more of his longstanding naughty nature of late?

(Paramount Vantage/ Miramax)