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Best Picture Breakdown: Letters From Iwo Jima

From now until the 2007 Oscars air this Sunday night, I'll be breaking down each Best Picture nominee and giving you the scoop on why certain movies might win and why others probably don't have a chance. Today's featured movie is Letters From Iwo Jima, the second part of Clint Eastwood's one-two World War II punch that began with the schlockier Flags of Our Fathers.

Both movies tell the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima, but the better film, Letters, is presented from the perspective of the Japanese troops, led by General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe). For a look at Letters From Iwo Jima's chances in the Best Picture race,

Why It Might Win

  • The Academy loves Clint Eastwood. If this legendary man's-man-turned-director makes a good movie (read: Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven), the voters often seem unable to resist its charms. But it's also possible that Eastwood could score the directing statuette, in which case, Letters probably won't win.
  • It is has the benefit of being both arty and manly. Not only is Letters a serious war movie, but it is also a visually stunning film with textures and colors that capture the era without looking contrived.

Why It Might Not Win

  • With the exception of inside Hollywood types, very few people have seen it. The movie was only released nationwide in late December, and by then, most of the reviews had been out for months, so the buzz was minimal to say the least.
  • The lack of big-name actors (aside from Watanabe) and everyday reference points means the movie lacks universal appeal. Lately, it seems Oscars are increasingly going to movies about modern-day characters with whom voters and viewers identify, e.g. Crash and American Beauty.

Chances of Winning: Moderate

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.

Join The Conversation
cubachi cubachi 10 years
I thank my father everyday for allowing me to watch Eastwood's films since I was 6 years old. He is one of my favorite actors and currently the best cinematic director in the world. Instead of wooing audiences with special effects or cinematographic wonder, he allows the story to become central in the movie. His use of minimal light is a way of demonstrating raw human emotion in the most dire of times. He deserves the best movie and director awards. I know Scorsese is the sentimental favorite for director, but Eastwood was just simply amazing. To direct a movie in another language and especially show an empathetic story of these young men dying for their country as well as tackling wartime is extraordinary. I can not recommend this movie enough.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 10 years
Clint Eastwood is the man. He creates stuff that not only Oscar voters love, but also stuff that moviegoers love. That said, I think he's received enough Oscars for a while.
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