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Mike Leigh
The plain truths of Oscar winners
The plain truths of Oscar winners

Ozark waitresses turned boxers. Los Angelenos battling over racial and social inequality. Boston's criminal element and a do-gooder detective. A West Texas cowboy and a satchel of money. A slum kid from India and a game show. Bomb specialists in Iraq hooked on the drug of war. On the surface, these plots — of "Million Dollar Baby," "Crash," "The Departed," "No Country for Old Men," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Hurt Locker" — have one thing in common: Oscars for best picture (in chronological order since 2005). But scratch deeper and there's more going on: They're actually all thorough character...

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