Check out the new California section


Montgomery Clift
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...