‘Departures’

Oscar nominees: Foreign Language

Why it’ll win: It’s already won gongs in its homeland as well as in the States (an audience award at the Palm Springs Film Fest). A black comedy, pic stands out from the more serious contenders in the mix.

Maybe not: The “ick” factor of the main character’s calling (ritually washing the clothes and bodies of dead people prior to funeral services) could get the better of it.

Critical quote: “Eccentric, movingly funny, and lushly scored. A seriocomic look at life, death and forgiveness,” says Emanuel Levy of Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

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