TV & Movies

Did Cliff Booth Kill His Wife? Zazie Beetz, Bo Burnham, and More Answer ‘Hollywood’ Mystery

While IndieWire asked guests at our Sundauce studio which films they were championing at the 2020 Academy Awards (the support for “Parasite” in Park City was through the roof), Collider was busy asking a different question related to one of the Oscars’ most nominated films, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” The question: Did Cliff Booth kill his wife? The answer remains a mystery in Tarantino’s “Hollywood” script, although a brief flashback scene depicts Cliff (Brad Pitt) and his wife arguing on a boat and suggests there’s a strong possibility he murdered her.

Several industry characters in “Hollywood” refuse to work with Cliff because they believe he is guilty. Tarantino never depicts Cliff killing his wife, and what really happened has become one of “Hollywood’s” most debated plot points.

“I’m hoping it’s an accident,” Paul Bettany told Collider. “Because otherwise why did I like him so much in the movie? He’s also gorgeous.”

Bettany’s stance on the matter was a popular one. “I wanted it to be an accident so I could enjoy the rest of the movie,” said Andy Samberg. “I let myself believe it was an accident so I could watch the rest of it.” Samberg’s “Palm Springs” co-star Cristin Milioti disagrees saying, “He clearly killed her.” Zazie Beets feels the same, saying the film gives enough hints to make it obvious Cliff murdered his wife, as does Bo Burnham, who adds, “No, he definitely killed her.”

“She was really annoying, he may have killed her,” Toni Collette says. “Anything can happen at sea.”

Pitt’s performance as Cliff Booth in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has made him the Oscar frontrunner to win the Best Supporting Actor prize at Sunday’s ceremony. Pitt has swept the 2020 awards season, winning Best Supporting Actor prizes from the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild awards, the Critics’ Choice Awards, and the BAFTA Film Awards.

Pitt’s nomination is one of 10 total nominations “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” received at the Oscars. “Hollywood” is tied with “The Irishman” and “1917” as the second most-nominated film of the year. “Joker” leads all films with 11 nominations.

Watch stars weigh in on the Cliff Booth debate in the video below.

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