A hot contender for Best Picture at the Feb. 24 Academy Awards is a French film most people likely had not heard of a few weeks ago.  

“Amour,” which had earned an estimated $1.23 million at the U.S. box office as of Jan. 21, scored five nominations Jan. 10, including Best Original Screenplay. Three days later, it won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.  

But while critics are heaping praise on the film, which chronicles an aging couple struggling with the wife’s debilitating illness, a few commentators are warning about a disturbing plot point — the husband’s “mercy killing” of his wife. Barbara Nicolosi, a screenwriter and script consultant, offers a scathing review of “Amour” on her Church of the Masses blog, noting that “the movie wants us to believe that pushing the last breath out of someone you love is compassion and mercy and heroism. It isn’t. It is a failure in every way in which one person could fail another.” 

Of course, the euthanasia theme has struck gold at the Academy in the past, so perhaps it’s not surprising “Amour” is a contender. It wasn’t that long ago that “Million Dollar Baby” won Best Picture, after all.