Héctor Babenco, Oscar-Nominated Kiss of the Spider Woman Director, Dead at 70


Oscar-nominated director Héctor Babenco, best known for his film Kiss of the Spider Woman, is dead at age 70. Deadline reports that Babenco died Wednesday in São Paulo after suffering a heart attack. Born in Buenos Aires, Babenco permanently relocated to São Paulo in 1969. He subsequently filtered many of his works through Brazil's political and economic turmoil. Babenco first broke through with his 1981 film Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco about the exploitation of Brazil's youth by both criminals and the state. It was 1985's Kiss of the Spider Woman, however, that truly cemented Babenco's widespread acclaim. The film, about two cellmates imprisoned during the Brazilian military dictatorship, garnered an Oscar for star William Hurt, as well as a Best Director nomination for Babenco and Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay nods. Babenco is survived by his wife and daughter.