Does Oscar-nominated 'Three Billboards' owe everything to the Olsen twins?

The 90th Academy Awards are this Sunday, and one of the frontrunners for its Best Picture prize is Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the tale of a mother (played by Best Actress nominee Frances McDormand) who attempts to motivate the local police force (led by Best Supporting Actor nominee Woody Harrelson) to solve the rape and murder of her daughter by posting messages critical of law enforcement’s efforts on three roadside billboards. Co-starring Oscar nominee Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Caleb Landry Jones, Peter Dinklage, and John Hawkes, it’s one of the year’s most acclaimed releases — and as a recent Twitter user made clear, it’s also apparently inspired by a lesser-known predecessor starring America’s 1990 sweethearts.

Frances McDormand in a scene from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. (Photo: Fox Searchlight)

With tongue firmly in cheek, humor writer Jill Gutowitz spent part of this week enlightening the world about the under-heralded film that McDonagh’s Three Billboards so blatantly rips off: Billboard Dad, the direct-to-video 1998 heart-warmer starring everyone’s favorite twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. That film tells the story of two young girls’ efforts to find their widowed father a new girlfriend by plastering a dating ad for him on a local billboard. And, well, Gutowitz’s Twitter thread explains the rest:

Good luck arguing with that rock-solid case.

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