Surveying the Best Picture field with the 2013-2014 Oscar season on the way
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"Ain't Them Bodies Saints"
Release date: Aug. 16
Director: David Lowery
Cast: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, Nate Parker, Keith Carradine
Pros: Lowery’s bleakly romantic crime drama was one of the critical darlings of this year’s Sundance festival in January – where it won a jury prize for Bradford Young’s gorgeous cinematography, and where Lowery’s creative involvement in two other films, notably Shane Carruth’s “Upstream Color,” officially marked him as a Name To Watch in independent cinema. The presence of two recent Oscar nominees in the lead roles may encourage voters to check out their screeners, as might the frequent comparisons to revered American auteur Terrence Malick.
Cons: Reviews were strong when the film opened last month, but not quite as ecstatic as the initial wave of Sundance reactions – one man’s “Malick-esque” is another man’s “derivative.” The film, which may be a few degrees too cool for many Academy voters, hasn’t remained in the critical conversation enough to be more than an Independent Spirits player at the end of the day.