Surveying the Best Picture field with the 2013-2014 Oscar season on the way
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"August: Osage County"
Release date: Dec. 25 (Limited)
Director: John Wells
Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Julianne Nicholson, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Sam Shepard, Chris Cooper, Dermot Mulroney, Margo Martindale
Pros: The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning drama is both an entertaining and poignant experience on stage. The movie version, which debuted at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, uses its all-star cast to its advantage with two show-stopping dining room scenes that could win over the actors branch. And if you use the "Crash" model, the cast is full of industry veterans who have made a lot of friends who also vote in the guilds and the Academy.
Cons: Critics liked the performances, but were blasé on the film as a whole. A new tacked-on ending was criticized by loyalists of the play and Wells openly spoke of changing it before the film's Christmas release. If that occurs, it's hard to see editing a film afters its public premiere as something endearing to Oscar voters.