Surveying the Best Picture field with the 2013-2014 Oscar season on the way
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"Blue Jasmine" (Limited)
Release date: July 26
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard, Alec Baldwin, Andrew Dice Clay, Bobby Cannavale
Pros: You just can’t keep Woody down. In 2011, the septuagenarian legend was widely thought to be a spent force commercially and creatively, before “Midnight in Paris” charmed critics, notched up the best box office of his career, landed a Best Picture nod and won him a fourth Oscar. Two years later, and the more dramatically tinged “Blue Jasmine” – also a summer release – has garnered even better reviews than “Paris,” and is the year’s highest-grossing art house release so far. That Cate Blanchett is currently the Best Actress favorite for her magnetic performance only helps matters.
Cons: Allen may have amassed seven nominations for Best Director and a whopping 15 for Best Original Screenplay, but “Midnight in Paris” was only his third Best Picture nominee. As much as the Academy evidently admires them, they tend to find his films a little too small and chamber-y to register as more than acting and writing showcases. That could be the case again with “Jasmine,” which has the drawback of being rather chilly – Woody’s past Best Picture nominees have all been among his warmer efforts.