Surveying the Best Picture field with the 2013-2014 Oscar season on the way
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"Inside Llewyn Davis"
Release date: Dec. 6 (Limited)
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, Adam Driver
Pros: Hardly anyone had a word to say against the Coen Brothers’ latest at Cannes, where Steven Spielberg’s jury handed it the Grand Jury Prize. In recent years, the Coens have gone from being edgy outsiders to true darlings of the Academy, with four wins between them and back-to-back Best Picture nods for their last two films, “A Serious Man” and “True Grit.” Many older voters will get a nostalgic kick out of the new film’s trip to the New York folk scene of the 1960s, but it still retains their distinctive, contemporary brand of cool.
Cons: Gorgeously detailed and designed as it is, “Davis” is no warm, fuzzy retro ride – this story of a failing artist at his lowest ebb is among the brothers’ most melancholy, low-key works. Some voters, of course, will find it quite relatable; others may find it easier to admire than it is to love, particularly with its (mostly) youngish ensemble.