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CONTENDERS: Blue Jasmine and American Hustle
It’s like Woody Allen took a trip in a time machine back to a point in his career where he was running on all cylinders and somehow co-wrote Blue Jasmine with himself. While the nominated actresses Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins are no doubt worthy of their praise, the words coming out of their mouths are just as important as the manner in which they were delivered. It’s been a while since I genuinely disliked a film character as much as Jasmine, but it’s a testament to how richly imbued she is on the page, a pillar of class on a foundation of classlessness. And the deft switching between past and present doesn’t hurt either.

I often think David O. Russell scripts are more interesting than the films he inevitably directs, and I am assuming his American Hustle screenplay, co-written with Eric Warren Singer, is quite a treat on the page without all the gaudy wigs, sunglasses and uncomfortable accents. But once you fill the screen with Hollywood’s elite and give them free reign over how to play the parts, then the characters become more important than the real life story being told. While this film may end up sweeping the Oscars for its performances, let’s not forget that one of the most memorable aspects of American Hustle involves an ice fishing story that doesn’t even get fully told during the movie. If something that isn’t on the page is more memorable than what is, I’m not sure this really deserves top honors.

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