Will ‘Blue Jasmine’ break into Oscars Best Picture race?

On Thursday, “Blue Jasminereaped a Best Picture bid from the Producers Guild of America. That nomination came at the expense of “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “The Butler.” Over the past four years, this guild has enjoyed an 80% success rate at forecasting the eventual slate of Best Picture nominees at the Oscars. 

Currently, this Woody Allen drama sits in twelfth place on our rankings for Best Picture at the Oscars. But are we underestimating the awards potential of this well-received film, which scored 91 at Rotten Tomtatoes and has made $33 million stateside and another $42 million (and counting) from foreign shores?

Remember, to be among the Best Picture nominees at the Oscars– which will vary from five to 10 depending on the voting — you need only to have a small but passionate group of supporters. Two years ago, Allen’s last big hit — “Midnight in Paris” — landed a Best Picture bid. It also earned directing and original screenplay nominations for Allen — he won the latter for a record-breaking third time — as well as an Art Direction nod. 

While Allen is unlikely to break into this year’s Best Director race, he is all but certain to earn his 16th Original Screenplay nomination, extending his record in that race; he picked up his 21st WGA nomination on Friday. And, unlike “Midnight in Paris,” this picture has a sure-fire acting contender in Cate Blanchett who is the clear frontrunner for Best Actress

Her performance as a wealthy society matron whose life falls apart when the money runs out may well resonate with those academy voters who spend too much time obsessing about their status and position in Hollywood.

Besides Blanchett, the cast include current Golden Globe nominee Sally Hawkins, all-time SAG champ Alec Baldwin, two-time Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale and Oscar contender Peter Sarsgaard. While it was somewhat surprising that “Blue Jasmine” did not reap an Ensemble bid at the SAG Awards, that category is limited to five films.

And, as one of those SAG nominees — “The Butler” — was snubbed at both the PGA and WGA, support for that picture may not be as broad as first thought. Indeed, it has just dropped out of our top 10 Best Picture contenders, replaced by “Dallas Buyers Club,” which got that SAG nom as well as ones from the PGA and WGA. 

Might “Blue Jasmine” replace another of our current top 10 when Oscar nominations are announced on Jan. 18? 

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