When it comes to awards-season stumping, you won’t catch Woody Allen making the rounds of the guild and Academy screening circuit, showing up at cocktail receptions in his honor, or otherwise doing much of anything to remind people that, yes, he made a movie this year they might want to remember when filling out their ballots.
And who can blame him? Even without campaigning for himself — or even showing up for the ceremony when he’s nominated — Allen has racked up a whopping 23 Oscar nominations as actor, writer and director since 1978 (the first year he was honored, for “Annie Hall”), with four wins (most recently for the screenplay of “Midnight in Paris”) to his credit. Which is to say nothing of the 14 actors Allen has directed to Oscar-nominated or –winning performances, including Dianne Wiest, who won supporting actress Oscars for both “Hannah and Her Sisters” and “Bullets Over Broadway.”
So it was something of a rare occasion when Allen showed up at his Park Ave. office on a recent afternoon to talk to this writer and two other critics — Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman and Time Out New York’s Joshua Rothkopf — about “Blue Jasmine,” which despite its early summer release date has blossomed into another of Allen’s awards-season thoroughbred. And if much of that buzz has surrounded Cate Blanchett’s high-wire performance as a mentally and emotionally unstable New York socialite fallen from her one-percent perch, Allen too has earned some of the best reviews of his career for this deft comic melodrama that effortlessly captures the social and economic spirit of the times. (Writing in The New Republic, the critic David Thomson went so far as to call “Blue Jasmine” the best film Allen has ever made.)
While Allen was quick to point out that, for him, “Blue Jasmine” is old news — he’s already completed work on his 44th feature, “Magic in the Moonlight,” which he shot this summer in the south of France — he nevertheless indulged his trio of journalist suitors in a wide-ranging discussion of “Blue Jasmine” and other facets of his remarkable career during a leisurely 90-minute chat that flowed easily from one topic to the next, and culminated with the Woodman offering us all a peek at his extensive vinyl collection, neatly camouflaged behind some movable wall panels in the green-velvet screening room that has served as his base of operations for the last 35 years.
The highlights of that conversation follow: