House Logo
Explore categories +

David O. Russell (#110 of 29)

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Picture

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Picture
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Picture

Like anyone who’s been covering what’s become, as the party line goes, “the closest Best Picture race in recent memory,” I’ve gone through many mental rewrites of this top-prize breakdown. The one I clung to the longest involved the word “bullshit.” It took shape, of course, after American Hustle, formerly known as American Bullshit, strutted through steam clouds of victory on nomination morning, collecting 10 nods before also claiming the SAG award for Best Ensemble (not to be confused with any costume-design kudos the film enjoyed throughout the season). Was this awfully great, unrepentantly tacky crime caper really the new frontrunner? If so, then the filmic narrative peddled by pop-culture journos since early 2013—that the year’s wealth of black-centric cinema was bound for unprecedented Oscar glory, capped off with a crown for 12 Years a Slave, the most confronting and “important” flick of the bunch—would have to be thrown out. What’s more, Steve McQueen’s insta-contender, a historical indictment many perceive as being as deep as young Patsey’s (Lupita Nyong’o) abyss of despair, would be overtaken by an epic of unadulterated shallowness. American Hustle’s win would insist, with all the fuck-it-all thump of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” that the notion of Oscar wins signifying some sort of sociopolitical responsibility is, indeed, bullshit.

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Director

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Director
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Director

It’s a good thing the Best Director category didn’t go the way of Best Picture to accommodate more nominees, because this year’s campaign has only ever been a three-man race even in its most competitive stages. The two non-contenders are Alexander Payne (Nebraska) and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street), who’ve each enjoyed a nearly spotless recent track record for landing in the category. Payne has received nods for his last three films, while five of Scorsese’s last six non-documentary films have earned the legendary director an aisle seat at the ceremony. But with only one win between the two filmmakers (Scorsese’s The Departed) in that stretch, their nominations likely speak more to the compulsory voting habits and pre-digested tastes of Academy voters than to the merits of either Nebraska or The Wolf of Wall Street. And though David O. Russell has been on a nomination hot streak of late, with American Hustle capping a trio of Best Director nominations over the last four years for the filmmaker, his chances, which seemed much higher back when his crime caper stormed onto the scene last December, have since fizzled along with the film.

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay

To shove the elephant out of the room right off the bat, two actually relevant things are working against Woody Allen’s chances for a win here, despite having extended his record for most nominations ever in this category. First, the justifiable but still faintly ludicrous categorization of Blue Jasmine as an original screenplay despite its obvious debt to A Streetcar Named Desire. Second, the tangible evidence recently pointed out by Mark Harris that suggests the Academy’s expansion of the Best Picture lineup has consequently made the screenwriting category more adjuvant to the main race than ever before. In other words, with Blue Jasmine the only nominee here not also competing for the top prize, voters were already likely to leave Allen babbling on a park bench while whoever’s sitting next to him thumbs through the editorial page of The New York Times.

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actress

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actress
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actress

As was recently reported by the hive of Oscarologists over at Gold Derby, American Hustle has history on its side when it comes to the acting races, as only two of the 14 films to see their stars nominated in all four categories have walked away without a single acting Oscar (those two, for the record, were 1936’s My Man Godfrey and 1950’s Sunset Boulevard). Like Wings’ “Live and Let Die,” which her drained-out desperate housewife, Rosalyn, blasts in her living room while rocking dishwashing gloves, that bit of Gold Derby trivia should be music to the ears of Jennifer Lawrence, who, of American Hustle’s quartet of contenders, has the strongest shot of clinching a statuette on March 2. The recipient of the Golden Globe and a handful of critics’ prizes, Lawrence is still riding high on a wave of success that ushered her to last year’s Oscar podium, where she claimed Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook, another David O. Russell dramedy to score across-the-board acting bids.

Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Director

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Director
Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Director

The most pleasant surprise of this awards season has been the widespread embrace of Her, a film that seemed a bit like a bland “Oscar movie” in its marketing, didn’t feel like one at all amid the actual experience of watching it, then wound up something of a guild darling with a heap of critical support. Both the Producers Guild and the Writers Guild have shown their love for this swoony, very-near-future heartbreaker, and it’s wildly admired by everyone from the National Board of Review to the Hollywood Foreign Press, who tossed it a Best Screenplay trophy at Sunday’s Golden Globes. But what of its adorably odd director, Spike Jonze? Having been snubbed by the Directors Guild, whose members nominated Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity), Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), David O. Russell (American Hustle), and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street), can Jonze still sneak into Oscar’s final five? He’s done it once before, with 1999’s Being John Malkovich, and if he is indeed this category’s spoiler, he has the benefit of statistics behind him: Director nods from the DGA and Oscar have only matched up three times in the last 15 years, thanks to overlapping, but differing, voting bodies that number more than 10,000 and fewer than 400, respectively. A work of personal, consummate vision, Her may be the film whose maker shakes up this race come Thursday morning.

Oscar Prospects American Hustle, David O. Russell’s Thick Slice of Voter-Friendly Trash

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar Prospects: American Hustle, David O. Russell’s Thick Slice of Voter-Friendly Trash
Oscar Prospects: American Hustle, David O. Russell’s Thick Slice of Voter-Friendly Trash

I think the scene that finally secured American Hustle a place on my Top 10 list was the one in which conman Irving’s (Christian Bale) wife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), goes on and on about her fingernail topcoat at a dinner. Chatting up Dolly (Elizabeth Röhm), the wife of soon-to-be-swindled Camden mayor Carmine (Jeremy Renner), Rosalyn raves about the topcoat’s contradictory virtues, saying it’s “sweet and sour, rotten and delicious—like flowers, but with garbage.” She “can’t get enough of it.” To watch this scene is to witness David O. Russell not only reclaim his former, gonzo glory, but wholeheartedly own the superficial tackiness of his vision. Sure, this is a film about countless layers of fakery, and the notion of a topcoat—a mask—being both vile and alluring has definite thematic implications. But American Hustle, marvelously, isn’t hung up on such sobering ideas. The topcoat speech is more a megaphone announcement of tone, and of a director finally ditching the safety net of Oscar pandering, which he used to entrance voters with the falsely offbeat The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook. And still, he’s going to net those votes nonetheless, as there’s just enough delicious here to make the rotten palatable for traditionalists.

Oscar Prospects Blue Jasmine, Starring a Woman on the Verge of a Best Actress Win

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar Prospects: Blue Jasmine, Starring a Woman on the Verge of a Best Actress Win
Oscar Prospects: Blue Jasmine, Starring a Woman on the Verge of a Best Actress Win

At the moment, aside from Oprah’s inevitable Supporting Actress bid for her work in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, the only sure thing in the 2013 Oscar race is a Best Actress nod for Blue Jasmine’s Cate Blanchett. Some pundits have curbed their enthusiasm for Blanchett’s recognition, saying it’s too soon to make such definitive calls, but to hell with all that. Praise doesn’t get much more unanimous than what’s been showered on the Aussie diva, a bona fide Oscar favorite whose turn as an unraveling princess brings out the best of her supreme talents (naturally, she’s also the current frontrunner to win). The rare Woody Allen film that’s sold as an ensemble piece but is in fact a star vehicle, Blue Jasmine essentially acts as its own Best Actress campaign, with Blanchett appearing in virtually every scene and growing more deliciously unhinged as each minute passes. The performance is monstrous in a number of ways, from the actress’s bare portrayal of Jasmine’s myriad shortcomings to the emotional demands that basically run the gamut of human feeling. This would all be enough to land Blanchett a slot, but here’s what will clinch it: the post-recession relevance Blanchett’s peers will find “important,” and the ways in which they’ll respond to Jasmine’s “I lost everything” nightmare. I mean, we all know this movie scared the Goop out of Gwyneth Paltrow.