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By DP30 david@thehotbuttonl.com

DP/30: David O. Russell does American Hustle

2 Responses to “DP/30: David O. Russell does American Hustle”

  1. Charles Brown aka Wotan says:

    Mr. Pol
    and. I read your web page and blog as a form of entertainment, including the Oscar predictions. Every 5 years or so I get the urge to send you one of my stream of consciousness commentaries.
    (First aside- I know you earn your living from this, but isn’t it now time for you or someone to comment on the absurdity of Peter O’Toole never winning one. In my view, his performance as T.E. Lawrence is the greatest single performance in the history of the cinema, with the possible exception of Maria Falconetti. Yes, Gregory Peck was not going to lose for To Kill A Mockingbird, but Cliff Robertson over King Henry II!!?)
    My commentary this time is on the Best Supporting Actress race. The critics awards have been split between Lupita Nyong’o and Jennifer Lawrence and Ms. Nyong’o would appear to be the favorite, partly because it looks like 12 Years a Slave may be heading for a sweep.
    However, consider a couple of under the radar dynamics. The Oscar voters, and you, are unreconstructed liberals who believe that the race card should play a role. The quality of the performance is only one part of the dynamic. (Some other time I may send you an email on the schizophrenia of the Oscar voters when it comes to race. In the not recent past they have given Oscars to caucasians over better performances, on a quality scale, by African Americans and have many times given Oscars to African Americans who clearly did not deserve it just because of the race card. You know that is true.)
    This year Ms. Nyong’o is the favorite, but Oprah (the most powerful woman in the world) will receive a nomination. Whether Oprah campaigns for the award or not there are many voters who, when they enter the voting booth or send in their ballot, or whatever, will be compelled by their white liberal guilt to play the race card and vote for an African American. Many of those will vote for Oprah, for many reasons.
    Which leads us to J. Law. She gave her usual balls to the wall great performance in American Hustle and again blew people away. (My second aside. After seeing American Hustle I went home and watched Winter’s Bone for the umpteenth time. How can the person who was in those two movies be the same actress? J. Law is not, as I have heard numerous people say, the Meryl Streep of her generation. She is something more. She is the Robert Duvall of her generation).
    This now leads us to an analogy to the Best Actor race of 1974. Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson the two great young actors of that generation gave incredible performances that year. The Academy voters could not decide between them and thus split their vote between the two of them, allowing Art Carney to slip in and win. (Aside- Al Pacino winning his Oscar for Scent of a Woman and not for one of the Godfathers or Dog Day Afternoon- Jesus!!) The same thing could happen this year. The white liberal guilt-race card vote is split between Ms. Nyong’o and Oprah, potentially allowing J. Law to slip in, not that she would not deserve it.
    The other under the radar dynamic working against that scenario is that J. Law won last year. Many voters will be reticent to give an Oscar two years in a row to a 23 year old.
    Quite interesting- no? Wotan

  2. lee says:

    Great interview!
    I just wish DORussell wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss his earlier work. And sometimes he’s guilty of sticking to his well-tread talking points, but you did a nice job of pushing him to open up.

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DP/30

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“The evening’s curious vanity and irrelevance stay with me, if only because those qualities characterize so many of Hollywood’s best intentions. Social problems present themselves to many of these people in terms of a scenario, in which, once certain key scenes are licked (the confrontation on the courthouse steps, the revelation that the opposition leader has an anti-Semitic past, the presentation of the bill of participants to the President, a Henry Fonda cameo), the plot will proceed inexorably to an upbeat fade. Marlon Brando does not, in a well-plotted motion picture, picket San Quentin in vain: what we are talking about here is faith in a dramatic convention. Things “happen” in motion pictures. There is always a resolution, always a strong cause-effect dramatic line, and to perceive the world in those terms is to assume an ending for every social scenario… If the poor people march on Washington and camp out, there to receive bundles of clothes gathered on the Fox lot by Barbra Streisand, then some good must come of it (the script here has a great many dramatic staples, not the least of them in a sentimental notion of Washington as an open forum, cf. Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington), and doubts have no place in the story.”
~ Joan Didion On Hw’d In 1970

CAMPION: We were driving around the countryside the other day, and we happened to chance upon a lone bull and cow going through some sex rituals. I was so surprised to see how lengthy the whole process was for this bull. He started licking the cow’s shin and worked his way quite laboriously up toward her ass. And every now and again, you thought, “Maybe she’s ready now—he’ll try a quick move.”
TAYLOR-JOHNSON: She wasn’t ready.
CAMPION: She made it clear that that wasn’t the case. We couldn’t even wait; it was like 15 minutes, but it was really adorable. Even when we came back, they were still at it. The foreplay was phenomenal.
TAYLOR-JOHNSON: You don’t think of animal love in that way.
~ Jane Campion And Sam Taylor-Johnson in Interview

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