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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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“When the writing is flowing, I am powerful and cheerful and can’t imagine it ever being otherwise. And when the writing becomes blocked, I am crestfallen and palsied, and there, too, I can’t imagine it ever being otherwise. In either case, my visions of the future are at all times characterized by a spurious permanence.”
~ Oliver Sacks To Lawrence Wechsler

“By literature, I mean literature in the normative sense, the sense in which literature incarnates and defends high standards. By society, I mean society in the normative sense, too—which suggests that a great writer of fiction, by writing truthfully about the society in which she or he lives, cannot help but evoke (if only by their absence) the better standards of justice and of truthfulness that we have the right (some would say the duty) to militate for in the necessarily imperfect societies in which we live. Obviously, I think of the writer of novels and stories and plays as a moral agent. This doesn’t entail moralizing in any direct or crude sense. Serious fiction writers think about moral problems practically. They tell stories. They narrate. They evoke our common humanity in narratives with which we can identify, even though the lives may be remote from our own. They stimulate our imagination. The stories they tell enlarge and complicate—and, therefore, improve—our sympathies. They educate our capacity for moral judgment.”
~ Susan Sontag

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