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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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“Any time a movie causes a country to threaten nuclear retaliation, the higher-ups wanna get in a room with you… In terms of getting the word out about the movie, it’s not bad. If they actually make good on it, it would be bad for the world—but luckily that doesn’t seem like their style… We’ll make a movie that maybe for two seconds will make some 18-year-old think about North Korea in a way he never would have otherwise. Or who knows? We were told one of the reasons they’re so against the movie is that they’re afraid it’ll actually get into North Korea. They do have bootlegs and stuff. Maybe the tapes will make their way to North Korea and cause a fucking revolution. At best, it will cause a country to be free, and at worst, it will cause a nuclear war. Big margin with this movie.”
~ Seth Rogen In Rolling Stone 1224

“Yes, good movies sprout up, inevitably, in the cracks and seams between the tectonic plates on which all of these franchises stay balanced, and we are reassured of their hardiness. But we don’t see what we don’t see; we don’t see the effort, or the cost of the effort, or the movies of which we’re deprived because of the cost of the effort. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice may have come from a studio, but it still required a substantial chunk of outside financing, and at $35 million, it’s not even that expensive. No studio could find the $8.5 million it cost Dan Gilroy to make Nightcrawler. Birdman cost a mere $18 million and still had to scrape that together at the last minute. Imagine American movie culture for the last few years without Her or Foxcatcher or American Hustle or The Master or Zero Dark Thirty and it suddenly looks markedly more frail—and those movies exist only because of the fairy godmothership of independent producer Megan Ellison. The grace of billionaires is not a great business model on which to hang the hopes of an art form.”
~ Mark Harris On The State Of The Movies