First Look at American Hustle

680x478-3

Last night was the first screening of American Hustle. The film is under a review embargo so I can’t really “review” it but I can give some brief notes. First off, Jennifer Lawrence steals this movie, as she steals every movie, playing Christian Bale’s wife. Pity any actress or actor who acts in the same movie as she does. She is a hurricane. If she hadn’t already been discovered by now this movie would launch her into the stratosphere. She has that ability to just pop off the screen naturally. She does that here. And then some. The q&a afterwards had David O. Russell, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, along with the film’s editor, costumer and casting director.

As is usual with David O. Russell movies the performances dig in deeply, explode outwards in unpredictable ways. As Anne Thompson says [MAJOR SPOILER IN THE FIRST SENTENCE OF HER PIECE, BE WARNED], the movie is entertaining enough that Oscar talk seems beside the point, though I agree with her that Jennifer Lawrence’s nod is a slam dunk. I wonder if Amy Adams’ performance — which is sharp and powerful – can bump the locked five in Best Actress. I will be seeing August: Osage County tonight but the only spot that seems to have any wiggle room at all is Meryl Streep’s.

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County/Amy Adams, American Hustle

Oscar season is a hard slog. No film ever benefits from being predicted to win Best Picture before it’s been seen. And so it will go with American Hustle. It will have to be predictably pulled down from its pedestal and then slowly lifted back up as people forgive it for not being the movie they wanted it to be. The one thing I can say about it is that it’s probably my favorite Russell film since Flirting with Disaster. Not saying it’s what people expect it to be but for me personally it fell that way. Also, the plot is dense and complex — not something easily digested in one sitting. You know those pesky Oscar voters — they like things neat and tidy. On the other hand, the performances are slam dunks across the board. Actors love actors so I would be willing to bet that they would revel in this.

But more later.

52 Comments on this Post

  1. I can’t wait. Cooper looks like a real bastard. How do you feel about his odds at a nom/win?

  2. Jesus Alonso

    This has SAG Ensemble win written already. Adams, Lawrence, Bale, Cooper and Renner. I wonder how can they resist.

    … but Osange County has another HELL of an ensemble… and 12 Years a Slave. I think these 3 films have probably locked up a nom there, with Hustle probably in the lead for the win, with “Slave” as its more powerful competitor.

    Still “12 Years a Slave” is going to do, probably, a clean up of the Awards till Oscar night.

  3. Bryce Forestieri

    What I gather is that the response was mostly positive, but not many “loved” it. Some have David O. Russell not making it anymore in Best Director; maybe not even the script getting a nod. The response to Amy Adams’ performance is certainly mixed –some saying she was good, but her part underwritten while others saying she was downright flat, sleepwalking, even the weak link. The only near-unanimous thing is how great Jennifer Lawrence is. So I’m guessing she’s the only lock from this movie for Supporting Actress. Out of the males, Bradley Cooper is the standout, apparently. This is just one screening so who’s to say. Is it too soon to conclude that Christian Bale will not factor in the race from either this or OUT OF THE FURNACE? Seems that’s the case.

    In other news it looks like WOLF’s running time is 2hr59m making it Scorsese’s longest. People who don’t like long movie should probably avoid being inconvenienced and seat this one out.

  4. Antoinette

    All these format changes are making me loopy.

    Anyhoo, why would Anne Thompson put a spoiler? That’s not nice. It sounds like you’re saying the trailers are misleading which isn’t good because I love the trailers. Anyway, we shall see.

  5. “Pity any actress or actor who acts in the same movie as she does. She is a hurricane.” *faceplam*

  6. Jesus, Do we really have to put up with more blanket coverage of Jennifer Lawrence all through Oscar season? I do not get the fuss over her acting

  7. Paddy Mulholland

    Heard about The Wolf of Wall Street now being Scorsese’s longest, though he’s made plenty of other long films and I think the appeal of the material, the book, the trailers, Marty and Leo, plus likely Oscar buzz, will drive pretty high interest among general audiences.

    Having seen JLaw knock it clear out of the park in Catching Fire (her best work to date, imo, though ofc I haven’t yet seen American Hustle), I’m all for another nomination for Jennifer, and potentially even another statuette. She sure didn’t deserve one for Silver Linings Playbook, but she’s even more surely a very talented actor.

  8. @J But Sasha doesn’t even like her. lol

    Anyway, is this the Q&A you’re going to? We call all watch on the internet to see if you ask any good questions. http://weinsteinco.tumblr.com/post/67809010294/meryl-streep-joins-john-wells-and-tracy-letts-with

  9. So the SLP duo is best in show.

  10. “Jennifer Lawrence steals this movie, as she steals every movie”

    Nope. John Hawkes in Winter’s Bone. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in X-Men: First Class.

  11. I read the reactions and I think unless it exceeds the ‘right now’ expectations with critics (80+ MC) AND also Box Office-wise (100M+…doable), it does feel like at best a filler BP nominee, one acting nod (Lawrence) and maybe a few below the line nominations.

    For what it’s worth, when I read Pete Hammond’s extremely enthusiastic report on the film’s initial reception, my first thought was Les Misérables. Another big, esteemed ensemble full of actors playing big, flashy parts, held until the last minute, starting screenings with apparently ‘rapturous’ response…and then it barely made it in BP and got a lukewarm (at best) critical reception (63 MC).

    P.S. Amy Adams pretty much needed the kind of unanimous praise Lawrence got to have a shot at knocking anyone out of theconsensus quintet (Blanchett, Bullock, Dench, Thompson, Streep), so now – arguably prematurely – I’m crossing her off my predictions but now more than ever I stick to my initial prediction that she will be moved to supporting where she may even make the cut along Lawrence. The Academy is comfortable nominating her in that category (four times in eight years) and it’s not like internal competition could be a barrier she couldn’t overcome (Doubt, The Fighter).

  12. Interesting. There are some bits(“Don’t tell him that….but yes”) that got a good laugh out of me, but that one individual clip with her and Bale wasn’t as impressive. She looks a tad too young for the role and her accent seems off, but most seem to say she’s really good and I think if anything she could very well get a supporting nod. As much as I love Bale, I think Cooper looks like a real standout. Despite my hatred for SLP, I still think Russell is a talented filmmaker and I’m looking forward to this, but I wonder if Russell needed more time between films.

  13. Bryce Forestieri

    Nope. John Hawkes in Winter’s Bone. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in X-Men: First Class.

    Ehh kind of agree. Jennifer Lawrence was perfect and brave, but yeah, John Hawkes’ every line was delicious; all eyes on Hawkes. And Fassbender and McAvoy didn’t really steal anything –they were the leads and they delivered, the chemistry was undeniable. If someone stole anything in FIRST CLASS it was Nicholas Hoult.

  14. Come on, Antoinette, you’ve been here long enough to know that Sasha LIKES Jennifer Lawrence. She valiantly championed her in the Winter’s Bone year long before most of her supporters caught on AND praised her work in The Hunger Games. It’s just she didn’t think she deserved the lead Oscar last year. Just because she considered other contenders more worthy, doesn’t automatically mean she disliked Jennifer Lawrence. It was obvious she didn’t…and based on this piece, it is obvious she still doesn’t.

  15. Jennifer Lawrence is a shoe-in for SA. Adams, however, is probably gonna get shut out of the race entirely this year (which is probably for the best for her) due to a) confusion as to which category she belongs to and b) a good but not strong enough performance to rival the consensus. The same may happen to Julia Roberts, I’m afraid.

  16. Interesting. I can’t wait for this movie but maybe it’s not the award-worthy movie we thought. I still think it gets Best Pic nom, but if O. Russell isn’t nominated for director, I think the Coens are that much more solid. Just my opinion. :)

  17. OT : THR Actress Roundtable with Amy Adams, Emma Thompson, Julia Roberts, Octavia Spencer and Lupita Nyong’o.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/roundtable-oprah-amy-adams-4-659167

  18. + Oprah

  19. but the only spot that seems to have any wiggle room at all is Meryl Streep’s.

    Why not Sandra Bullock’s too? Her performance consisted mostly of tumbling around and panting. And besides, doesn’t Amy Adams have a movie or two coming out next year (playing Janis Joplin)? Let her get nominated for that instead.

  20. ObsidianBlack

    Dench would get bumped for Adams. Have you seen Philomena? Not a great performance from Dench, not enough to compete against Blanchett, Streep, Bullock and Thompson.

  21. Bryce, one of Hawkes’s lines from Winter’s Bone will forever stay with me. “Is this gonna be our time?”

  22. Apparently…according to twitter….American Hustle just KILLED an Academy screening…..

  23. Yeah Paddy, Jennifer Lawrence is terrific in Catching Fire. In another world, she absolutely should be nominated for Lead Actress. For me it’s among the best of the year alongside Blanchett and Exarchopolus. No one can play that role better than her. It looks like she will be nominated for ‘American Hustle’ in a scene stealing role and I think she milked every part of it. A second win is possible if a split between Nyong’o, Winfrey and maybe Squibb happens. It looks like it’s one of those performances that will earn her solid and vocal group of supporters that a split between votes is a real possibility. Also, a report says that she is ‘powerful’ in ‘Serena’.

    She’s 23 and will absolutely be a 3 time academy award nominee with 1 win. Next year, she could go with her 4th nomination and 3rd for Lead actress in ‘Serena’ because it could be going in to festivals. And next year is looking like a less crowded year for Actress. BTW, she’s good in Silver Linings Playbook but Riva, Weisz and Helen Hunt own thatbyear for me.

  24. Sasha Stone, Jennifer Lawrence is extremely overrated. She was out-acted by everyone in Winter’s Bone , wooden and weak in The X-Men : First Class , expressionless and stiff in these The Hunger Games flicks, and flatly delivered and yelled all her lines in Silver Linings Playbook ( and in most of her other films ) . You mentioned she memories her lines until she gets to the set, that is one of the reasons why she has problems delivering her lines. I saw some clips from American Hustle , and Lawrence’s accent sounds fake and forced . I agree with J. , I don’t get the big fuss about Jennifer.

    Bd74 , I do agree about your comment on Sandra Bullock , but Streep doesn’t need another Oscar nomination .

  25. I agree with you 90% Wendy. Jennifer Lawrence was SO overrated in the equally overrated Silver Linings Playbook, but she showed real acting muscle in Winter’s Bone.

  26. filmboymichael

    “but the only spot that seems to have any wiggle room at all is Meryl Streep’s.”

    No way – nuh uh – not gonna happen. Regardless of the problems of the film as a whole. Meryl’s performance is big, towering and unforgettable…..it’s in.

  27. Robert A.

    “Why not Sandra Bullock’s too? Her performance consisted mostly of tumbling around and panting.”

    I’m not the biggest fan of Gravity, actually (enjoyed it, didn’t love it), but Bullock is going to get nominated, if for no other reason than the general momentum for Gravity will pull her on.

    – Blanchett will be nominated for giving such a kickass performance.

    – Bullock will be nominated for giving a “career best” performance in a mammoth movie and for, well, being Sandy! (+1 for EW Entertainer of the Year cover.)

    – Thompson will most likely get nominated as part of Disney’s big SMB push. Plus accent, plus Mary Poppins, plus Emma-ness.

    – Dench and/or Streep will be nominated for being Harvey’s Girls. You know he’s going to get one of them nominated, and very possibly both.

    The only real question mark in this category, at this point, is if someone like Adele Exarchopolus can get enough #1 votes to topple one of Harvey’s Girls out of the lineup. I agree with Sasha that Streep is probably the most vulnerable here, but for someone like Exarchopolus to take her place, she’ll probably need some high-profile critical wins. I’m ready for next week to get here so we can get this season officially underway!

  28. Yeah. Sandra will get nominated because they want people to watch the show. I haven’t seen most of the supposed nominees this year but it looks like there are enough great performances from lead actresses that in an honest system would have her dangling off the edge right now. But because of who she is and how popular the film is I’m afraid she’s not going anywhere, even if there were 5 performances that everyone agreed were better than hers.

    I’m actually beginning to think that Clooney completely controls the Oscars and that anyone/anything he wants to win will. That’s what happened last year anyway.

  29. Jake Bart

    I think Meryl’s locked. 1. Great role. 2. She’s Meryl. Dench, on the other hand, feels vulnerable to me. Seems like a lot of smoke, but little fire.

  30. Adams isn’t bumping anybody. Her performance is the weakest in the film by far, despite having a great role. Agree Jennifer is the MVP but also really liked Bradley. But aside from them, not sure this is an Oscar movie. And that’s not a bad thing, but I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed.

  31. No way – nuh uh – not gonna happen. Regardless of the problems of the film as a whole. Meryl’s performance is big, towering and unforgettable…..it’s in.

    LMAO. ‘It’s in’. What nonsense. Who cares what your opinion on her performance is, that has feck all to do with her shot at getting an Oscar nomination! I’m so fucking sick of people declaring anything or anybody a ‘lock’ or ‘in’ or whatever. Y’all are forgetting the old motto of AD: Nobody knows anything.

    Dench, on the other hand, feels vulnerable to me. Seems like a lot of smoke, but little fire.

    The film, and her role and performance = Oscar catnip. Solid early box office, TIFF runner-up award, lots of buzz. She’s currently a surer bet than Meryl Streep, if only for the fact that Streep might suffer from category confusion.

  32. This feels “lesser” or more “flawed” or not as mainstreamy as either The Fighter or SLP. I wonder if that will affect its chances in several categories, including Best Picture. But it sure does look like JLaw has a shot in Supporting what with all the ink. I just cant get my head around it because those clips of her were pretty bad, to me.

  33. I’ve loved, loved, loved JLaw’s work in films (especially “Winter’s Bone”). I was really disappointed, though, when she hosted SNL.

    In the trailers for “American Hustle,” I seemed to hear an accent similar to ScarJo’s in “Don Jon.” It makes me wonder if ScarJo is losing roles to JLaw, the newer IT girl.
    Also: Is Amy Adams character British? If so, I think that would be a new challenge for her. Is she up to it?

  34. Bryce Forestieri

    Kane,

    Best part of that. Exactly that one. Oh and when some lady sings.

  35. JLaw has ten times the appeal of ScarJo. Good to see SS supporting the former. It felt like she and silver linings were becoming the go-to podcast whipping boy.

  36. Jerry Grant

    Sounds like we have a frontrunner for Supporting Actress. And yes, she can win Oscars back-to-back.

  37. Why is Dench an assumed nomination? Because she’s Judi Dench? I’ve heard nothing about that movie, because everyone would rather watch something that isn’t about a grandma sulking about the son given up for adoption. Sounds horrid.

  38. Ugh. l wish people could keep a little decorum.

    Pretty much seems like Blanchett’s name has already been engraved.

  39. Why is Amy Adams wearing Beyonce’s “One Night Only” outfit from Dreamgirls?

  40. Paddy Mulholland

    I’ve heard nothing about that movie, because everyone would rather watch something that isn’t about a grandma sulking about the son given up for adoption. Sounds horrid.

    So wait, you’ve heard nothing about the movie, yet you claim to know what it’s about? Maybe the fact that you think it ‘sounds horrid’ is because you’ve heard nothing about it, and have thus missed the good reviews and TIFF People’s Choice runner-up award it has received. Also, if indeed you did know anything about the plot (as you appear to think you do), you’d know that it’s not about anybody sulking over anything, and that Philomena did not give her son up for adoption, he was stolen from her.

  41. Paddy, even Sasha will declare something as a “lock”. No one ever said our opinion will “make it so.” To quote Norm MacDonald, “Through sheer tyranny of will” does not make an Oscar nod possible and I think people are smart enough to know the difference between opinion and fact.

  42. filmboymichael

    She’s currently a surer bet than Meryl Streep, if only for the fact that Streep might suffer from category confusion.

    What category confusion??? The movie revolves around her. What I saw at TIFF was a meh movie with a huge showcase performance by Streep. If she hadn’t won for The Iron Lady, we wouldn’t be talking much about anyone else’s performance this year.

  43. Jerry, sorry but Jennifer Lawrence isn’t going to ever be the frontrunner for supporting actress. In no way I think she will beat Lupita for 12 Years a Slave or Oprah for The Butler. I for one think Lupita gave one of the greatest performances I have seen in years. I hope she wins.

    I like Jennifer Lawrence a lot but the fan and media worship is really off putting. She is a good actress but not a revelation.

  44. @Jonny – I agree with all your comments on J. Lawrence. She is a talented but overrated actress. I think Nyongo would have the upper hand in SA whatever the competition is.

  45. Stephen Holt

    I can’t see ANYone beating Lupita Nyong’O. If there is any doubt about 12YAS in the major categories, and I don’t think there is. The Supporting categories are where it will for surely score.

  46. Paddy Mulholland

    If she hadn’t won for The Iron Lady, we wouldn’t be talking much about anyone else’s performance this year.

    Why are people around here so insistent on ridiculous hyperbole?!

    I can’t see ANYone beating Lupita Nyong’O.

    Even more! Thinking anyone, no matter how great their performance, how strong the buzz, how brilliant the film, how high their chances might seem, is this sure to win is just ludicrous! And in November!

  47. After seeing the trailer for this before Hunger Games… I am cringing at how Lawrence and Renner will hold up against Bale, Adams and even Cooper. Lawrence is adequate in Hunger Games and as a generally likable human; and Renner is godawful 90% of the time.

  48. filmboymichael

    Hey Paddy, calm down, dude. People come to this site to comment, debate but mostly have fun – if you don’t know what that word means, I encourage you to look it up.

    Most people who come to this site like to discuss odds, locks, and opinions.

    With that in mind, having seen Meryl’s performance in Toronto – I FEEL like she is locked in place. Why does that bother you so much?

    I’ve heard caffeine enemas are good for the mood – maybe look into that too.

    ;-)

  49. I’m a Jen fan 100%, but all these gushing reviews are really making me take a step back from her. She’s just everywhere and even though she’s a supporting character in this one, she’s ALL people talk about. I think it’s kind of disrespectful to her cast mates, in every movie, and what you just said only strengthens my belief.

  50. Paddy Mulholland

    fun – if you don’t know what that word means, I encourage you to look it up.

    You think I’m actually outraged? You can’t tell that I could barely give a shit? That I just think that declaring anyone or anything a lock at any stage is silly?

    Awk well nice of you to give me a wee tip there, that means ever so much. I wouldn’t encourage you to look up the meaning to the word ‘supercilious’, because I wouldn’t have the sheer superciliousness to think that my encouragement would mean that much to you.

  51. I like Jennifer Lawrence a lot but the fan and media worship is really off putting. She is a good actress but not a revelation.

    No. She’s a revolution. *does the District 12 salute*

  52. filmboymichael

    oh please….truce.

Leave a Comment

Warning: Do not abuse your right to comment here. You will be deleted.