The LAMB Devours The Oscars: American Hustle

by Lucien · February 7, 2014 · LAMB Devours the Oscars, Uncategorized · No Comments

Editor’s note: This is part of a 37-part series dissecting the 86th Academy Awards, brought to you by the Large Association of Movie Blogs and its assorted members. Nearly every day leading up to the Oscars, at least one new post written by a different LAMB will be published, each covering a different category  of the Oscars. Also, every Best Picture and Best Director nominee gets its own post. To read the other posts regarding this event, please click here. Thank you, and enjoy!




I don’t personally think that seeing American Hustle getting the love it got by the academy was a huge surprise.  Beyond this being one of my favorite films of the year and my personal pick for many of the categories it got nominated for, how did this film manage to tie with Gravity for the most nominations with ten nominations and give director David O. Russell the honor of being the first director to twice get a lead, supporting actor and lead, supporting actress nomination for a single film?  Well put on your favorite ELO songs and let’s take a look at the specific categories that the film was nominated for and why they got these nominations.

Seeing how the film had a very grandiose tone, it seemed as though the film was going to be a shoe in for at least one of the effects categories and after the film was said and done the nominations that the film did receive in the technical areas were very deserved, especially the nomination the film received for the makeup and hairstyling which had the film beating out The Lone Ranger for a nomination.  But can you imagine The Lone Ranger getting a nomination?  That would be stupid to even consider.

I think the costume design by Michael Wilson (doing the costumes of the upcoming Noah) added a lot to the movie.  They managed to capture the era perfectly yet they still managed to tell a lot about the eccentric nature of the characters and the time period.  The production design by Judy Becker and Heather Loeffler is again great at putting you into the era while still maintaining a sense of over the top style to make you feel as though you are also watching a great drama that was released during that time in history.  The editing was done by Jay Cassidy who also did the editing for the also nominated Silver Linings Playbook.  And it shows, this film maintains the sort of quick, exhilarating energy that the previously mentioned Playbook had during the viewing. 

I thought American Hustle featured for me at least the best screenplay of 2013 even over Spike Jonze’s admittedly still pretty powerful screenplay for Her.  It features cool and innovative characters with hilarious, touching and memorable dialogue and a story that clichéd as it sounds actually had me riveted and guessing from start to finish what was going to happen.  I thought it managed to have brains, heart and courage.  For heart, the film delved into the soul of the main characters and what drove them in life and there interactions with each other.  For brains, the film still managed to contain a strong and intelligent satire of the era and a complex orchestral look at how each character affected the other.  And for courage, the film features some confident, hilarious dialogue that is went into creating some of the best scenes of the year.  One scene in particular contains one of the best cameos of the year and a moment so tense that I couldn’t breathe. 

The cast is the third best of the year only to Prisoners and 12 Years a Slave and I was actually glad to see American Hustle get all the acting attention that it deserved.  Much like in the film, Jeremy Renner was the one who got screwed over the most by the situation.

Christian Bale was fantastic as Irving Rosenfeld in portraying one of the most likable lead characters of the year.  In a year of dark, realistic performances, Christian Bale’s cool, hilarious, confident demeanor was a breath of fresh air.   Also very good was Amy Adams who I felt gave one of the better performances in the film through her usage of subtlety.  Of the main performances, easily she gives the most subtle performance, yet she delivers Russell’s dialogue to perfection and she was possibly the most sympathetic character in the film next to Jeremy Renner.  Bradley Cooper gave the best performance in the film hands down though.  His portrayal of obsessive agent Richie DiMasso was unpredictable and entertaining for every moment he was in the film making him hilarious, at times sympathetic and even a bit scary.  I could’ve admittedly done without the nomination for Jennifer Lawrence.  It’s not that I think she was bad but I found the performance to be the most overrated thing about the movie. Nonetheless, I still think it was a fun and also entertaining performance. 

From the moment it turned out this movie was great it was obvious this was going to get a lot of nominations.  American Hustle is possibly the most well-crafted film of the entire year.  It features a strong cast, amazing designs in the costume and production, sharp editing and a riveting screenplay.  Beyond that, the film is exciting proof that an incredible, large scale Hollywood film can be made today.  The film is proof that you can use the Hollywood system to make a brilliant, masterful film.  And of the films nominated for best picture, I would say that beyond the dark, realism of 12 Years a Slave, the profound beauty of Her and the jaw dropping scale of Gravity…American Hustle is the most deserving choice to give the prestigious award to. 



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