Movie: American Hustle
What it’s up for: Best Actor, Best Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Best Picture, Costume Design, Directing, Film Editing, Production Design, Writing (Original Screenplay)
I feel like my opinions don’t matter for this particular movie. Everyone has already made up their minds. Here are my two cents anyway.
American Hustle tells the tale of an event that happened in the late 70s known as “Abscam“. As they cleverly mention at the beginning of the film, “Some of this actually happened”. What follows is an active jaunt through scams, lies, and a lot of anti-heroes.
There’s basically no likable characters in the entire movie. Yet somehow, you want to keep watching to make sure everything turns out ok…whatever “ok” means. Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence have all been nominated for their roles in the film. Christian Bale is the leading actor as the character of Irving Rosenfeld, con man extraordinaire. His story begins with a shot of his pot belly and intricate comb-over and the character just develops from there. He meets Sydney Prosser (aka Amy Adams) who is just as clever as he is and helps him develop his little scams into a thriving business, while falling in love with him, of course. Meanwhile, Irving has a wife – Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) who is still with Irving, despite their problems, because no one in her family has ever gotten a divorce. Bradley Cooper enters as the FBI detective Richie DiMaso who busts Irving and Sydney for one of their scams. He cuts them a deal where they will help him catch some bigger fish in exchange for lighter charges.
The surprise visitor of this film is Robert DeNiro who plays a mob boss. This seems to be the year for random actors to surprise me by showing up in films. (The first being Stephen Fry in Smaug.)
So, Christian Bale was dynamic. You could barely tell it was him. His mannerisms, way of speaking, and body language were perfect from beginning to end. Amy Adams always sounds like a cartoon character, for some reason. She had some bad audio mixing making things worse for her in the beginning of the movie. Amy Adams is a good actress but I don’t know if this role deserved a nomination. She didn’t convince me. It seemed like most of her job in the movie was to be as naked as possible without actually being naked. I think there must have been a clause in her contract that said she must show at least 75% of her boobs throughout at least 75% of the movie. Bradley Cooper did a great job with his character. You think you understand Richie from the get-go, but slowly and subtly Cooper reveals more of his character as the movie progresses. I’m totally biased when it comes to Jennifer Lawrence. She’s fantastic in everything. She was great comic relief in this film and made you feel for her. Her character might be the least corrupt in the whole movie, which isn’t saying much, but it makes her very important in relation to the other characters.
Their roles were strengthened by a complex screenplay which used flashbacks and multiple perspectives to show what was going on. The script was good, I guess, but I had trouble following what was going on at times. However, everything was arranged in an interesting, non-linear way that helped keep your interest. The film editing definitely worked beautifully with the screenplay’s method. It requires good editing for that kind of complexity to work. The costume design and production design were fabulous and very detailed. Do wigs fall under costume design or hairstyling/makeup? There were a lot of wigs.
With so many things going on – including a million actors doing a million different things – David O. Russell did a fantastic job as director. There was so much that he needed to do as the director that it’s hard to think that he would lose to Alfonso Cuaron who was basically directing one actor and a bunch of computer graphics. (Don’t get me wrong, I love Alfonso. He’s a creative genius.)
Overall, it was good, but so far not one of my favorites.
Best Picture – I wouldn’t pick it but it probably has a good chance.
Best Actor – I think Christian Bale has a good chance, especially since Tom Hanks isn’t in the running.
Best Actress – Doubtful. I may even go so far as to say improbable.
Best Supporting Actor – Not sure yet.
Best Supporting Actress – Probably not but I need to finish the rest of the movies in this category.
Director – Possible…dare I say, probable?
Original Screenplay – Possible but I don’t think so.
Costume Design – Possible
Film Editing – Doubtful
Production Design – Doubtful