Tag Archive: American Hustle


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The Academy Awards are this Sunday night and they are bound to bring their share of joys and disappointments. To combat the disappointment that I feel when my favorites don’t win, I decided to hand out my own awards to the films that I believe are most worthy. Here you will find my favorites of 2013 in categories ranging from Best Actor to Best Original Song. Agree with my choices? What categories would you do differently? Let me know in the comments below!

If you are interested in viewing my top ten films of 2013, click here

 

Best Director

Ethan Coen & Joel Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis

Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity

Abdellatif Kechiche – Blue is the Warmest Color

Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave

Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

 

Best Actor

Bruce Dern – Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio- The Wolf of Wall Street

Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave

Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips

Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale Station

 

Best Actress (TIE)

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock – Gravity

Adèle Exarchopoulos – Blue is the Warmest Color

Greta Gerwig – Frances Ha

Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks

 

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips

Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave

James Franco – Spring Breakers

Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street

Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

 

Best Supporting Actress

Scarlett Johansson – Her

Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle

Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave

Léa Seydoux – Blue is the Warmest Color

Octavia Spencer – Fruitvale Station

 

Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle – David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer

Blue Jasmine – Woody Allen

Her – Spike Jonze

Inside Llewyn Davis – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Nebraska – Bob Nelson

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave – John Ridley

Before Midnight – Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy

Blue is the Warmest Color – Abdellatif Kechiche

Captain Phillips – Billy Ray

The Wolf of Wall Street – Terence Winter

 

Best Cinematography

Gravity

12 Years a Slave

Prisoners

Spring Breakers

Inside Llewyn Davis

 

Best Art Direction

12 Years a Slave

Gravity

The Great Gatsby

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Her

 

Best Visual Effects

Star Trek Into Darkness

Elysium

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Pacific Rim

Gravity

 

Best Sound

Gravity

All is Lost

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Captain Phillips

12 Years a Slave

 

Best Original Score

Gravity

12 Years a Slave

Frozen

Saving Mr. Banks

Her

 

Best Original Song

Atlas – Hunger Games

I see Fire – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Let it Go – Frozen

Ordinary Love – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Please Mr. Kennedy – Inside Llewyn Davis

 

Best Animated Film

Despicable Me 2

Frozen

Monsters University

 

Best Editing

12 Years a Slave

Captain Phillips

Gravity

Inside Llewyn Davis

Prisoners

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My 2014 Golden Globe Predictions

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The 71st Golden Globe awards are held this Sunday, so it is only appropriate that I post some hopes and predictions. Here I will tell you who I predict will win, who I think should win and who was snubbed from a nomination. While I hope that these predictions will be accurate, keep in mind that anything can happen on awards night.

Best Drama

12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Philomena
Rush

Who Will Win: 12 Years a Slave

Who Should Win: 12 Years a Slave

Who Got Snubbed: Prisoners

Steve McQueen’s brutal treatment of slavery in the American South still remains the award season frontrunner. It’s a shame that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association overlooked Prisoners, a gripping film that was one of the best thrillers in years.

Best Musical/Comedy

American Hustle
Her
Inside Lleweyn Davis
Nebraska
The Wolf of Wall Street

Who Will Win: American Hustle

Who Should Win: The Wolf of Wall Street

Who Got Snubbed: The World’s End, Before Midnight

Voters are likely to be wooed by the performances and energetic direction in American Hustle, but the film lacks the bite that makes The Wolf of Wall Street the deserving winner. It’s unfortunate that The World’s End and Before Midnight couldn’t secure a nomination here, but this is a very competitive category.

Best Director

Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón

Who Should Win: Steve McQueen

Who Got Snubbed: Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street, Spike Jonze – Her

Alfonso Cuarón created a technical marvel with Gravity, but Steve McQueen deserves just as much praise for 12 Years a Slave’s emotional intensity. The biggest snubs in this category include Martin Scorsese for managing to make The Wolf of Wall Street’s three hour runtime move at a breezy pace and Spike Jonze for turning a man’s affection with his computer into one of the best films of the year with Her.

Best Actress in a Drama

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Kate Winslet, Labor Day

Who Will Win: Cate Blanchett

Who Should Win: Cate Blanchett

Who Got Snubbed: Adèle Exarchopoulos – Blue is the Warmest Color

Cate Blanchett’s powerhouse performance in Blue Jasmine is one of the greatest of the year, matched only by Adèle Exarchopoulos’ emotional discovery in Blue is the Warmest Color. Her absence in this category is upsetting.

Best Actor in a Drama

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyer’s Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost

Who Will Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Who Should Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Who Got Snubbed: Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale Station

Chiwetel Ejiofor seems to be the frontrunner and Michael B. Jordan’s breakthrough performance in Fruitvale Station deserves far more praise than it’s been receiving

Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy

Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo Di Caprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Joaquin Phoenix, Her

Who Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio

Who Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio

Who Got Snubbed: Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight, Simon Pegg – The World’s End

Bruce Dern could sneak in and win this one, but DiCaprio has been a longtime favorite of the HFPA.

Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy

Amy Adams, American Hustle
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Who Will Win: Amy Adams

Who Should Win: Greta Gerwig

Amy Adams and Meryl Streep appear to be the only real contenders in this category, but it would be delightful if Greta Gerwig was able to pull off an upset.

Best Supporting Actress

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

Who Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o

Who Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence

Who Got Snubbed: Octavia Spencer – Frutivale Station, Lea Seydoux – Blue is the Warmest Color

I’m predicting that Lupita Nyong’o will follow the success of 12 Years a Slave to a win, but I hope that voters will award Jennifer Lawrence for her fantastic scene chewing in American Hustle. This is another very competitive category, but it’s a shame that two of the most emotional performances of the year (Octavia Spencer in Fruitvale Station and Lea Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color) are nowhere to be found.

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyer’s Club

Who Will Win: Jared Leto

Who Should Win: Michael Fassbender

Who Got Snubbed: James Franco – Spring Breakers

Jared Leto has been receiving much praise for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, but Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of a truly evil plantation owner is a much more impressive performance.

Best Screenplay

Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Jeff Pope/Steve Coogan, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell, American Hustle

Who Will Win: American Hustle

Who Should Win: Her

Who Got Snubbed: Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine

American Hustle’s snappy dialogue will appeal to voters, but the characters in Her feel more realistic and the film’s message is more profound.

Best Animated Feature

The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Frozen

Who Will Win: Frozen

Who Should Win: Frozen

Who Got Snubbed: Monster’s University

It was a weak year for animation and Frozen is the clear frontrunner. Even though it was far from Pixar’s best film, Monster’s University definitely deserved a nomination here.

Best Original Song

“Atlas,” The Hunger Games, Catching Fire
“Let It Go,” Frozen
“Ordinary Love,” Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
“Please Mr. Kennedy,” Inside Llewyn Davis
“Sweeter Than Fiction,” One Chance

Who Will Win: “Let it Go”

Who Should Win: “Let it Go”

Who Got Snubbed: “I See Fire”, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Best Score

Alex Ebert, All Is Lost
Alex Heffes, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Steven Price, Gravity
John Williams, The Book Thief
Hans Zimmer, 12 Years a Slave

Who Will Win: Steven Price – Gravity

Who Should Win: Steven Price – Gravity

Who Got Snubbed: Thomas Newman – Saving Mr. Banks

ImageDirector David O. Russell brings a sense of undeniable fun to the holiday movie-going season with American Hustle, a film that is (sort-of) based on the FBI ABSCAM case of the 1970s. Viewers looking for a serious, by-the-numbers historical drama should look elsewhere; this film is less about the story and more about Russell and the incredible cast that he has assembled. Despite a few minor hiccups in the narrative, the rest of the film is pure, unadulterated cinematic ecstasy.

Christian Bale stars as Irving Rosenfeld, a suave and intelligent con artist. At a party, he meets Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) and the two immediately fall head over heels in love with each other. Rosenfeld eventually tells her how he makes a living and, to his delight, she wants in. Prosser adopts an English accent to convince people that she has Royal banking connections and the two of them work together, taking money from gullible investors. Everything is fine, until they are busted by a group of FBI agents led by Richard DiMasso (Bradley Cooper). But, luckily, DiMasso gives them a deal: he will grant them immunity if they go undercover and help bring down four major cases. The cases eventually lead them to a group of corrupt politicians, led by Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner). All seems to be going well, until Rosenfeld’s wife (Jennifer Lawrence) comes in and threatens to spoil the entire operation.

Having rewritten the script that was originally penned by Eric Warren Singer, Russell gives a tongue-in-cheek treatment to what could have otherwise been an overly serious film. His past two films (The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook) were both Oscar nominated, but Hustle is easily his best work thus far. He’s a director, working at the top of his game, who refuses to hold anything back. His constant use of tracking shots gives the film a heightened sense of energy. This is a film that greatly benefits from the time period that it takes place in. Yes, there’s even a disco scene.

But the aspect of this film that is going to really get people talking is the cast. Christian Bale has, yet again, transformed himself to suit his performance. Even with a large gut and a laughably bad comb over, Bale remains quite the charmer and he gives us a reason to sympathize with a scumbag criminal. Amy Adams gives one of her fiercest and most unrestrained performances to date as Sydney Prosser. Prosser is a New Mexico native who fakes an English accent for the majority of the film and Adams is so convincing in the role that viewers will have to remind themselves that her character is not actually from Great Britain. Bradley Cooper is hilarious as estranged FBI agent Richard DiMasso and Jeremy Renner wonderfully portrays Mayor Carmine Polito as a good guy who has simply gotten mixed up in something bigger than he is. Despite all of these great performances, it is ultimately Jennifer Lawrence who ends up stealing the show. As Rosalyn Rosenfeld, Lawrence adopts a fierce east coast accent and completely plays against type. She’s a train wreck of a character who can barely take care of herself, let alone her young son. Lawrence is screamingly funny in the part, chewing up every scene she is given, but never going too far over the top.

The film takes a little while to fully hit its stride and there are a few plot points in the film’s third act that feel overly convenient, but the story is not what is on display here. David O. Russell is asking viewers to take a trip back to the 70s and enjoy the party. The goofy hairstyles and the use of slow motion shots should feel cheesy, but, for some reason, everything works. With a smart sense of humor and a catchy soundtrack of classic 70s tunes, American Hustle is one party that viewers do not want to miss out on.

American Hustle receives 3.5/4