ByBrian Finamore, writer at
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Brian Finamore

According to Pete Hammond of Deadline, last weekend David O. Russell's American Hustle screened at the Cary Grant Theatre on the Culver City lot. The packed crowd was largely made up of SAG and a few Academy members, plus select press. The two big questions remaining in this years award race is the reaction this film and Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, which has just been edited down to it's theatrical release to avoid an NC-17 rating (at a whopping 2 hours and 59 minutes).

Apparently the event was a hottest place to be in town, in fact, one New York-based consultant working on the film flew in Sunday afternoon specifically for the screening and flew back on the red-eye immediately afterwards. The buzz after the screening, during which Russell, Adams, Renner, co-star Elisabeth Rohm, editor Jay Cassidy, costume designer Michael Wilkinson, and casting director Mary Vernieu appeared for a 40-minute Q&A, was tremendous.

The film had great appeal among the SAG voters and according to Hammond, "I also think, even in this fiercely contested year, Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Editing and Costume nods could be in the cards along with any number of possibilities for its superb ensemble including lead actor Christian Bale, lead actress Amy Adams, supporting actors Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner, and supporting actress Jennifer Lawrence. Especially Lawrence; she is simply dazzling as Bale’s wife, a total knockout scene-stealer throughout. If she hadn’t already won last year as Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook, there is no doubt she might be unbeatable here. At 23 years old and the star of this weekend’s all-time November record breaker, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, she may well become the frontrunner anyway to take back-to-back Academy Awards after this performance is seen. It’s prime Oscar bait. The actors, including voters I spoke to afterward, were clearly blown away. In fact the entire cast — which also includes a terrific unbilled one-scene cameo from Robert De Niro, who was nominated last year for Silver Linings — will certainly figure heavily for the SAG Outstanding Cast of a Motion Picture award. One person connected to the film to whom I spoke said early reaction had been on the mixed side, but I couldn’t detect that at this screening. It was all upbeat. Time will tell."

This bodes very well for the picture obviously, so you can count on American Hustle to not disappoint come awards season. David O. Russell, if not already, is among the top directors in Hollywood with his last three films (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle) receiving lots of award claim.

Now all that remains, at least for me, is how Scorsese's film will compete with an already stellar crop of awards contenders this year. It is the one remaining wild card left in this seasons puzzle.

Here are the two trailers for the film:


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