David O. Russell weaves Oscar pattern from his own reinvention

Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:12am EST
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For the aspiring actor and actress who sits at home during awards season fantasizing that they too could be feted as an Oscar nominee or Golden Globe winner there is a simple recipe: get cast in a film by David O. Russell.

The director of romance "Silver Linings Playbook" and boxing drama "The Fighter" has helped the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Christian Bale score some of Hollywood's biggest prizes, and this year has coaxed performances worthy of four Oscar nods from the stars of his crime caper "American Hustle."

If an "American Hustle" actor - which could be Lawrence, Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper - takes home a statuette on March 2, it would be the third consecutive Russell film to have an actor win Hollywood's top honors.

"I feel great pride," the 55-year-old director said of his actors' Oscar nominations.

"I feel that I delivered to them because I aspire to deliver a role to them that is special, and I'm going to ask them to do things they've never done before and take risks they've never taken," he added.

Russell, who is easily identified by his uniform of dark three-piece suits and black-rimmed glasses, has himself been nominated for five Oscars and this year is up for best director and best original screenplay. "American Hustle," like his previous two films, also earned a best picture nomination.

But the transformation of Russell over his past three films into a surefire Hollywood director came together like the self-reinvention tales of his cast of characters, which have ranged from downtrodden boxers to con artists and the mentally ill.

"Sometimes fate deals you a hand where you've been undone for the better," the director said. "I think I did that a little bit."   Continued...

Best director nominee David O. Russell arrives at the 86th Academy Awards nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills, California February 10, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni