A crime drama featuring con men, mafiosi, and FBI agents, the David O. Russell-directed, real-life inspired American Hustle won three New York Film Critics Circle Awards earlier today, December 3, 2013: Best Picture; Best Screenplay for Russell and Eric Singer; and Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Lawrence for her performance as con man and FBI mole Christian Bale's steamy, big-mouthed wife. (Full list of NYFCC 2013 award winners.)
Last year, Jennifer Lawrence was the New York Film Critics' runner-up in the Best Actress category for both The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook. The latter film, also directed by David O. Russell, earned her the Best Actress Academy Award earlier this year.
Besides Jennifer Lawrence, whose The Hunger Games: Catching Fire may turn out to be the biggest 2013 blockbuster in North America, and The Dark Knight star Christian Bale, American Hustle features Lawrence's Silver Linings Playbook co-stars Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, plus Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jack Huston, Elisabeth Röhm, Michael Peña, Alessandro Nivola, and Colleen Camp.
The Columbia-distributed American Hustle opens on December 13 in limited release in the U.S.; it expands on December 18. Moviegoers in most other countries will have to wait until early 2014, around the time of the announcement of the Oscar nominations.
New York Film Critics vs. Academy Awards
Since 2000, only three New York Film Critics Circle Best Picture winners have failed to receive a matching Academy Award nod: David Lynch's Mulholland Dr. (2001), Todd Haynes' Far from Heaven (2003), and Paul Greengrass' United 93 (2006). Note: Back then, there were only five Best Picture Oscar nominees per year.
During that same period, four NYFCC Best Picture winners took home matching Oscars: Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country for Old Men (2007), Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker (2009), and Michel Hazanaviciu's The Artist (2011) – in addition to two Best Director wins: Steven Soderbergh for Traffic (2000) and Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain (2005). (The Academy's Best Picture winners in those years were, respectively, Ridley Scott's Gladiator and Paul Haggis' Crash.)
Robert Redford: Second-oldest Best Actor NYFCC winner
After more than half a century as a film actor and more than three decades as a director, Robert Redford has won his first ever New York Film Critics Award – in the Best Actor category – for his performance in J.C. Chandor's The Old Man and the Sea-ish adventure drama All Is Lost. In the film, Redford, adrift in the ocean, is seen all by himself on screen.
Back in 1969, Robert Redford landed in third place in the NYFCC's Best Actor category for Michael Ritchie's ski drama Downhill Racer (the winner was Jon Voight for Midnight Cowboy), while in 1980 he was once again third choice, this time in the Best Director category, for the family drama Ordinary People (the winner was Jonathan Demme for Melvin and Howard). Starring Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, and Timothy Hutton, Ordinary People ultimately earned Redford an Academy Award.
Additionally, the Redford-directed Quiz Show was the New York Film Critics' Best Film of 1994. However, that year's Best Director was Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction.
Now, Robert Redford, 77, is not the oldest New York Film Critics Circle Best Actor winner. Richard Farnsworth was 79 when he won the NYFCC's Best Actor prize for David Lynch's The Straight Story in 1999.
And in case Redford is shortlisted for the 2014 Academy Awards, that'll be the second-longest gap ever between Oscar nominations in the acting category. To date, Robert Redford has received a single Oscar nod, for George Roy Hill's blockbuster The Sting, forty years ago.
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Jennifer Lawrence American Hustle photo: Columbia Pictures.