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Do you enjoy the hoopla in the run-up to the ceremony? To be in the company of these people making great cinema is a privilege. We’ve been building this character-based cinema through three movies, and the Oscars help. I don’t know if they can be compared, but in terms of forceful storytelling or captivating cinema, they both came out the same year and I love seeing those guys around town, the directors and actors. It’s nice to see other people and other universes.’Have you been able to meet the directors of the other nominated films? Spike Jonze [‘Her’] is an old friend of mine already, and Alexander Payne [‘Nebraska’] is an old friend.Would it be the end of the world if I wasn’t involved? It makes a big difference.’You’re also building a company of actors. We’ve taken a risk together, and then I want to turn around and say: “Let’s take an even bigger risk together.” You know? But I’ve got to know Steve Mc Queen [‘12 Years a Slave’] and Alfonso Cuarón [‘Gravity’], and that’s a blessing.‘It’s a much bigger world, in some ways it’s twice the size of the other worlds. I remember people in that economy struggling to survive, it was not easy.’Will you have a speech ready on Oscar night? Wounded but powerfully deranged, belting out ‘Live and Let Die’ in her literally gilded suburban cage, Lawrence is entirely extraordinary here.David O Russell is a chronic over-orderer, which is the sort of thing you might actually guess from his movies. As a first audience hook, Russell singles out the scene where Bradley Cooper’s Pat, fresh out of a mental institution, finishes reading A Farewell to Arms and flings it through the (closed) window of his old bedroom.One of the world’s most famous directors has an apparent history of abusing women.But Hollywood seems to want to sweep it under the carpet. Russell, 56, has a name synonymous with excellent American films.Looking at the ‘American Hustle’ cast: you worked with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence on ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, and with Christian Bale on ‘The Fighter’. “Let’s use our trust and our shorthand and our knowledge of each other to make something special that we’ve never had before.” It’s a team and an intimacy that I cherish, it’s the foundation of the whole thing.’The leading Oscar nominees are so strong and different. Marty [Scorsese] is somebody who I’ve known on and off over the years.It’s nice, and who knows what can happen from that? “The Fighter” was a bit – but this was more truly a period film.‘All these films I’ve made have been East Coast-based.
If we can lean into either the pain or the enchantment, I’m going to lean into the enchantment.’ Everyone’s talking about the incredible hair, make-up and costumes...‘And guess what? Then I want people’s jaws hanging open, going: “Look at these people![Pause] Sorry, excuse me, I have a three-year-old here swinging a big ten-foot stick knocking shit over. Sorry.’Were you up at dawn to hear the nominations? Also, I have a rhythm of the film and characters that’s in my head that I share with them. It’s very hard for me to say goodbye to them.’The word I’ve most heard associated with ‘American Hustle’ is fun. For me, sometimes that’s going to be fun and sometimes that’s going to be really fucked up.