After a screening of his American Hustle, at a party at the Monkey Bar sponsored by OPI, director David O. Russell held court. Having paved the road toward Best Actor/ Actress awards for many cast in his movies over the years, actors must be dying to work with him although he made it clear that the American Hustle dream ensemble, a mix of Silver Linings Playbook and Fighter vets is now something of a repertory. This morning, not surprising: Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper were all nominated for Golden Globes.
So was Russell for Best Director and the film for Best Comedy Feature: American Hustle is a movie for those who believe that if your hair is good, you can conquer the world. Rife for self-invention, the characters make themselves over from the top down. First glimpse: Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) with an elaborate paste up, a comb over involving the gluing on of clumps of hair, and a paunch, to play a Jewish dry cleaning mogul who sells fake art and loans on the side. Next, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), a smart stripper with ambition, with large rollers for her banana curls. They meet at a friend's indoor winter pool party, bond over Duke Ellington, and partner up for a stab at the American dream. That is until Richie Maso (Bradley Cooper) of the FBI in tiny perm curlers for his tight 'fro, makes them scam for him. Jeremy Renner is a beloved politician with an Elvis pompadour, and Jennifer Lawrence, a stay at home mom with a loosy goosy up do, has a flair for setting unintentional fires. Those loopy locks bob and weave unforgettably as she cleans the house to "Live and Let Die." Even the judge, a slicked down Alessandro Nivola, wears a solid brown cap of hair, a mastery of product. The hair is a joke you love to be in on, as is the con, a fictional take on the Abscam scandal, complete with mafia don (Robert DeNiro) and requisite Arab sheikh (Michael Pena).
To help with the publicity, Christian Bale flew in from The Canary Islands where he is Moses with a mane in a remake of The Ten Commandments with Ridley Scott. His work as Irving is so sly, you feel for him as he pops heart pills even as he lies. Amy Adams was pushed to ballsy tight-jean perfection in The Fighter, and now, as she says, as Dame Edith nee Sydney Prosser her tits are out there for posterity. On a night of disco fever with Richie that ends in a sexy bathroom stall, her scream on the toilet seat is like an orgasm in reverse. She remained demure at the Monkey Bar; Bradley Cooper showed up with a cropped cut. You could see the poetry in that.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.