Standing high on a stepladder, Dr. Mehmet Oz addressed the crowd at Le Cirque, at cocktails for Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell and his star Robert De Niro. The talk show host applied his professional expertise, noting the unexpected relevance of SLP to current events, the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Conn, as this audience-award-winning movie shines a light on mental health in America. Dr. Oz mentioned the moment when De Niro as Pat Sr. asks his son (Bradley Cooper), recently released from a mental facility, has he taken the right dose of his meds. Pat Jr. and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), out on their first date at a diner discuss the relative ups and downs of anti-depressants. Looking around the room at film insiders, he commented on edge-fueled creativity.
Then David O. Russell -- who not only directs but adapted the script -- took over, climbing atop the makeshift stage to say how his son Matt helps ground him; the character Pat Jr. is the guy jogging around the neighborhood in a torn garbage bag as if to say, look at me: I'm the guy with problems. The idea is to make visible that people have issues, not isolate them. You could say it's a counter-alienation strategy, or maybe a way to normalize conditions that can force people to the dark side.
In SLP, Cooper's character writes secret letters to his estranged wife and engages in dance practice with Tiffany who aspires to win a competition and needs a partner. These two perform a most erratic dance number that has audiences cheering. And then De Niro who's Pat has his own tics, delivers fatherly advice to his son, a life affirming speech about love that will quite simply win him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar he deserves. Including De Niro, that category may be completed with Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained, Eddie Redmayne in Les Miserables, John Goodman in Flight or Argo and Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln.
Celebrating Silver Linings Playbook, De Niro's Raging Bull co-star Cathy Moriarty joined Jane Rosenthal, Barry Levinson, Alex Gibney, Bob Balaban, John Leguizamo, Joe Pantoliano, Celia Weston and Robert Wuhl. Party doyenne Peggy Siegal, as David O. Russell dubbed her, phoned Harvey Weinstein to let him know the director was wearing his signature white sneakers and sipping De Niro inspired cucumber cocktails.
Missing in action, Bradley Cooper was away filming The Hangover III, and Jennifer Lawrence was in Hawaii on The Hunger Games II. Tune in to EPIX on New Year's Day for The Hunger Games' television premiere.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.