American HustleDavid O. Russell’s follow up to Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter, is screwing up this already dense and crazy Oscar race in a big way. To say that the recent screening at the Directors Guild in West Hollywood was a love fest between the filmmakers and the VIP audience would be a gross understatement. The crowd included Academy and other guild voters, select press, agents from every top agency — even Harvey Weinstein.

Mad Men’s Emmy winning creator Matt Weiner moderated the Q & A following the film about the art of the con game. The panel included Russell and actors Bradley CooperAmy AdamsJeremy Renner and Elizabeth Rohm. Their co-stars Jennifer LawrenceChristian Bale and Robert De Niro (who is priceless as a gangster), were not there.

Weiner began the session by exclaiming, “I just saw the movie with the rest of you.  What an attentive audience. I just loved it.” Russell then returned the compliment, saying, “Matt, having you moderate is a treat for me.”

He went on to explain that his trust with his actors is the most important thing, with Weiner answering, “They should trust you, these are killer parts.”

Russell also explained how the themes of re-invention are artistically important to him in all of his films. Adams, who, let’s say gives cleavage a new meaning as she unleashes her inner sex kitten throughout the movie, remarked,  “We’re all actors and actresses pretending in life from one moment to the next.  It’s all depends on how well we do it.”

Renner chatted about how different his character was for him. He plays a small town Jersey mayor and spoke about how much fun he has singing the Tom Jones classic hit “Delilah” in a scene with Bale. Speaking of the much lauded and Oscar-winning Bale, an audience member asked Cooper about his technique in which he quipped, “I just copy Christian.” When another audience member, an aspiring acting student, asked Cooper for advice, he answered seriously, “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t let any poisonous people in your sphere, be fearless and don’t let anybody bring you down.” The actor finished his statement with, “David doesn’t settle.  He gets home runs. He always strives for magic.”

American Hustle will be released on Dec. 13.

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