|Left to right: Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Joy|
There is a good chance that if you're into The Oscars as much as I am, you'll have a big opinion on Jennifer Lawrence by now. After her first Oscar nomination in 2010 for Winter's Bone, she has become one of the most successful and overstated actresses out there. Her big break came in 2012 with the one-two punch of The Hunger Games and her Oscar-winning role in Silver Linings Playbook. If you're one of those that felt that that film was part of her best work, then I have some good news for you: she's not going to stop working for director David O. Russell. At least, not until one of them finally dies.
This past weekend marked the first round of buzz regarding Russell's latest film Joy, which follows a woman (Lawrence) as she becomes a very successful self-starter. You've likely seen the trailers and the poster where you can look up her nose. While Spotlight has been taking most of the acclaim this season as a Best Picture front runner, there's still December's gang of films to look forward to. Among them is The Revenant and Joy. While the former debuted last week to mixed-to-negative reviews, Joy has come out strong once again. Even if it's still Spotlight's race to lose, Joy is coming with guns literally blazing as a vehicle centered around Lawrence. It also features the familiar cast of performers, including Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper. Still, good luck thinking of anyone but Lawrence.
Even if it's too early to call it a front runner, there's plenty of buzz that would suggest that this may be Russell's year. After having his last three films (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) all end up with hefty Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, there's a good chance that he may finally have a strong contender to beat. If not, there is one blurb that will likely win over those that like Lawrence's work with Russell:
“I’ll do anything with you until you [Russell] die.. it’s sweet and fucked up”.
Depending on your views, that's going to be great news. While I will admit that I haven't been blown away by her work in his films (I think she was unnecessary in American Hustle), I think that they compliment each other nicely. Like with all of his films, I keep hoping for that masterpiece that genuinely defines this era of Russell's career. While The Fighter is impossible to top, I want to see if Joy can be that populous drama/comedy ensemble film that he's clearly been working at over the past few years. I'm hoping that this is it. Otherwise, we'll just have to wait and see how things go.
In related news, Joy has also been assigned as a Comedy at the Golden Globes. While this isn't always as crystal clear as one would think, it is in keeping with his last two films with Lawrence. The big question now is what could possibly compete against it (besides The Martian) for comedy? We'll just have to wait and see. Based on the reviews so far, I am very excited to see if that's just early buzz, or if Russell has a genuine sensation on his hands finally.