Last night my friend Scooter and I got together for a night of distraction and decided to start our evening with a viewing of American Hustle. Amy Adams is in contention for Best Actress consideration at the Oscars for her role as con artist Sydney Prosser. Overall, I thought the film was good. Scooter and I both gave it a B. It was entertaining, occasionally funny, nice to look at. Of course the script and directing are top notch but the most notable aspect is the performance by its ensemble cast. Christian Bale, Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner all deliver fantastic and memorable performances.
Adams in my opinion is absolutely in the accurate category of Lead Actress. She and Bale are in it from start to finish, the events surround their relationship and work, and the two narrate the story. That being said, I don't think the character and portrayal of Sydney is the type that would tend to receive first place votes among Oscar voters. Part of the issue is that although I think Adams is being campaigned in the correct category, the work of the main four cast members is such a collaboration that it's difficult to stand out, with the exception of Jennifer Lawrence's role, which is loud, flashy and the smallest of the four.
Adams does excellent work in this film and I feel it's lazy to say this, but her British accent left a bit to be desired. This could've been a more impressive performance considering half of her role is basically a character within a character. But the difficulty I had discerning if she was donning her accent at times was distracting and the distinction between Sydney and her con alter ego Lady Edith didn't display enough contrast and was therefore less compelling to me. Had that been in place in addition to Adams's couple of dramatic scenes early in the picture I feel her chances at individual recognition could've been considerably strengthened.
I watched Saving Mr. Banks tonight and hope to do a special combination post of Emma Thompson's performance and Shoulda Coulda Woulda sometime tomorrow. Up to this point, I'd rank the Best Actress performances in contention as follows:
1. Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
2. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
3. Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color)
4. Amy Adams (American Hustle)
5. Judi Dench (Philomena)
6. Sandra Bullock (Gravity)