The film received ten Oscar nominations, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, & all 4 acting categories, but did not win in any category. The film received the second highest number of nominations for a film which did not win any Oscars, a distinction it shares with True Grit and Gangs of New York, after the 11 for 1977’s The Turning Point and 1985’s The Color Purple. It was the 15th film ever to be nominated in the four acting categories, & only the 2nd since 1981, after 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook, which Russell also directed. Of the 15 such films, it joins only 1936’s My Man Godfrey and 1950’s Sunset Boulevard to not win any acting awards.
American Hustle received critical acclaim, and the cast, notably Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, received praise for their performances. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 92% rating “Riotously funny and impeccably cast, American Hustle compensates for its flaws with unbridled energy and some of David O. Russell’s most irrepressibly vibrant direction.” Metacritic 90% “universal acclaim”.
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times: A+, complimenting Bradley Cooper’s performance “the best time I’ve had at the movies all year”. He later named it the year’s best film.
Time magazine’s Richard Corliss: “American Hustle is an urban eruption of flat-out fun—the sharpest, most exhilarating comedy in years. Anyone who says otherwise must be conning you.”
American Hustle received 7 Golden Globe Award nominations
won for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, with Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence winning Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, respectively.
The film took top honors at the 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards, winning for Outstanding Cast
The film was nominated for ten British Academy Film Awards, with Jennifer Lawrence winning for Actress in a Supporting Role and David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer winning for Best Original Screenplay.
American Hustle is a dramatization of the FBI’s Abscam sting operation in the late 1970s and early ’80s that led to convictions of seven members of the United States Congress, among others. The film does not attempt to directly document the events of Abscam. The names are changed, and the film begins with the on-screen message, “Some of this actually happened”.
Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld (Mel Weinberg)
Bradley Cooper as Richie DiMaso
Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser (Evelyn Knight)
Jeremy Renner as Mayor Carmine Polito (Angelo Errichetti)
Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld (Marie Weinberg)
Louis C.K. as Stoddard Thorsen
Jack Huston as Pete Musane
Michael Peña as Sheikh Abdullah
Shea Whigham as Carl Elway
Alessandro Nivola as Anthony Amado
Elisabeth Röhm as Dolly Polito
Paul Herman as Alfonse Simone
Saïd Taghmaoui as Irv’s Sheik Plant
Adrian Martinez as Julius
Colleen Camp as Brenda
Dawn Olivieri as Cosmo Girl
Erica McDermott as Carl Elway’s Assistant
Robert De Niro as Victor Tellegio
In the film, Irving Rosenfeld begins a life of criminality when he smashes storefront windows as a child in order to provide more work for his father’s glass-installation business.
Melvin Weinberg began working for his father only as an adult. He did smash windows, however, according to one article after Abscam was revealed, it was indeed done to shore up business for Weinberg’s father A later report states that it was done at the behest of the local union, to punish businesses who used non-union glaziers
In the film, Camden Mayor Carmine Polito is shown as a selfless politician who gets involved in the scam only to provide jobs to his constituents. Irving feels so bad for Carmine that he engineers a reduced sentence for him. In reality, Camden mayor Angelo Errichetti had a reputation for committing crimes, despite being widely praised for caring about the people of Camden. During the Abscam operation he offered to get the fake sheik into illegal businesses such as money counterfeiting and drug smuggling. Though Weinberg developed a fondness for Errichetti as a man who “didn’t beat around the bush”, he made no attempt to protect Errichetti from prosecution.
Evelyn Knight, was involved in Weinberg’s scams to a lesser extent than shown in the film she was not involved in Abscam. Also, she was English
Weinberg’s wife Cynthia Marie Weinberg, the basis for Rosalyn Rosenfeld, is not known to have had an affair with someone from the mafia, nor did she nearly blow Weinberg’s cover.
The character of Richie DiMaso is based, to some extent, on federal agent Tony Amoroso, although in real life Amoroso was just one of a number of agents
In the film, the sheik is impersonated by a Mexican-American FBI agent. In real life, the sheik was played by two different agents
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