Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in 'Silver Linings Playbook' (Photo: The Weinstein Company)
Does David O. Russell know how to pick his cast or what?
"Silver Linings Playbook," Russell's dark comedy chronicling the budding romance between a recently released mental patient (Bradley Cooper) and an equally troubled young widow (Jennifer Lawrence), scored a total of eight Academy Award nominations. While that number may not be as impressive as the 12 garnered by "Lincoln" or the 11 snagged by "Life of Pi," it takes on considerable Oscar significance when you realize that four of them are for all four acting categories: Best Actor (Cooper), Best Actress (Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro) and Best Supporting Actress (Jacki Weaver).
"Silver Linings Playbook" is only the 14th film to ever receive at least one Oscar nomination in each of the four acting categories -- and the first to do so in 31 years, following Warren Beatty's epic drama, "Reds" (1981). The 12 other films to achieve this are "My Man Godfrey" (1936), "Mrs. Miniver" (1942), "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (1943), "Johnny Belinda" (1948), "Sunset Blvd." (1950), "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951), "From Here to Eternity" (1953), "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966), "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967), "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967), "Network" (1976) and "Coming Home" (1978).
"Silver Linings Playbook" and "Reds" were also both nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editing, though "Silver Linings" received a Best Adapted Screenplay nom while "Reds" got one for its Original Screenplay.
"Reds," which centers on the life and career of revolutionary communist, journalist and Russian Revolution chronicler John Reed, went on to win Best Director (Warren Beatty), Best Supporting Actress (Maureen Stapleton) and Best Cinematography (a category for which "Silver Linings Playbook" isn't nominated). One wonders whether "Silver Linings" has a chance at winning any of the Oscars for which it's nominated against some pretty formidable competition in every category, though Lawrence might emerge as the number-one contender against Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty" … and, in a category that ignored such heavyweights as Kathryn Bigelow, Quentin Tarantino and Ben Affleck, Russell himself just might take home the Academy Award for Best Director.
Hey, he's apparently good at working with actors, after all (as long as they're not either George Clooney or Lily Tomlin, of course).