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David O. Russell: "American Hustle" and "Silver Linings Playbook" director on his Oscar-nominated films

"American Hustle" is one of this year's top Oscar contenders. It's 10 nominations include two for director David O. Russell. He's the man behind three hit films in the past four years and it’s hard to watch an award show without hearing his name.

 

"There's a reason why so many actors have thanked you (Russell) from this stage,” actress Jennifer Lawrence said at the 2013 Golden Globes. “You are simply the best."

Russell joined the “CBS This Morning” co-hosts to discuss the secret behind the success of his films and the long road to get there.

He has been nominated three times for Academy Awards as best director, and three of his films, "The Fighter", “Silver Linings Playbook," and "American Hustle" have all received Oscar nominations for Best Picture. He told the co-hosts that with these last three movies, there’s a “certain kind of humanity we’re telling in stories.”

“We’re in a zone where we know what’s going to be exciting and I can try to give it everything I have, such as Bradley Cooper going from dancing with Amy Adams to getting hit over the head by her to Jennifer (Lawrence) singing ‘Live and Let Die,’” he said. “That’s just an inspiration … That’s why it’s a little operatic. I wanted them to do big moments of emotion that are sort of spell-binding and exhilarating to.”

 

If you're lucky enough to star in a Russell film, chances are you'll also be nominated for an Academy Award or a Golden Globe. In the last four years, 11 of Russell's actors have been nominated for Oscars. In fact, "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle" are the only movies since 1981 to receive a nomination in each of the four acting categories.

With 10 Oscar nominations, “American Hustle” is tied with “Gravity” for having the most nods for one production.  Russell said that he’s proud of the recognition the film has garnered.

“I’m proud of all my actors. I’m proud of my designers – our set decorators, our hair designers,” he said. “I’m very proud that the film was recognized. We’re coming up on, I guess, it’s been a long season, but it makes movies exciting. It gets people to come see movies.”

“American Hustle” also hits home for Russell, as it is a renewal film and the past few years have been a similar rebirth time for him. 

“I had about eight years where I was helping my son who suffered from bipolar and got divorced and lost my way as a storyteller … everybody has to come back,” he said. “You have to pick yourself up and that allows me to be more personal when I’m telling stories.”

 

 He also said that because of his relationship with his son, directing “Silver Linings Playbook,” which has a bipolar main character, was healing for his family.  

“To take something that had been private and bring it into the public, it was very healing for him I think to see that his story could be a part of the world,” he said.

Russell has also been praised for making his female character just as interesting as his men.

“I think women to me are just endlessly fascinating and powerful and I want them to be right toe-to-toe with the men or exceed the men and that’s been a great secret since ‘The Fighter,’” he said.

To see the full interview with David O. Russell, watch the video in the player above