Just one week ago, I wrote a blog post detailing the Oscar prospects for David O. Russell’s latest Joy, which comes out on Christmas. Seven days ago, I believed its prospects for a nomination in Best Picture were still fairly decent. Some of this was due to Mr. Russell’s track record over the decade. His last three pictures – The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle – all were nominated, as was Russell. Those three movies represent an astounding 11 acting nominations with three wins. And the advance word of mouth on Joy was cautiously optimistic enough that I still felt it stood a good shot at Academy attention.
What a difference a week makes. The official embargo on Joy reviews was lifted this morning and a clearer picture has emerged. Bottom line: Joy will not be nominated for Best Picture. David O. Russell will not be nominated for Director. None of the supporting players that includes Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd, and Isabella Rossellini will hear their names called. Reviews have been extremely mixed. While some critics have heaped praised, other prominent reviewers have called it his worst movie. While the number is bound to fluctuate, it currently stands at just 53% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Fighter? 90%. Silver Linings Playbook? 92%. American Hustle? 93%. You get the idea.
The only bright spot is that Jennifer Lawrence’s inclusion in Best Actress still appears be solid. Writers have singled out her work and the superstar looks to land her third recognition in a row for a Russell directed effort.
The Joy bubble bursting will surely give rise to another film that many prognosticators had under their bubbles for Picture predictions, including my own. This could represent good news for pictures ranging from Mad Max: Fury Road to Creed to Son of Saul to Anomalisa to The Big Short.
One thing is nearly certain: Russell’s joyful Oscar streak looks to be finished.