It was slightly earlier during the run up to last Christmas that Zero Dark Thirty dominated the opening critics awards and Lincoln appeared to have strong support within the industry ahead of the guild ceremonies, setting up a likely two-horse Oscar showdown. But, defying expectations, Argo started to pick up some best picture critics prizes and it soon became apparent that we were witnessing a momentum shift, which made a complete mockery of countless Oscar predictions.
And here we go again approaching this year’s Oscars; 12 Years a Slave emerging from the critics awards having been in complete control of the best film category, and, supposedly, now in a head to head with Gravity, which has done well collecting best director prizes and, by all accounts, enjoys support within the industry. But it is worth bearing in mind during this year’s award seasons’ Christmas break that it was a combination of critical acclaim and commercial success at the right moment which gave Argo its momentum boost, somewhat against the odds. Looking now at the current state of play, is it fanciful for us to turn our attention towards American Hustle’s outstanding reviews, box office feats during the last two weekends and stellar high profile cast – Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence – and ask whether the film enjoys a groundswell of support that is not evident from the critics awards but could, yet, have a bearing on the Oscar race? With the Oscar voting about to get under way, American Hustle is certainly grabbing the headlines and column inches at just the right time.