It tied with "Gravity" for most Oscar nominations — 10. But when all was said and done Sunday night, David O. Russell's "American Hustle" came away with zero gold statuettes.
In a roller-coaster season, "American Hustle" rode more highs and lows than most. With a release scheduled for late December, the film screened to tastemakers around Thanksgiving and immediately won top honors from the New York Film Critics Circle.
It picked up momentum, landing the comedy or musical film award at the Golden Globes and the coveted Screen Actors Guild ensemble prize in January, a month that also saw it become one of the few films to land nominations in all seven major Oscar categories (picture, director, screenplay and lead and supporting acting).
"American Hustle's" name was rarely heard from the podium Sunday, though lead actress nominee Amy Adams was thanked by winner Cate Blanchett. "Your performance in 'American Hustle' blew my mind," Blanchett said.
The movie fell short of the poorest showing in Oscar history. That dubious distinction is held by 1985's "The Color Purple" and 1977's ballet drama "The Turning Point. Each went 0-for-11 nominations.
Russell has garnered a remarkable five nominations, dating to 2010 — including nods for his movies "The Fighter" and "Silver Linings Playbook" — but has never won an Oscar.
His best shot this year, according to pundits, was for original screenplay. But Russell lost to Spike Jonze, another acclaimed American director who hadn't won an Oscar before Sunday.
It was not a night for major snubs, as many awards followed pundit predictions. Perhaps the biggest surprise came in animated shorts as the favored Disney film "Get a Horse!" lost to the whimsical French short "Mr. Hublot," about a man and his robotic pet, even though "Horse" played in front of the massively popular (and Oscar winner) "Frozen."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun