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'Silver Linings Playbook' Star De Niro Gets Into Oscar Race with a Push from Santa Barbara

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 16, 2012 at 7:56PM

Robert De Niro may land his first Oscar nomination in 20 years for his moving supporting turn as Bradley Cooper's father in David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook." De Niro has won two Oscars (for the second "Godfather" film and "Raging Bull") but he has not been nominated since Martin Scorsese's "Cape Fear." 
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Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro in David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook"
Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro in David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook"

Robert De Niro may land his first Oscar nomination in 20 years for his moving supporting turn as Bradley Cooper's father in David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook." De Niro has won two Oscars (for the second "Godfather" film and "Raging Bull") but he has not been nominated since Martin Scorsese's "Cape Fear." 

Why? Look at his resume. In the intervening years, not to put too fine a point on it, De Niro has been chasing the money and dining on comedies ("The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle," "Analyze This," "Meet the Fockers") that sometimes even make fun of the iconic roles that inspired generations of actors. While he did the odd Indie flick for pals such as Art Linson and Barry Levinson ("What Just Happened," "Wag the Dog"), you have to go back to the 90s to find a cluster of films like "Copland," "Marvin's Room" or "Jackie Brown" that truly mine his prodigious talent.

The Santa Barbara Film Festival, which takes place in late January at the height of Oscar season, is mounting a December 8 tribute to the actor--who deserves one whether he gets a nomination for "Silver Linings" or not--by giving him its Kirk Douglas Award.

Like many other fine actors trying to make their way in the wasteland that is the Hollywood studios today, De Niro is realizing that upfront cash is not the best measure of talent and success. Working with the demanding and exacting Russell and a superb ensemble of actors, De Niro really steps up his game. A supporting actor nomination could be his reward.

This article is related to: David O. Russell, Robert De Niro, Awards, Awards, Festivals, Festivals


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.