Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle (Credit: Sony)
It would appear that Jennifer Lawrence is, indeed, the Girl on Fire.
Aside from maybe last February when she took home the Oscar, the 23-year-old actress had arguably her best professional weekend ever as she received raves for her performance at the first official screenings of her upcoming drama, "American Hustle" — and obliterated box-office records as "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" notched the best-ever November opening, taking in over $161 million at the domestic box office.
"American Hustle," the latest character drama from director David O. Russell, has officially staked its claim in this year's Oscar competition as it screened on Sunday in Los Angeles, where the audience made up of members of SAG, the Academy and select press gave it a standing ovation, according to The Wrap. Individual reactions to the film itself on Twitter have been mixed, though Lawrence is getting unanimous praise for her turn as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, the wife of a con man (Christian Bale) who's forced to assist in a sting operation run by a volatile FBI agent (Bradley Cooper).
"[Lawrence] is simply dazzling as Bale's wife, a total knockout scene-stealer throughout," writes Pete Hammond of Deadline. "If she hadn't already won last year as Best Actress for Russell's 'Silver Linings Playbook,' there is no doubt she might be unbeatable here."
Were Lawrence to earn a nomination this year, it would be in the Best Supporting Actress category. Another win would put her in an elite class of thespians to take home back-to-back statues. There have only been five other actors to go on such a tear, starting with Luise Rainer, who won Best Actress honors for "The Great Ziegfeld" (1936) and "The Good Earth" (1937). The other members of the Back-to-Back Club are Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards, and Tom Hanks. Pretty good company, wouldn't you agree?
The American Hustle clip where Rosalyn blows up the microwave is absolutely brilliant, Oscar nomination for Jen I think so— Jen's Cake Ball (@I_Tell_Him_Real) November 25, 2013
Enjoyed much of American Hustle. Juicy performances throughout. Need second viewing to fully absorb. JLaw is fab.— Sasha Stone (@AwardsDaily) November 25, 2013
The post-screening Q&As with the cast and crew also put Lawrence and her performance front and center, with co-star Amy Adams emerging as "The Hunger Games" star's No. 1 fan.
"She's amazing. She's fearless. I'm fearful, but I will do anything except I will do it with a lot of thought," said Adams, in reference to an ad-libbed moment in which she impulsively kisses her younger co-star full on the lips after a fierce session of trading insults, a moment that inspired cheers from the audience. "Unless Jennifer is keeping a secret though, she's completely fearless."
Adams also admits that it was Lawrence who provided the inspiration for that hot bit of improv.
"I don't take credit for a lot of things, but that was my idea," said Adams. "I don't know why. Maybe I just wanted to kiss Jennifer. She's just so cute."
[Related: 'American Hustle' Sneak Peek]
While Jennifer Lawrence looks to be a frontrunner for an Academy Award nomination (and perhaps a win) this year, she's also currently Queen of the Box Office. The $161 million domestic total beats the $152.5 million opening of its predecessor, "The Hunger Games." Add global box office receipts and the film's total take has already toppled $300 million.
"American Hustle" will open in limited release on Dec. 13 before going wide on Dec. 18. The 86th Annual Academy Awards nominations will be revealed on Jan. 14.
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- Jennifer Lawrence