'American Hustle,' 'Dallas Buyers Club' and 'Gravity' producers celebrate best picture nods

Posted by · 10:53 pm · January 16th, 2014

Landing an Academy Award is usually a moment someone will remember for the rest of his or her life. As “American Hustle” producer Richard Suckle noted this morning, he’s been instructed to “take it all in and enjoy the moment.” Because, unless you’re Scott Rudin, this doesn’t happen often.

For Suckle and fellow “Hustle” producer Charles Roven, the success of the picture both critically and at the box office has been incredibly rewarding. Neither man, no matter what the pundits predicted, was taking anything for granted before Thursday’s announcement.

“I think the thing about the Academy is it doesn’t really matter what has gone on before, they sort of go to the beat of their own drum,” Roven says. “Personally, I’m just thrilled that all the people who worked on this film in all these different areas got recognized. Also, its speaks volumes to David Russell with him being nominated in both the writing and the directing categories. And then getting four nominations back-to-back, I don’t think that’s ever happened before. These are things you don’t think about when you’re hoping to do well.”

One of the more remarkable things about “Hustle’s” success is the movie began principal photography last March. In fact, Russell was working on a re-write and prepping during the awards campaign for “Silver Linings Playbook” and Roven and Suckle decided to schedule the film’s shoot around it. Principal photography wrapped in May.  With a December release date on the books an accelerated shoot and post-production schedule might have actually turned into something of a blessing.  Suckle says. “In some ways, I thought it was extra positive pressure in some sense.”

On the opposite side of the spectrum are “Dallas Buyers Club” duo of Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter. Their film’s six nominations was just another amazing result for an indie that took 20 years to get into production. Brenner was so nervous about the nominations she was up most of the night recalling that 5:40am couldn’t come soon enough.

“This is the moment you dream of your whole entire life, to be recognized by your peers and the people who make up the movie business,” she says. “We are so honored and humbled and just elated today. My husband filmed my reaction on his iPhone. It was pretty unbelievable. [And] I could hear Rachel shriek from Beverly Hills.”

Winter notes that stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto “worked so hard. And they brought all their passion and all their commitment and they led our entire amazing cast, including Jennifer Garner, who is so f-ing incredible in the movie. Obviously what this means for the crew who worked so hard, because we made this movie for so little money in 25 days — the whole thing is kind of mind-blowing.”

For all of the joy surrounding the film’s six nods, it was somewhat bittersweet given the disappointment that director Jean-Marc Vallée didn’t earn some sort of recognition. As Brenner remarks, “None of us would be here without Jean-Marc. We started with an amazing building block and it was really his vision that brought this movie to life. And he deserves so much credit a lot of the time. I don’t know if he gets overlooked, but I think he is an important part of this puzzle and making this magic and really making all the building blocks work together.”

“Gravity” producer David Heyman has found the critical and box office success of Alfonso Cuarón’s epic “humbling.”

“It’s an incredible year for film and it’s very exciting to be a part of that,” he says. “I’m sure there are all sorts of theories as to why this year is what it is. But it is an amazing thing to be named with so many other films.”

The longtime “Harry Potter” producers continues: “The journey of ‘Gravity’ is a lot about the themes of the film, which is adversity. It was a challenging film to get made and we had incredible support ultimately from Warner Bros. But it’s about a woman alone in space, not obvious. A woman in her late-40s, not obvious. A woman with a visor and a spacesuit, her voice muffled, not obvious. To have it embraced in such a year is just incredibly gratifying.”

The 86th Academy Awards will be broadcast live at 5:30pm PT, 8:30pm ET March 2nd on ABC.

Kristopher Tapley also contributed to this report.

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