Robert De Niro got the nod for Best Supporting Actor when the Oscar nominations for 2013 were announced by Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone in Los Angeles on Thursday morning (January 8, 2013). The Hollywood veteran received a shout for his turn in David O'Russell's drama-comedy Silver Linings Playbook, with lead star Bradley Cooper getting nominated for Best Actor.
Though Cooper will battle the frankly unbeatable Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) and the respected Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) for Best Actor, De Niro could be onto a good thing in the supporting category. He plays the father of Pat Solitano (Cooper) a former school teacher who loses everything, his job, his house, his wife and is forced to live back with his parents (Mother played by Jacki Weaver, who also scored a nomination). Critic Robert Roten said, "The plot is clever and a bit unconventional. Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro all turn in wonderful performances in this very funny, very warm comedy."
It wouldn't be surprising should De Niro walk away with the golden statuette come the Academy Awards, though he has plenty of competition. The bookmakers have the Raging Bull star as 8/1 third favourite, with Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) at 11/8 and Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) the market leader at 5/4. Alan Arkin is a 10/1 shot for Argo, while Christoph Waltz - who delivered a sensational performance as a bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained - is available at a rather big 16/1. De Niro's last nomination came in 1991 for Cape Fear and while he's made several excellent films since then (Casino, Heat), Silver Linings Playbook is a real nugget. He was cast perfectly and delivered a performance that suggests there's still life in the old dog yet. It'd be interesting to see the actor team up something like, say, Alexander Payne, and really turn the grumpy old man shtick up a notch. It could have sensational results.
The 69-year-old has no less than eight projects currently in development, some more intriguing than others. Should he miss out on Best Supporting Actor this year, De Niro still has a movie by the name of The Comedian tucked away for a rainy day. It's directed by Sean Penn, follows the life of an aging insult comic, and has Academy Awards written all over it. It's great to see De Niro back where he belongs, though don't be surprised if he's already booking his Oscars hotel for next year.
Watch the Silver Linings Playbook trailer: