In Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams, Hollywood has two confident, assertive, talented and self-aware women, more than poised to fight the fight against the patriarchy that is 2013’s film industry.

And while their roles in American Hustle can’t be described as dominant, neither are they submissive and meek. Lawrence plays a housewife – an odd sentence to follow up an opening paragraph that hints at forward thinking and equality – but that she does.

Watch the trailer for American Hustle

“Jennifer Lawrence is brilliant as the neurotic housewife with a knack for destruction,” comments Geoffrey Macnab in his review for the Independent. But Rosalyn Rosenfeld – wife of Irvin, the notorious con-artist on which the film is based – is defiant, sometimes nasty, and without swearing, doesn’t take any muck.

She is, essentially, the cog that wouldn’t rotate; rendering plans null in her path to destruction while the men live out their fantasies.

Amy Adams plays her nemesis in the film, Sydney Prosser - a scheming wildcard with a penchant for danger. Irvin’s mistress - which gives you a good idea as to why she’s Rosalyn’s ‘nemesis’ - can be just as deceitful, power-hungry and jealous as any man in American Hustle, making for an equal footing.

Read our review of American Hustle

But, like many former Disney stars, the road to serious, affecting roles like that of Sydney take time; time and rehabilitation.

“I’ve definitely struggled with re-invention, not only as an actress but as a woman, and there were several times when I’ve had to look at the choices I’d made and readjust myself,” she told The Mirror.

“There was a time in my twenties when I was trying very hard to be what everyone else wanted me to be, so I was putting too much weight on other people’s opinions and I wasn’t being my authentic self. That kept me from finding happiness in my relationships and finding my niche in Hollywood.”

So with a reinvented Adams, and a strong female role model in Lawrence – whose escapades in The Hunger Games have seen her lauded as one of the decade’s most healthy female icons – the Oscars 2013 will hopefully see an even bigger female influence, even if the Best Actor award is till second only in gravity to Best Film.

American Hustle poster