In the first of our Oscars 2014 prediction series, we take a look at American Hustle, David O Russell’s follow up to last year’s highly acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence return to add to an impressive cast, but can O Russell build upon steering his leading lady to a Best Actress win?

Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer LawrenceAmy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle

The film has a touch of the ‘Argo’ about it – and not the popular British catalogue-based retail chain. No, last year’s winning film – Ben Affleck’s winning film. It chronicles FBI's 1978 ABSCAM sting operation, designed to bring down a series of corrupt public officials.

Like Argo, American Hustle has funny clothes and is based on a true story. Christian Bale is a con artist working for the FBI with his wife (Laurence) and lover (Amy Adams). Cooper is an agent, while Robert De Niro returns to the O Russell team. Louis CK, Jack Huston and Michael Pena also star.

Check out the trailer for American Hustle

While Silver Linings was a character drama, this period thriller will encompass Hair and Make Up and Best Costume Design in addition to actor nods for anything up to four categories. Don’t be surprised to see a best screenplay nod for this one, but it’s difficult to see another based-on-a-true-story thriller set in the late 70s/early 80s winning the big prize.

Amy Adams and Christian BaleAmy Adams and Christian Bale are reunited from their time on The Fighter

It might not turn out so well for O Russell et al, though; this film has enjoyed a quick turnaround. Sometimes it’s not noticeable, sometimes you can really tell the film took under a year to make. O Russell might have been better advised to mount an attack on the 2015 Academy Awards, but that’s not to say he won’t pull something special off.

American HustleAmerican Hustle looks to be a trong Oscar contender

American Hustle opens to a limited release on December 13th before being released on Christmas Day nationwide. This seems like a strange Christmas film, but that’s not for us to worry about. UK audiences, you can see it on Boxing Day.

As ever, we'd love to hear your thoughts on who and what films will prevail at the Oscars 2014. Let us know in the comments section below. But first, one last film still.

Bradley Cooper and Christian BaleAnd it's a good one - Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale