'The Fighter's' David O. Russell on 7 Oscar Nominations: ‘It’s Huge for Me’

 Jojo Whilden

An ebullient David O'Russell said he was “over the moon” with gratitude for his first-ever Oscar nomination, in any category (The Fighter received a total of seven noms, including best picture and best director). 

“It’s huge for me. If you have a couple of rough years, it means the world to you to get back up on your feet,” Russell said. 
 
The filmmaker admitted he had a hard time falling asleep Monday night at his home in Los Angeles, and kept telling himself that the real victory was getting to make The Fighter, based on the rough-and-tumble story of boxers/brothers Dicky Eklund and Micky Ward. 
 
“That’s something that nobody can take away. It was never just a boxing story. It’s really a story of these amazing people with huge hearts. And they inspire me. The nominations are a great legacy for them, their family and their town [Lowell, MA.]” 
 
Russell said he finally fell asleep about 2:30 a.m., only to be woken up a few hours later by one of his two rescue dogs. 
 
“My dog must have had ESP," he said. "I told myself I had to go back to sleep, and then the phone started ringing. I knew that was a good sign.” 
 
The fact that the Oscar nods were announced during the Sundance Film Festival was a special footnote for Russell, whose first feature, Spanking the Monkey, won the Sundance audience award in 1994. “It’s come full circle,” he said.
 
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