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

10:11 AM PST 01/25/2011 by Pamela McClintock
Jojo Whilden

“If you have a couple of rough years, it means the world to you to get back up on your feet,” he tells THR.

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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