Hitchcock Moves Into Oscar Race (MovieMantz)

Good Eeeevening, indeed!

Just when it looked like this year’s Oscar race was starting to take shape – thanks to the big bows received by the likes of “Argo,” “The Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Master” (among others) at the Telluride, Toronto and Venice film festivals – along comes a last-minute entry to the fall schedule that could change the game considerably.

Fox Searchlight announced that it will open “Hitchcock” on November 23 – that’s just about two months away. Since the highly anticipated drama tells the story of legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock and his relationship with his wife, Alma Reville, during the making of his landmark classic “Psycho,” the surprise move by the specialty division seems worthy of the Master of Suspense himself.

And “Hitchcock” is certainly graced with some serious awards season pedigree. Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins (Best Actor for 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs”) plays the famed filmmaker, and if his performance is anything like his uncanny appearance in the just-released one-sheet, he’ll get nominated for sure. The same goes for Oscar-winner Helen Mirren (Best Actress for 2006’s “The Queen”), who plays Hitch’s wife.

Then there’s Fox Searchlight, which has a great track record with the Academy Awards. In addition to nurturing the campaign of 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire” from the fall film festivals all the way through to its wins for Best Picture and Best Director at the Oscars six months later, there was also the last minute addition of “Crazy Heart” to the Holiday Season of 2009, which earned Jeff Bridges his first Oscar for Best Actor.

And after “The Artist” won a slew of awards – including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor – at this year’s Oscars, Academy members might want to continue their self-congratulatory mode by honoring yet another film that pays tribute to the classic days of Hollywood. “Psycho” is inarguably one of the most famous suspense thrillers of all time, and watching the genesis of the groundbreaking shower scene as re-created by Scarlett Johansson (who plays Janet Leigh) and James D’Arcy (Anthony Perkin) could alone be worth the price of admission.

Of course, the jury is still out until anyone actually sees “Hitchcock.” The same goes for other potential awards contenders like “Lincoln” and “Les Miserables.” But for a film that didn’t even wrap until this past May, the prospect of seeing a film like “Hitchcock” is just about as suspenseful as anything the Hitch himself brought to the screen.

-- Scott Mantz

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