‘Hitchcock’ adds suspense to the Oscars race

There’s a really creepy scene, Oscar wise, in “Hitchcock.” Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock lies on a therapist’s couch and, instead of confessing his perverted obsession with blondes or secret life as a peeping Tom, fumes over what’s really bothering him: his failure to win awards in Hollywood.

It’s clear that the snub gets under his skin as deep as the knife in “Psycho’s” shower. Now, this year, will academy members feel the sting, the guilt? Hitch never won an Oscar – even though his “Rebecca” won Best Picture of 1940. He lost Best Director, understandably, to John Ford (“The Grapes of Wrath”). Twenty years later, when he was nominated for helming “Psycho,” he lost to Billy Wilder (“The Apartment”) and “Psycho” failed to make the Best Picture list, getting bumped by John Wayne‘s lightweight “The Alamo.” All that is enough to make any Oscar contender go, well, psycho.

Now the auteur’s new biopic is poised for Hitchcockian-styled revenge at the Oscars. It’s a serious contender for Best Picture, lead actor (Hopkins), lead actress (Helen Mirren), adapted screenplay, makeup, music score and maybe art direction.

Hopkins nails Hitch perfectly – that fiendish inner life hidden under a deadpan demeanor, his shame at being physically repugnant to the lovelies he covets. Hopkins will certainly be nominated. Mirren is aces too – grandstanding magnificently in a scene when she emasculates Hitch for failing to appreciate her – and she’ll probably make the cut as well.

But what about the race for Best Picture? I think it’s got a very good chance if the list expands to 10 entries. “Hitchcock” is surprisingly good entertainment. Going in to see this movie, you anticipate academy-caliber performances from Oscar royals Hopkins and Mirren, but, frankly, I didn’t expect much more than a history lesson on the struggle to get “Psycho” made.

But when the film unspooled at AFI Fest on Thursday night, the audience burst into wild huzzahs at the end. This “Hitchcock” is so well made, so much fun and so suspenseful that it would make the original Hitchcock proud.

More important than that — this movie will certainly get under the skin of academy members because of who they are, let’s face it: balding, chunky geezers with their own secret lusts and resentments, who battle against crazy Hollywood every day to get their movies made. “Hitchcock” is the psycho story of their lives.

And remember: another flick about the struggle to make movies in historical Hollywood won Best Picture last year – “The Artist.”  I don’t think “Hitchcock” can win this derby, but a good case can be made for a nomination.

One thought on “‘Hitchcock’ adds suspense to the Oscars race

  1. I just listened to your podcast with Thelma (whatever her name is), and it was one the most painful experiences I’ve had in 2012. Is she in her ninties or perhaps in her 0ne hundreds? Every sentence contained a cliche and a ridiculous statement. My 83 year old grandmother is 83 and has advance alzheimers, and yet she is more cogent than this babbling (supposed Oscar expert). The whole discussion of award potential films is increasingly being undermined by shockingly inept discussions. One longs for Ebert and Roeper after being assaulted with inane dialogue and shockingly stupid conversations like I was just witness to. Please stop making these podcasts. This one , in particular, was particularily offensive because it was just a series of idiotic brain farts that, frankly, should embarrass anyone who proclaims to be an expert. I cannot stress how inane this conversation was. Obviously you will suggest that I just not listen. Well I am way ahead of you. I will not be listening to this podcast any longer. It was bad before, but has managed to surpass it’s previous superficialites. Dreadful would be a kind word to describe this kind of empty-headed discussion. And Thelma’s constant refrain, I don’t know, what about this and what about that”. I was hoping she would magical be inserted into the scene in Python’s The Meaning of Life, where the obnoxcious foursome are killed by the grim reaper and a poisonous chocolate mousse. Perhaps you two geniuses could purchase some and gorge for a week, or until you stop talking. However, I have a hunch that Thelma, though poisoned, would still manage to repeatedly blubber in cliches and pronounce the phrase, “What do you think about this”, as though in an echo chamber that goes on and on and on…ad infinitum. I will not be listening to this rubish again. You may be one of the first with oscar talk podcast (along with Sasha Stone), which you ingloriously promoted with pride, but your podcasts are worthless and embarrassing. Kris Tapley, Anne Thompson, Linoleum Knife, etc are not Siskel or Ebert, but compared with you two, they are Chekov. Thelma should how ridiculously irrelevant she was when at one point she said that Seth McFarlane was no Bob Hope. That statement alone is a testament to how out of touch, fossilized and irrelevant the gobs that dribble from her pie-hole are. Absolutely shameful! If you both like making fools of yourselves, by all means continue these innocuos ramblings. I, and many of my friends who listened to this tonight, will no longer be torturing our ears with this mindless drivel. Shameful!

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