a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Archive for November, 2012

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Oscar’s Surprise Nominee from “Les Miz” ~ Eddie Redmayne!

Of all the awards huzzahs coming out of the NYC screenings of “Les Miserables” yesterday, none could be more of a pleasant surprise than the startling agreement among all who attended that the Best Supporting Actor from “Les Miz” is not neccasarily Russell Crowe as the villain Javert, but Eddie Redmayne in the usually thankless role of the young hero Marius! Raves for Eddie and his untofore unheard beautiful ringing tenor voice moved the audience to tears! And Cheers! Here he is last year discussing “Marilyn” via Satellite from London!

Eddie Redmayne ~ Best Supporting Actor for “Les Miz”?

As the reviews keep trickling in, http://www.movieline.com is positing the interesting theory that it is Eddie Redmayne as Marius, the romantic interest, who sings “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables” and many other numbers, that is emerging as the surprise potential nominee from the early screenings today of “Les Miz” in NYC.

Russell Crowe’s singing as expected isn’t up to the operatic demands of the score and movieline thinks that Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham-Carter as the villainous comic relief are just well, out of place, with the somber tone of the overall movie.

But people WERE crying. And cheering. And jumping to their feet and shouting “thank you” to Anne Hathaway, who seems the most likely nominee now for Best Supporting Actress. Fantine is a relatively short role in this long (2 hr.35 min.) musical, but she seems to be catching fire like nobody’s business in Supp. Actress.

So movieline thinks that the Best Supporting Actor in “Les Miserables” is Eddie Redmayne. Ok. I’ll buy that. Game on! I’ll second that emotion.

People crying, cheering, jumping to their feet? Sounds like an Oscar winner to me.

“Les Miz” First Preview in NYC to Cheers! Standing O! Could get historic 16 Oscar Nominations!

“Les Miserables” previewed this afternoon to a packed, cheering crowd at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. And the reaction is ecstatic according to those who were there, applause at the end of every number, and standing ovation and cheers greeting director Tom Hooper and the cast members Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne who were there also in attendance.

Kris Tapley at http://www.hitfix.com who was there and who has that wonderful podcast with Anne Thompson every week called Oscar Talk(but not this week) says in the comments his just-printed piece is getting that he thinks that Hugh Jackman(Jean Valjean), Russell Crowed(Javert), Anne Hathaway(Fantine), Eddie Redmayne(Marius), Amanda Seyfried(Cossette), Samantha Barks(Eponine), Sacha Baron Cohen(Thernadier) and Helena Bonham-Carter (M. Thernadier) could ALLLL get nominations.

Well, that sounds like a SAG Ensemble nod right there.(There as a screening earlier today for their nominating committee) and if Tapley is RIGHT. That’s One lead Best Actor for Jackman. THREE Supporting Actor nods of Redmayne, Crowe and Cohen and FOUR for Best Supp. Actress for Hathaway, Seyfried, Barks, and Bonham-Carter.

Well, THAT alone would be historic and mean that “Les Miz” is going to end up with a staggering number of nominations. Maybe the highest vote total ever.

Best Picture, Best Director(Hooper), Best Actor, 3 Best Supp. Actors, 4 Best Supp. Actresses, Best Original Song(They added one called “Suddenly”) Best Costumes, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing. That’s SIXTEEN!

I’m not counting Best Score, because that has to be written directly for the screen, but this certainly was not.

Scott Feinberg at http://www.thehollywoodreporter.com is a bit more balanced than Tapley. He thinks Jackman in a very crowded Best Actor race SHOULD be nominated but may struggle to get in. And he thinks that only Hathaway is a slam-dunk in the Supporting races.

I’m just THRILLED! I can’t wait to see it!

And I bet you can’t either. It opens on Christmas Day.

Video

Happy Thanksgiving! Ann Dowd, Part 2!

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers, dear cineastes, and here’s what I have to be thankful for! This second part of this wonderful video interview with Oscar Seeker Ann Dowd of “Compliance”! Imagine ME, being actually approached to help with an actual Oscar campaign! And being effective at it, it seems! Enjoy!

Camera & Editing by Kevin Teller

Video

Oscar Hopeful Ann Dowd of “Compliance”, Pt.1

A very brave and courageous, nevermind talented lady, Ann Dowd, is trying to mount her OWN ONE-WOMAN Oscar campaign for Best Supporting Actress, even though she’s the lead, in  Sundance sensation “Compliance.” Listen as Ann explains all.

Camera & Editing ~ Kevin Teller

Oscar Collision ~ Too Many Best Actors

This year the Oscar Best Actor category is screaming with the sounds of too many viable Best Actor candidates colliding with & virtually  killing each other to get into the race. There are only five slots. And seven talked-about performances.

Everyone puts Daniel Day Lewis’s Abraham Lincoln at the top. But I don’t. And cold, technical performance that bored me to tears and left me wanting something that Day-Lewis doesn’t have in abundance – warmth. He’s not a warm cuddly Lincoln. He’s, well, a British Lincoln.

Why couldn’t they have gotten an American actor to play Lincoln? That’s basically what’s wrong with it. PLUS it’s like eating Brussel Sprouts for two and a half hours. It’s good for you, THEY SAY. But oh the taste!

But people are still ranking him #1. But he’s got two Oscars already. A stumbling block you can’t erase. But he will likely get nominated despite the Brussels Sprout Factor.

Most likely to unseat him is the still unseen Hugh Jackman in”Les Miserables.” He’s also the only one of these guys in a musical. Which is either a huge plus, or a huge minus.I’m sure the always terrific Jackson delivers as he always has in the past. He’s never had a part like this before. He’s hosted the Oscars, successfully, and if he’s as good as I’m hearing, he’s in like flint.

Denzel Washington has gotten rave reviews for his alcoholic pilot in”Flight” and  is doing very well at the box office. He’s an almost knee-jerk reaction. If he’s THIS good, they just nominate him. But he’s got two Oscars already, too, like Day-Lewis, this is probably an obstacle he can’t overcome. Or hide.And “Flight” is being named “a popcorn movie.”

I don’t think Bradley Cooper in the just opening Rom Com “Silver Linings Playbook” is gonna make the cut. It’s a comedy and he’s totally overshadowed by his co-star Jennifer Lawrence who looks like she’s going to not only get nominated but win.

Cooper, playing a manic-depressive SCREAMS his way through two-thirds of the movie, TRYING to make you believe he’s manic. It’s inaccurate and I found THAT depressing. Bi-polar disorder is not something to be laughed about and certainly not something to be treated lightly. With the competition so tight, I don’t think he makes this cut.

Someone in a lightweight film, with serious undertones is Sir Anthony Hopkins, playing a beloved Hollywood Legend Sir Alfred Hitchcock, in the droll biopic “Hitchcock.” The Academy nominates him constantly and his total physical transformation into the corpulent legendary Master of Suspense hits all the right notes and is poignant and winning, too. He’s got one Oscar for “Silence of the Lambs” which was inspired by the serial killer Ed Gein, who is also a character in Hitchcock. His Hitchcock is haunted by the right ghosts. I say he gets in. AND he’s SIR Anthony Hopkins after all. And the Academy always feels it needs that touch of class. I liked his Hitch so much, I’ve seen it twice! Unlike “Lincoln” which I hope I never see again as long as I live.

Life’s too short for another “Lincoln.”

And then we have crybaby Joaquim Phoenix, who like Bradley Cooper, is in a Weinstein Co. production. His comments that Oscars are “total utter bullshit” may have eliminated him for this very competitive race. “The Master” was a polarizing movie that hasn’t done well anywhere. He, like Cooper, could get left out. He doesn’t have an Oscar, and probably at this rate never will. He’s apologizing all over the place now, but the damage his done. Will the ever-snobby, but sometimes forgiving, Actor’s Branch nominate him anyway? It such a tight year, it’s not looking solid for him. And Hitchcock himself NEVER won an Oscar for Best Director. Now being acknowledged as the greatest film maker of all time, the Academy may want to sort of correct his over-sight.

Then there’s the out-of-nowhere news that recent Supporting Actor winner of a couple of years back German Actor Christophe Waltz is going lead for the also still-unseen “Django Unchained.” A slightly desperate Weinstein ploy, methinks, because they sense that neither Bradley Cooper nor Joaquim Phoenix, will get in.

THEY know, the Weinstein Co. they KNOW how the tea leafs are reading and they are not spelling out TWC, as they have in the past two years for their magnificent winners in Best Picture and Best Actor, “The King’s Speech” and Colin Firth and “The Artist” and Jean DuJardin.

Putting Waltz in lead says something about his co-star Jamie Foxx, ANOTHER previous Oscar Winner for “Ray”. Guess they aren’t even considering he’s got the right stuff this year for a nod. And if he’s going up against Denzel….

Finally, the only other serious Best Actor contender is the simply stupendous Jon Hawkes, as the heart-breaking polio victim, in an iron lung no less. The Degree of Difficulty in “The Sessions” is off the charts, and I think that is going to rate with the Actor’s Branch.

So how I see it now – It’s Hugh Jackman, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington and Jon Hawkes.

With all of the Weinstein boys canceling each other out.

Sounds unbelievable, but it COULD happen.

JEFF WELLS Pre-TIFF’12 ~ Stephen Holt Show

The Internet Legend Himself Jeff Wells of http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com stops by for an entetraining chat about Porter Air and his trouble getting to Toronto for the Film Festival. He talks about Telluride, “The Master,” “Argo”, “Central Park Five”, “Amour” and many other films.

Oscar’s New “It” Girls ~Jennifer Lawrence V. Jessica Chastain

When it was announced last week that one of Oscar’s “It” Girls (last year’s version), was playing a leading role and not a supporting one, and was being campaigned as such, in the still-to-be-seen “Zero Dark Thirty,” the etherally beautiful redhead Jessica Chastain herself, it sent Oscarologists scrambling like frightened chickens.

Because OF COURSE the brilliant Chastain, who was a Supporting Actress nominee last year in “The Help”(she lost to cast member Octavia Spenser) was going to turn the Best Actress race upside down and shoot to the top of everyone’s list, again sight unseen. Well, wasn’t she?

Everybody and his brother it seems is trying to topple purported front-runner for “Silver Linings Playbook”, the Weinstein Co.s Oscar “It” girl and a former nominee for Best Actress for “Winter’s Bone”, Jennifer Lawrence.

It is said the equally beautiful Lawrence is so out in front of all other contenders this year at the tender age of 22, that all we who do this are left with is trying to figure who else will be nominated, not who will win in that coveted category. Jennifer Lawrence has already won this. So say ye pundits all.

St. Ann Thompson of http://www.indirewire.com Thompson on Hollywood says that Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook” is a “slam-dunk” Lawrence also tops the Gurus o’ Gold chart by double digits. Check them out at David Poland’s http://www.moviecitynews.com. She’s Numero Uno at http://www.Goldderby.com, too  . I saw “SLP” today and I have to admit, yup, I think they might all just be right.

Light as air and paper thin as a potato chip, for all its’ background setting of manic depression and mental hospitals, “Silver Linings Playbook”s Jennifer Lawrence won me over. In spite of myself. I wasn’t a fan. I didn’t “Get” her, but now I do. She’s the new Elizabeth Taylor.

She’s an incredibly beautiful and photogenic young woman with a slammin’ body. She’s big, too, in all the right places.At 5’9′,’statuesque would be a good way of putting it. Curvaceous. And you see, she makes everyone fall in love with her. And yes, that’s a list that now includes me. Until today, an ardent anti-fan.

In “Silver Linings Playbook,” she won me over. She didn’t have me at “Hello,” but by the end of this film, she had me. She’s moving. You come to care about her. It’s her, a not the male lead “The Hangover”s Bradley Cooper, who is the emotional center of this wacky, wonky, weird film.

She’s got timing on her side,too. Oscarologists call it “momentum.”

It’s ONCE AGAIN ” a weak year for Best Actresses.” Some say the front-runner is 8-year-old Qu’venzhane Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” And even though I have just been informed that she has indeed joined SAG, the disqualification of her from SAG Award voting consideration still, unfortunately, stands.

So Jennifer Lawrence’s massive lead still endures, and she’s VERY sympathetic in SLP. She’s poignant. She’s trying to get  Cooper’s Manic Depressive mess, Patrick, to fall in love with her, and what director/writer David O. Russell is also deftly doing is trying to get the audience,the WORLD to fall in love with her damaged widow and ex-sex-addict Tiffany. And it seems to be  working. Lawrence may be crowned in February, the new Queen of Hollywood.

“Silver Linings Playbook” won the Audience Award at Toronto and also the Hamptons Film Festivals. And the Weinstein Co. is seeing this as their major Oscar contender now that “The Master” has pretty much tanked all over the place.

The release date says everything about an Oscar seeking film. And Harvey Weinstein knows how to position his fillies JUST RIGHT. I thought that “The Master”s early Sept. bow was odd, to say the least.

And the still unseen “Django Unchained” is opening strangely late. On Christmas Day, no less. For a Quentin Tarantino civil war/revenge tale with a great deal of gore in store, that seems a bit late, too. And a bit odd.

But HW placed “Silver Linings Playbook” just right. Right in the middle of Oscar season’s Phase One. Which is RIGHT NOW. That should have told us everything. In fact, TWC has even moved its’ release date one week earlier. To NEXT week. And then it’s going wide. VERY wide.

In the end “Silver Linings Playbook” is a Rom Com. A very well done and starrily cast rom-com with Robert DeNiro,  even, as the hero’s OCD Dad. And it’s not much more than that. And it’s the old Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Gets Girl story. Comedies and comedic performances like Lawrence’s don’t usually get the gold. Soubrettes don’t win Oscars. Or do they?

So therefore someone with gravitas, like the Juilliard-trained Jessica Chastain, it is thought, could sneak in with a last-minute serious role in a drama. Anthony Breznican, the new Oscar Analyst at EW, puts Jessica first and she’s even *gasp* on the COVER of their upcoming Holiday Preview Issue. And so is “Les Mis” and Bilbo Baggins and  Abraham Lincoln and Santa Claus.

So gentlemen, it looks like we have a contest brewing for Bactress.

Chastain’s the CIA operative, who for ten years drives the hunt to find and kill Osama Ben Laden. “Zero Dark Thirty” is the code name for this operation. And Katherine Bigelow, the first female director to ever have won an Oscar (for “The Hurt Locker” three years ago), is helming it. Marc Boal of “The Hurt Locker” did the screenplay and it’s film editor, is the same film editor who just edited “Argo” so stirringly. Is that good or bad? The trailers look AWFULLY similar to “Argo”s and in them Chastain utters not ONE WORD. Er,….Are they hiding something? Saving the best for last?

So of course this news is giving Oscarologists pause. Chastain was in a staggering SEVEN films last year. And her range is thought to be limitless. I have never seen her be anything less than brilliant.

Until last night when I saw “The Heiress” on Broadway and the role of the spinterish, repressed Catherine Sloper, defeated her roundly in the first act. Chastain, like Lawrence, is a great beauty, and both Chastain and Lawrence are well on their way to being screen legends.

Lawrence, in “The Hunger Games” raked in a total of something like $400 million this year, quite a feat for a franchise anchored on a woman.

But I just couldn’t buy Chastain as homely and socially awkward in the first act in the worst wig I’ve ever seen on a Broadway stage.”The Heiress” Act I was like a bad sitcom.

Cherry Jones on Bway in ’95 (she won a Tony) and Olivia de Havilland in the classic movie (she won an Oscar ) were too clearly in my mind. They really SEEMED plain. They weren’t ACTING plain. Plain is something you can’t act anyway. But in “The Heiress” Jessica Chastain unfortunately tries to do so. And that wig makes her look like a white Topsy.

However in the second act, when Catherine begins to transform, Chastain changes into a better wig, which helped her  step up her game and passably helped her redeem herself. But only just. She was totally believable by the chilling end of “The Heiress.”

Two time Tony Winner Judith Ivey stole the show as the pitty-pattiest of Aunts. And director Moises Kaufman’s all-over-the map direction directed everybody except Ivey in the wrong direction. Ivey had the Henry James style right and showed up everyone else as hollow or misguided.

Chastain also had no help at all from the men on stage with her, the usually reliable David Strathairn and the all-but-invisible “Downtown Abbey”s Dan Stevens. Strathairn seemed to be trying to make the necessary ogre of Catherine’s father, Dr. Sloper into someone nice and warm, almost like a tea-cozy. And Dan Stevens seemed to disappear into the furniture every time he appeared to enter .

On screen, Sir Ralph Richardson, in his greatest screen performance,, was frightening beyond belief as one of the most monstrous fathers in cinema history. And Montgomery Clift, in his movie debut, was unforgettable as the wastrel suitor, Morris Townsend. IOW, Chastain couldn’t carry his rangey leading role. Or did so just by the skin of her beautiful teeth.

Will her role in “Zero Dark Thirty” be strong enough to upset Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar Love Fest? Will dark drama trump light comedy?  We’ll just have to wait and see.

So BORED & ANGRY at “Lincoln” I was spitting nickels! Er, pennies…

I was so BORED, DISAPPOINTED & ANGRY at “Lincoln” that I was literally spitting nickels. Or in this case, pennies. Which he’s on.  “Lincoln” is everywhere these days. Opening one day after the election, it kinda sorta got included in mucho campaign overspill. Thank god Obama won, is all I can say. For many reasons. Because otherwise the Steven Spielberg self-proclaimed “masterpiece” would be DOA. Or it’s Oscar campaign would.

I’m totally down with the politics that are advocated in this movie, obviously. But to turn the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th amendment (and no, they are NOT the same thing, as this dull, dull,dull history lesson  endlessly repeats ) into a, well, …a very dull history movie, it’s just inexcusable coming from a big studio who should know better like Disney. They spent milllions on this historic creation that that did better in their Lincoln exhibit with robots in Disneyland.

And no, I do not think “Lincoln” is a slam dunk for Best Picture. A nomination, probably, but then the Academy routinely nominated both the inferior “Munich,” and also last year the schmaltzy “War Horse” but neither won anything and “Lincoln” may come up empty-handed like Spielberg’s “The Color Purple” did years ago.

Audiences are going to be very, very VERY bored with the ENDLESS talk, talk, talkiness of the over-written, under-dramatized script by Tony Kusher. Hell, the actors could barely get their lines out the language was so abstruse. And it contains a cast of 1000s. Or hundreds So many characters, each with a line or two you can barely keep them straight. Spielberg throws THE ENTIRE House of Representatives at us one bore at a time, and while that may be historically accurate…it makes for a damed boring sit.

Believe it or not, Sally Field (of all people) saves “Lincoln” from being a total disaster. As the borderline crazy Mary Todd Lincoln, his hysterical wife, Field amazingly humanizes her complexity, and makes Daniel Day-Lewis’s cigar store, animatronic,Disneyland Lincoln come alive for the few scenes she has with him.

Ditto Tom Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stephens a fiery, radical Abolitionist. Jones is just magnificent and funny and in a bad wig (that I actually LIKED on him)is just grand. He steals the picture and is able to say these complex words and phrases of Kusher’s (and some that Stephens evidently actually said himself) and makes them compelling and yes, even funny.

But Day-Lewis is more like DEAD Lewis here. It’s such a strained and restrained introverted interior performance that the camera can barely catch a glimmer in his dark,depthless eyes.

Walking and acting and sounding for all the world like WALTER BRENNAN(!?!?!) he just kills the movie with this monotonal performance. He LOOKS like Lincoln, granted, but Lincoln MUST have had a great charisma and warmth that is certainly not on display here.

And with two Oscars for Best Actor already in his pocket Day-Lewis will probably get another nomination because of his startling resemblance to the head on the penny in your pocket, but a win? It’s NOT a slam dunk.

Nobody’s seen “Les Miz” yet, but I think the field is wide open for somebody whose performance burns up the screen, like, we hope, Hugh Jackman does in “Les Miz” as Jean Valjean. Sir Anthony Hopkins as Sir Alfred Hitchcock electrified the layers of latex he had to act through in “Hitchcock.” He could win.

I’m FINALLY seeing “Silver Linings Playbook” tomorrow, so I will see if  hunk Bradley Cooper has the goods to go for the gold, but in a crowded best actor field like this, even someone as supposedly secure as Joaquim(‘The Oscars are utter bullshit”) Phoenix may not even get in. Denzel Washington is getting huzzahs for “Flight” which I also haven’t seen yet. And Jon Hawkes in an iron lung in “The Sessions”, you just CAN’T leave him out.

And with two Oscars already, and another dead Spielberg horse that he’s whipping, albeit listlessly, Day-Lewis just may not be the Academy’s cup of tea if this film tanks with audiences. The critics seem to be more partial to this History Channel really, really good episode that somehow got turned into a movie, but if it flops at the box-office…And the same goes for Sally Field. She’s got two Oscars already. And so a nomination, but not a win, and Tommy Lee Jones has one, too.

Of all of the above Jones stands the best chance, but just a few minutes ago Harvey Weinstein has announced they are running Christophe Waltz for lead in the yes, also still unseen til Christmas “Django Unchained” And THAT move is so that Best Supporting Actor is open in that movie for Leonardo DiCaprio to perhaps finally score his yet un-won Oscar as an evil Southern Plantation owner in Quentin Tarantino’s newest revenge drama.This one also set during the Civil War, and I’m sure we’ll actually SEE some African-Americans in “Django”. I counted THREE with speaking lines in “Lincoln” That’s just simply disgraceful. And Mary Todd Lincoln’s “maid” or “servant” looks like a model for Vogue. Terrible and terribly insulting to African-American woman, since she’s the only female member of that race that we see. God! This movie insulted just about EVERYbody’s intelligence!

When I finally see these remaining movies all will be revealed! Tomorrow,hopefully, has a Silver Lining with “Silver Linings Playbook.”

“Hitchcock” Rules the Oscar Race He Never Won in Lifetime! And Helen Mirren as His Unsung Wife Alma WOWOWOW!

I have to declare that “Hitchcock” which I saw last night is now a leading contender in the Oscar Race! Cra-zee about it!

I haven’t enjoyed a movie so much in YEARS! LOVED LOVED LOVED IT! And Dame Helen Mirren could really win herself a second Oscar for playing Alma Reville Hitchcock, a woman whose little-known story, has fascinated me  for YEARS, as much as Hitchcock himself

I watch at least ONE Hitchcock movie a week! I HAVE to! I just watched, then re-watched with commentary “Vertigo” this weekend! In “Hitchock” Sir Anthony Hopkins was a joy to behold and absolutely indelible as the Master Himself.

I was ENTHRALLED by the great Hitch and Alma’s life-long  love story and by the actors’ great tennis game of playing off each other so magnificently. Acting Royalty showing the reason why they were knighted and damed, respectively. I’m on SUCH a high from this delightful, droll movie and “Hitchcock” totally establishes Alma Reville as a historic film presence in her own right. AT LAST! I thought this was a wonderful tribute to a woman whose contribution to world cinema as been overlooked. Until NOW. WOWOWOW!

Alma Reville,, in her lifetime, also was a woman who has beloved by all who met her. Everybody behind-the-scenes, in “the biz” knew who she was and the contribution she made to all her husband’s films. And they had nothing but respect and admiration for her. Read her daughter Pat’s “Alma Hitchcock, The Woman Behind the Man.”

Arguably, Hitch couldn’t have done what he did without her. And this film delightfully, but firmly shows that. It plants Alma firmly in the Cinema Pantheon of Greats, great editor, great screen-writer, great co-producer. great force of nature, and Dame Helen Mirren embodies all that intelligence and quiet power, and sex appeal, too, in a role that will surely get her nominated for Best Actress and may even win her her second Oscar. Her first was for “The Queen” a few years back.

Mirren embodies all those small moments of caring and support and chagrin, as well as the big ones of fury and resentment. And there’s definitely an Oscar Night excerpt scene.  The “fight” scene, which got applause tonight, in an audience of (usually)unresponsive critics! Where Alma unbottles and throttles Hitchcock within an inch of his rotond  life.

And Sir Anthony Hopkins was perfection, too! I think they will both be nominated and the Academy is going to Love,Love, Love this movie and maybe give the Hitchcocks their belated Oscar due. I’m serious! What a great holiday treat from Fox Searchlight! And how thankful am I as a movie goer and critic and Oscarologist that Searchlight DID plunk it right in the middle of the Oscar race! RIGHT WHERE IT DESERVES TO BE! This was the surprise last-minute entry into the “Derby” as Tom O’Neil calls it. Or rather the Oscar season, to be more precise. Tom’s at www.goldderby.com, of course.

I can’t wait to shout it from the housetops!  And I’m shouting it now! I LOVED THIS MOVIE! And Scarlett Johansson! She’s JUST like Janet Leigh herself! I thought I WAS watching Janet Leigh, the pro’s pro, interact with all of the above. Problem with that role is that J.Leigh was a evidently a very circumspect, tight-lipped lady in person, evidently, so this undemonstrative role doesn’t really allow ScarJo to cut loose except in the infamous shower scene, which is re-acted quite vividly and frighteningly here.

And “Hitchcock” is very, very funny too. Hitchcock on John Gavin, “Psycho” s leading man, “He’s as expressive as piece of plywood.”  And “Just call me Hitch. And hold the cock.”

And there’s many, many more droll Hollywood quotes that were zinging by so fast, I can barely remember them. Let alone recount them all here.

And up-and-coming British actor James D’Arcy is great, too as Anthony Perkins. Who of course plays Norman Bates in “Psycho.”

He, who recently played umpteen roles in “Cloud Atlas” and was the Duke of Windsor in  Madonna’s “W/E,” just nails Perkins into the gound and so does Raplh Macchio, who has all of three minutes, or less to make an impression of “Psycho” screen-writer Joseph Stefano.

Jessica Biel has the easier role of resentful Hitchcock cast-off Vera Miles. She, who got pregnant, just at the start of “Vertigo”, and was famously replaced by Kim Novak And the rest is history. Hitchcock never get over that snub. As he never got over Ingrid Bergman forsaking him for Europe  and Roberto Rossilini and Grace Kelly for becoming HRH Princess Grace of Monaco.

“Vertigo” is now considered the Number One film of all time. Beating “Citizen Kane” this year in “Sight and Sound”s tally of the Greatest Film of All Time. Clearyly Kim Novak was the right choice for that role and gave the greatest performance of her career in it.

Hitchcock won again, but he was still bitter.

Someone notes that the role of Janet Leigh’s sister (Vera Miles) in “Psycho” is a “thankless” one, and Hitchcock retorts, “A thankless role for a thankless girl.”

Buried under what seems like literally tons of make-up and a sixty-pound fat suit, Sir Anthony Hopkins acts through the layers of latex and padding and it just seems to become HIM. Hitchcock.

Based on Stephen Rabello’s book “Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Psycho'”, the classic film is here a back-drop to Hitch’s love affair with his, until now, unknown wife. Hitch is 60. And so is Alma.

And he’s longing for a “return” to his former creative powers that he has begun to feel are dimming with time. He wants to do a low-budget slasher film, which is what “Psycho” was first perceived as, and nobody wants to fund it, so he has to do it himself.

He mortgages his house and pool, without even consulting Alma. Something I don’t think Hitch would ever have done IRL. True, he did have to mortage his house. And bascially financed “Psycho” himself. But he would, in real life, have asked Alma first. And she clearly said “Yes. Do it.” He never did anything without her say-so.

Lew Wasserman (his agent) here portrayed quite cannily by the great stage actor & Tony Winner Michael Stuhlbarg(who is also in “Lincoln.” I’ll review that in two days)gets him a great deal and the happy ending is in real life “Psycho” made millions. And garnered Janet Leigh a supporting actress nomination and Hitchcock another best director nod. But neither won.

How ironic it would be if Dame Helen Mirren won an Oscar for playing his wife or that Sir Anthony Hopkins did for playing Hitch himself. The Academy is going to love this film. It could even get into Best Picture!

Meanwhile, the only suspense YOU’LL feel, is “When am I going to see this great, fun movie?” It opens Thansgiving Day! It was SUCH a luxuriant experience I can’t wait to see it again!

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