In terms of Oscar contenders this year, Fox Searchlight wasn’t looking like the contenders they have been in the past. They’ve had an odd 2012 with excellent films like “Sound Of My Voice” and “Ruby Sparks” failing to find the audiences they deserved, while “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” mostly crushed it overseas. But on the other hand, their Sundance acquisition “Beasts of the Southern Wild” wowed crowds and has a shot at awards season glory, at the very least for Quvenzhané Wallis (though we think the movie will be too odd to catch on any further with stodgier Oscar voters). But they’ve got one more ace up their sleeve, and sorry, it’s not Park Chan-wook‘s “Stoker.”
While initial reports suggested the movie wouldn’t be ready in time, it looks like everything will be good to go as Fox Searchlight will roll out Sacha Gervasi‘s “Hitchcock” on November 23rd. So how much Oscar potential does this have? Well, first off, it’s got Anthony Hopkins playing the great Alfred Hitchcock, with a supporting cast that includes (very deep breath) Helen Mirren as his wife Alma, Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles, Toni Colette as the director’s assistant Peggy Robertson, Danny Huston as Alma’s friend Whitfield Cook, and Michael Stuhlbarg as legendary agent and Hollywood figure Lew Wasserman. Michael Wincott will be playing Ed Gein, the real-life murderer who inspired the book and subsequent film; Kurtwood Smith (aka Red Forman from “That ’70s Show“) will play Geoffrey Shurlock of the Motion Picture Production Code (which became the MPAA); Wallace Langham is Saul Bass; and Ralph Macchio is Joe Stefano. And, oh yeah, Danny Elfman is providing the score.
Adapted for the screen by John McLaughlin (“Black Swan“) and based on the book by Stephen Rebello, the story will follow the tumultuous production of “Psycho,” which Hitchcock only undertook after plans to helm “No Bail For The Judge” were scuttled after Audrey Hepburn became pregnant. Unenthused by “Psycho,” Paramount gave Hitchcock a paltry budget, forcing him to back the movie through his own production shingle, build his own sets and use crew from his TV show “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”
This is a bit of a swift move by Fox Searchlight, which shakes the game up to a strong degree, but it also explains why their checkbooks were closed at TIFF this year. Looks like Oscar prognosticators will be spending the afternoon readjusting their charts.