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‘Hitchcock’ to Open in Nov. 2012, in Heart of Awards Race

Biopic stars Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren

"Hitchcock" is joining the Oscar hunt.

Fox Searchlight said it will release the biopic about the master of the macabre on Nov. 23, 2012, right in the heart of awards season.

The film stars Anthony Hopkins as the rotund and brilliant director Alfred Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as his wife, Alma. In a bit of casting that is sure to be a hit with the gentlemen, Scarlett Johansson will reenact the famous shower scene as "Psycho" star Janet Leigh. Rounding out the Oscar-bait cast are such critical favorites as Danny Huston, Toni Collette and Michael Stuhlbarg.

That could be important because Fox Searchlight had been light on top awards contenders thus far, with "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and the "The Sessions" seen as its strongest candidates. Of these, the brilliant but challenging "Beasts" probably has the best chance, while "The Sessions" is most likely to have the best chance of edging into the acting category.  If "Hitchcock" is good, it gives the company more presence in the Oscar race, where they usually have good success.

Also read: Benh Zeitlin on 'Beasts of the Southern Wild': 'We Want to Create New Myths'

"Hitchcock" does boast a plot drawn from one of Hollywood's favorite subjects — itself (see: "The Artist"). It will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the making of 1960 horror classic "Psycho," showing how the mercurial director cooked up the thrills and chills behind the story of a motelier who is a little bit … off. It is based on Stephen Rebello's book "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho," which traced the film's development, creation and popular reception. 

Sacha Gervasi ("Anvil! The Story of Anvil") directed from a script by John McLaughlin ("Black Swan"). 

"Hitchcock" will open in limited release two days after the debuts of two other Oscar-contenders, David O. Russell's comedy "Silver Linings Playbook" and Ang Lee's adaptation of the bestseller "Life of Pi," as well as the animated film "Rise of the Guardians."