Prize Fighter: Oscar buzz for older actresses Field, Mirren, Dench reflect importance of female storytelling

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Mirren, who herself has always straddled the line between smart, sexy, and seasoned, highlights all three qualities in Hitchcock, casting Oscar attention on her role as Alma Reville, the wife of Anthony Hopkins’ 60-year-old Master of Suspense director Alfred Hitchcock.

She’s unflinchingly direct, easily annoyed and also supportive, a wife with inside knowledge of a famed man. She jokingly tells Hopkins’ Hitchcock, “Yes, you’re a true relic, and lest we forget, a notably corpulent one.” She revises his scripts, and also puts him in his place. They sleep in separate beds, per the film’s late ’50s setting, and yet, she’s a shorthaired older knockout, surrounded by Hitchcock’s young, blonde ingénues.

Mirren, similar to Field, and Dench, mines her own experience, and a certain tweaked confidence.

“The actors are an extraordinarily precious resource, because they have traversed extraordinary careers, all of them: Judi, Maggie [Smith], and Helen Mirren,” said Madden. “They’re recognized immediately, and have a connection with an audience.”

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Oscar Guide: EW’s Prize Fighter on the four-way battle for Best Picture

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