Anthony Hopkins considers it backside-kissing season. And he has no intention of doing it.
The star of Hitchcock, who is contending in the crowded Best Actor field this year, has given a lively interview to The Huffington Post’s Christopher Rosen in which he not only slams the politicking of awards season, but takes a not-so-veiled shot at Lincoln’s Daniel Day-Lewis, who is likely to win this year.
When Joaquin Phoenix characterized award season as “total, utter bullsh-t” a few weeks ago, I wrote that it may actually have helped his chances by criticizing the glad-handing process, which many in the Academy agree can be a bit of a slog. Hopkins is even more blunt.
“You know, kissing the backside of the authorities that can make or break it; I can’t stand all that,” The Silence of the Lambs Oscar-winner told The Huffington Post. “I find it nauseating to watch and I think it’s disgusting to behold. People groveling around and kissing the backsides of famous producers and all that. It makes me want to throw up, it really does. It’s sick-making. I’ve seen it so many times. I saw it fairly recently, last year. Some great producer-mogul and everyone kisses this guy’s backside. I think, ‘What are they doing? Don’t they have any self respect?’ I wanted to say, ‘F–k off.’”
Well. It’s easy to picture this conversation taking place between the plexiglass wall of a cell, isn’t it?
Hopkins’ work in Hitchcock, enhanced by prosthetics and make-up to make him more closely resemble the iconic director, was always a bit of a long-shot for Best Actor (Helen Mirren as his wife, Alma, is a much safer bet), so it’s not clear whether this will cost him very much in the long-run. Like Phoenix, it could put him on voter radars for a little while. Dissing the campaign process is, paradoxically, not a bad campaign tool.
But what could hurt Hopkins is a seemingly ungracious attitude toward his fellow actors. Especially one that is currently universally admired.
“A lot has been made about how the cast of Lincoln mostly stayed in character during that film’s production. Is that something you like to do?” Rosen asks.
“I think that’s a lot of crap,” Hopkins replies, in part.
He goes on to say that extreme method of performing is unpleasant for co-stars. “Who the hell wants to be with some miserable grump because he wants to get his performance right, so you have to call him this or call him that? It’s so boring. I’ve been with actors like that and they’re a pain in the ass, they really are.”
It’s hard to know what this will mean for Hopkins’ chances. My guess is that the makers of Hitchcock won’t be happy, and some voters will write him off. But then … there could be many voting members of the Academy who agree with him, and roll their eyes at that extreme method of performing. Remember Laurence Olivier’s legendary remark to Dustin Hoffman, who worked himself to exhaustion before a scene in Marathon Man: “Try acting.”
Whatever the case, Oscar nominee does not seem to be a role Hopkins is interested in playing this year.
He does have compelling things to say about Hitchcock, including the brief meeting he once had with the real man. Check out The Huffington Post Q&A for more.
For more on the best movies of Oscar season