How do you know when you’re the official Oscar frontrunner? When the backlash really begins. Following controversies involving eventual Best Picture winners Slumdog Millionaire (the kids weren’t looked after!), The Hurt Locker (the story was stolen!), and The King’s Speech (the Nazism was diluted!), The Artist has now come under fire for its use of some of Bernard Herrmann’s musical score from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.
In a full-page ad in Variety, Vertigo star Kim Novak (an Oscar voter, it should be noted) called the use of Herrmann’s work ”cheating” and wrote, ”I want to report a rape. I feel as if my body — or, at least my body of work — has been violated…. Shame on them!” Smartly avoiding any comment on Novak’s poor word choice, Artist director Michel Hazanavicius responded in a statement: ”The Artist was made as a love letter to cinema…. I love Bernard Herrmann and his music has been used in many different films and I’m very pleased to have it in mine.”
As for the potential fallout? Even though the use of Vertigo passages isn’t a new revelation, some members of the music branch may now think twice about nominating Ludovic Bource’s original score — which the Academy itself deemed eligible. But when it comes to the year’s biggest prize, Best Picture, The Artist is still the movie to beat.