You should have heard the crowd chortle with delight when Bill Hurt went into his irritated-older-brother shpiel in the last act of A History of Violence at the Grove yesterday afternoon. Hurt had them in the palm of his hand. He got a laugh with almost every line, every facial tic…and it was fantastic to feel a performance work as well as this. Being there put all doubts to rest: Hurt will be one of the Best Supporting Actor nominees when they’re announced in January. A performance that rocks as well as this one can’t not be recognized. Hurt nails it the way Beatrice Straight nailed it with that one marital-outburst scene in Network, opposite Bill Holden. There was a 4 pm and a 5 pm show on Saturday (I went to the latter), and nearly every seat was taken. And that ending…whoa.