BootLeg Betty

BetteBack January 3, 1980: Predicting The Oscar Nominations

Pacific Stars And Stripes
January 3, 1980

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Insiders report that studios are earmarking record amounts for industry campaigns targeted at assuring that their pictures won’t be left at the starting gate in the upcoming Oscar race. And with good reason. For never in recent years has competition been so fierce — and never have so many firms invested so much in films whose box office would be immeasurably helped by Academy Award recognition.

You can be sure Columbia and Universal will be trying to add some luster to their $30 million “1941” disaster with a Special Effects Oscar, and that Disney will be competing for the same award of its $20 million “The Black Hole.” And that Paramount will be in there pitching for “Star Trek,” which, in spite of weak reviews, took off like a meteor <— but which still has a long way to go to hit its $100 million break-even mark.

Actually, last year Best Picture honors could go with honor to any of a dozen pictures. At this point top contenders include “All That Jazz,” “Apocalypce Now,” “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “The Onion Field,” “The Seduction of Joe Tynan,” “China Syndrome,” “Being There,” “Manhattan,” “The Rose,” “Norma Rae,” and “Chapter Two.”

The Best Actor race will be even more fierce, with a big push already being mounted for Roy Scheider (“All That Jazz”), Alan Alda (“Joe Tynan”), Dustin Hoffman (“Kramer vs. Kramer”), Jack Lemmon (“China Syndrome”), Peter Sellers (“Being There”), Burt Reynolds (“Starting Over”), and Al Pacino (“. . .And Justice for All”). And also sure to be in
the running are Robert Redford (“Electric Horseman“), James Woods (“Onion Field”) and Martin Sheen and Robert Duvall for “Apocalypse Now.”

The list of Best Actress candidates isn’t quite as long — but it’s still formidable. Front-runners include Marsha Mason (“Chapter Two”), Bette Midler (“The Rose”), Sally Field (“Norma Rae”). With Jill Clayburgh (“Starting Over”) and Jane Fonda (“Electric Horseman”) also expected to be the recipients of the Big Campaign.

And Meryl Streep is considered a shoo-in for supporting honors for either “Kramer vs. Kramer” or “Joe Tynan.”

No matter how the race resolves itself on Academy night, the contest will have to go down as one of the most spirited — and most expensive — in Hollywood history.

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