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BetteBack April 9, 1980: One Critic’s Predictions For The Oscars

Indiana Gazette
April 9, 1980

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The Oscars are coming! The Oscars are coming!

You may hoot at them if you wish, but on Monday night, April 14, millions will be glued to their sets and commenting on who wore what and who looks so much older and why do we bother staying up this late every year?

The Academy Awards Show is hokey, the repartee needs retreading and many of the presenters have seen better days. Why does Hollywood do it?

Big bucks, buster, big bucks. There’s the belief that winning an academy award adds a million dollars to next year’s salary.

They’re at the starting gate, but before you place your bets here is one critic’s choices.

I’ll eliminate three best actress nominees immediately. Jane Fonda in “China Syndrome” already got her Oscar. In “Chapter Two” Marsha Mason only had one dramatic scene. Jill Clayburgh’s year should have been 1978 for “Unmarried Woman” instead of last year’s “Starting Over.”

Odds are on Sally Field. For years her career was up in the air as TV’s flying nun — putting her down became a habit. As “Norma Rae,” the first union member in a Southern textile plant, Field planted her feet on the ground and proved to Hollywood that she could act.

I think Field will’win, but I’m rooting for Bette Midler. Bette is something else..As “The Rose” she belted out a song and any man who got in her way. Her performance was dynamite, and she knocked me out of my seat.

For best actor Jack Lemmon “China Syndrome” and Al Pacino “And Justice For All” didn’t match the calibre of the other nominees. Peter Sellers turned out a stellar performance as the moronic gardner in “Being There” while-Roy Scheider gave one of his best characterizations in “All’That Jazz.”

I go with the experts, though. Dustin Hoffman seems a shoo-in for “Kramer vs Kramer.” His Madison ad man culminated a decade of fine performances which include “The Graduate” and Ratso Rizzo in “Midnight Cowboy.” Another “Kramer” winner will probably be Meryl Streep, even though Jane Alexander is also up for the same film. The other best supporting nominees are Barbara Barrie “Breaking Away,” Candice Bergen “Starting Over” and Mariel Hemingway “Manhattan.” None gave as intense a performance as Streep.

At eight years old Justin Henry “Kramer” is probably too young to win best supporting actor and Frederic Forrest “The Rose” too new. Mickey Rooney has a better chance as the horse trainer in “The Black Stallion.”

However, odds are on Robert Duvall for his super-obsessed military man in “Apocalypse Now.” I’m placing my bet with the oldest nominee, Melvyn Douglas, for his superb portrayal of the president’s advisor in “Being There.”

“Kramer” will undoubtably win best picture of 1979. The other four, “Norma Rae,” “Apocalypse Now,” “Breaking Away” and “All That Jazz” don’t have as wide an audience appeal.

Monday night’s the night for the annual spectacle. Somehow the monologues are never as witty as last year’s, the stars not as glamorous and the winners’- speeches not as brief.

Still, when that streaker darts across the stage, when this year’s radical group protests a nomination or when a dimly lit star muffs his cue, I want to be in front of the tube taking it all in. In spite’of my yawns.

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