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BetteBack February 20, 1992: Breakdown Of Oscar Race – Bette Sentimental Favorite To Win

Winnipeg Free Press
February 20, 1992

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BARRY LEVINSON’S prizewinning gangster epic, Bugsy, led the way with 10 nominations when the 64th annual Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday in Los Angeles.

In second position, with eight nominations, was Oliver Stone‘s controversial treatment of President Kennedy’s assassination, JFK. Both films are nominated in all the key categories — acting, writing, directing, cinematography — and appear to be the ones to beat for best picture of the year.

Also in the running for that award are Jonathan Demme’s serial-killer thriller, The Silence of the Lambs; Barbra Streisand’s family saga, The Prince of Tides, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which is the first animated film ever to be nominated in this category.

Prince and Silence tied with seven nominations apiece. Beauty and the Beast and Terminator 2: Judgment Day each received six nominations; three of the Beauty nominations were for best song.

Levinson, Stone and Demme were all nominated for best director, but Streisand and the Disney directing team were not. Fn their place, the directors’ branch of the Academy chose Ridley Scott, who directed the feminist road movie, Thelma & Ixmise, and .John Singleton, the 24-yearold film-maker who made the lowbudget ghetto drama, Boyz N the Hood.

Singleton is the first black director to be nominated in this category. He also received a nomination for best original screenplay.

As expected, Nick Nolle received his first Oscar nomination for his work as the repressed hero of The Prince of Tides. A big favorite with critics and audiences, he appears to be the closest thing to a safe bet when the Oscars are handed out March 30.

Also nominated for best actor: Robin Williams as the homeless widower in The Fisher King, Warren Beatty as the gangster Bugsy Siegel in Bugsy; Robert De Niro as the exconvict who terrorizes Nick Nolte’s family in Cape Fear; and Anthony Hopkins as the imprisoned killer in The Silence of the Lambs.

All but Hopkins have been nominated before, and De Niro has won twice: for best actor in Raging Bull and for best supporting actor in The Godfather, Part IF. This is Beatty’s fourth nomination in this category; lie won an Oscar for best director 11 years ago for Reds.

For best actress, it’s a much closer race. CJeena Davis and Susan Sarandon were both nominated for their roles as the outlaw women of Thelma & Louise. Their roles are of equal importance and they could easily cancel each other out.

Also in the running: Jodie Foster as an FBI agent in The Silence of the Lambs; Bette Midler as a USO entertainer in For the Boys; and I^ura Dern as the promiscuous heroine of Rambling Rose. All but Dern have been nominated before, and Foster and Davis both won three years ago.

Midler appears to be the sentimental favorite here, but Foster shouldn’t be counted out.

Two of the actors who played gangsters in Bugsy, Harvey Keitel and Ben Kingsley, were nominated for best supporting actor. Their competition includes Michael Lerner as the tyrannical studio head in Barton Fink; Tommy Lee Jones as Clay Shaw, one of the men accused of conspiracy in JFK; and Jack Palance as the aging cowboy in City Slickers.

Lerner, Jones and Keitel have not been nominated before. Kingsley won nine years ago, in the best actor category, for Gandhi. This may be the toughest category to call, but a career award for Palancc, who was nominated for Shane and Sudden Fear in the early 1950s, seems likely.

Diane I^add, nominated for best supporting actress last year in Wild at Heart, is in the running again for her role as a formidably sensible and tolerant matriarch in Rambling Rose.

She was also nominated in 1976 for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. She appears to be the frontrunner this time.

Her competition includes Juliette Lewis, as the teenager threatened by De Niro in Cape Fear; Kate Nelligan, as Nolte’s much-loved-and-hated mother in The Prince of Tides; Mercedes Ruehl, as Jeff Bridges’ longsuffering girlfriend in The Fisher King; and Jessica Tandy, as the storytelling lady in Fried Green Tomatoes.

The most discouraging news at this year’s Oscars is the near-shut-out of the independent film scene. River Phoenix, the Portland hustler of My Own Private Idaho, gave a far more imaginative performance than did either Robert De Niro or Robin Williams, who relied mostly on familiar acting. Mimi Rogers’ dynamic work as a newborn Christian in The Rapture will be remembered long after Midler’s hammy performance is forgotten.

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