Sydney Pollack's "Out of Africa" and Steven Spielberg's "The Color Purple," movies based on best-selling novels about and written by women, each received 11 nominations--including best picture--to pace the list of 1985 Oscar nominees, announced today by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The other three best-picture nominees were "Prizzi's Honor," John Huston's darkly off-beat gangster comedy, "Witness," Peter Weir's suspense thriller set in Pennsylvania's Amish country, and Hector Babenco's "Kiss of the Spider Woman," a drama about the relationship between two men--one a revolutionary, the other a transvestite--sharing a squalid Brazilian prison.
"Witness" and "Prizzi's Honor" each had eight nominations, and "Kiss of the Spider Woman" had four.
Spielberg Left Off
The major surprise among the announcements was the omission of Spielberg's name from the list of best director nominees. When a movie receives as many nominations as "The Color Purple" did, the director's nomination is almost always assured.
The directors named were Pollack, Weir, Huston, Babenco, and Japan's 76-year-old master Akira Kurosawa, whose "Ran" was not submitted as a best foreign language candidate by either Japan or France, its co-producing countries.
There were surprises in the acting categories too. Jon Voight, from "Runaway Train," and James Garner, from "Murphy's Romance," both considered long shots, appeared among the five best actor nominees, along with favorites Jack Nicholson ("Prizzi's Honor"), William Hurt ("Kiss of the Spider Woman") and Harrison Ford ("Witness").
Best Actress Nominees
The best actress nominees were Meryl Streep ("Out of Africa"), Jessica Lange ("Sweet Dreams"), Geraldine Page ("The Trip to Bountiful"), Whoopi Goldberg ("The Color Purple") and Anne Bancroft ("Agnes of God").
The best supporting actor nominees announced were Eric Roberts ("Runaway Train"), Don Ameche ("Cocoon"), Klaus Maria Brandauer ("Out of Africa"), William Hickey ("Prizzi's Honor") and Robert Loggia ("Jagged Edge").
The best supporting actresses were Anjelica Huston ("Prizzi's Honor"), Margaret Avery ("The Color Purple"), Oprah Winfrey ("The Color Purple"), Amy Madigan ("Twice in a Lifetime") and Meg Tilley ("Agnes of God").
"Back to the Future," one of the year's biggest box-office hits, was nominated for four awards, including best original screenplay, while "Rambo: First Blood Part II" was nominated once, for best sound effects editing.
'Mask' for Makeup
"Mask," one of the movies expected to pick up several nominations, ended up with just one, for makeup. Cher and Eric Stolz, both favored for acting nominations, were left off the lists.
Woody Allen's "The Purple Rose of Cairo," another film expected to be popular with voters, ended up with just one nomination, for Allen's screenplay.
"Brazil," a movie that was barely released last year after a bitter months-long feud between director Terry Gilliam and Universal Pictures, received two nominations, for art direction and for best original script, co-written by Gilliam, Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown.
The winners will be announced March 24 during the 58th Annual Academy Awards show, which will be broadcast live from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center by ABC-TV, beginning at 6 p.m.