MGM/UA's "Rain Man" took a narrow lead in the 61st Oscar race today with eight nominations, including Dustin Hoffman's sixth best-actor nod for his portrayal of a numbers-crunching autistic savant on a cross-country trek with his hustler brother, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced at a pre-dawn news conference at its Beverly Hills headquarters.
The popular "Rain Man"--which has grossed more than $100 million since its December premiere--also received nominations for best picture, directing, screenplay written directly for the screen, art direction, editing, original music and cinematography.
Sigourney Weaver became the fifth performer in Oscar history to receive two acting nominations in one year. Weaver was nominated as best actress for playing murdered naturalist Dian Fossey in "Gorillas in the Mist" (Universal/Warner) and as best supporting actress for playing a mean, exploitative executive in "Working Girl." The last actress to receive dual nominations was Jessica Lange in 1982.
The other top film nominees are best-picture candidates "Dangerous Liaisons" from Warner Bros. and Orion's "Mississippi Burning," which received seven nominations each, and 20th Century Fox's best-picture nominee "Working Girl" with six nominations and Touchstone's hugely successful "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" with six nominations in technical categories.
Rounding out the five-film slate of best-picture nominees is Warner's "The Accidental Tourist," which received a total of four nominations.
The Oscar nominees were announced at an academy news conference that was held at 5:30 a.m. in order to receive live coverage from the major networks' early-morning news programs. The Oscars will be presented March 29 at the Shrine Civic Auditorium. The ceremony will be broadcast on ABC.
In a major surprise, Martin Scorsese got a best director nomination for "The Last Temptation of Christ" (Universal), after the iconoclastic and controversial film about Jesus Christ was passed over in earlier movie awards. Other best director nominees are Charles Crichton for "A Fish Called Wanda" (MGM/UA), Alan Parker for "Mississippi Burning," Barry Levinson for "Rain Man" and Mike Nichols for "Working Girl."
Besides Weaver, the best actress nominees are Glenn Close, who received her fifth Oscar nomination for her performance as a coldly manipulative seductress in "Dangerous Liaisons"; Jodie Foster, who played a rape victim in Paramount's "The Accused"; Melanie Griffith, who played an ambitious secretary in "Working Girl," and Meryl Streep, who played a mother accused of child-murder in Warner's "A Cry in the Dark." Streep, who has been nominated for eight Oscars in her career, is the only previous best-actress winner in the group.
Joining one-time best-actor winner Hoffman among the nominees is another previous winner, Gene Hackman. He received the nod for his performance as an FBI agent in "Mississippi Burning."
The rest of the best-actor pack are all first-time nominees: Tom Hanks, as a boy trapped in a man's body in Fox's "Big"; Edward James Olmos, as Los Angeles teacher Jaime Escalante in Warner's "Stand and Deliver," and Max von Sydow, as a Swedish farmhand in Miramax's "Pelle the Conqueror."
In addition to Weaver, the best supporting actresses include first-time nominees Joan Cusack for "Working Girl," Geena Davis for "Accidental Tourist," Frances McDormand for "Mississippi Burning" and Michelle Pfeiffer for "Dangerous Liaisons."
Best supporting actor nominees are two-time Oscar-winner Alec Guinness for Cannon's "Little Dorrit" and first-time nominees Kevin Kline for "A Fish Called Wanda"; Marin Landau for Paramount's "Tucker: The Man and his Dream"; River Phoenix for Warner's "Running on Empty," and Dean Stockwell for Orion's "Married to the Mob."
Nominees for best original screenplay were Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg for "Big," Ron Shelton, for Orion's "Bull Durham," John Cleese for "A Fish Called Wanda," Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow for "Rain Man," and Naomi Foner for "Running on Empty."
Best screenplay from another medium nominees were Frank Galati and Lawrence Kasdan for "The Accidental Tourist," Christopher Hampton for "Dangerous Liaisons," Anna Hamilton Phelan for "Gorillas in the Mist," Christine Edzard for "Little Dorrit," and Jean-Claude Carriere and Philip Kaufman for "The Unbearable Lightness of Being."