MGM/UA’s “Rain Man” grabbed a narrow lead in the 61st Oscar race Wednesday 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 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.
Next among the top nominees were best-picture candidates “Dangerous Liaisons” from Warner Bros. and Orion’s “Mississippi Burning,” which received seven nominations each.
Fox’s “Working Girl,” with six nominations, and Warner’s “The Accidental Tourist,” with four nominations, rounded out the best picture slate. Disney’s hugely successful “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” received six nominations, but all were in technical categories, including art direction, cinematography, and sound.
Oscars are awarded following a vote by some 4,600 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The awards will be presented on March 29 at the Shrine Auditorium and the ceremonies will be broadcast on ABC.
In a major surprise, Martin Scorsese received a best director nomination for “The Last Temptation of Christ” (Universal) even though the iconoclastic film about Jesus Christ was widely criticized by some Christian groups and was virtually ignored in the Golden Globe, Directors Guild of America and other pre-Oscar awards.
Reached in New York, Scorsese said: “This a statement of support by (movie) directors for other directors who have a film they need to get made. . . . It’s what this country is all about.”
The film received mixed reviews and wasn’t nominated for an award by the directors’ guild, in which a sizable number of television directors join movie directors and others in voting. Scorsese has never won an Oscar, but was nominated for directing “Raging Bull” in 1980.
Other nominees for the best director Oscar--all of whom also received Directors Guild nominations--were Charles Crichton for “A Fish Called Wanda"; Alan Parker for “Mississippi Burning"; Barry Levinson for “Rain Man,” and Mike Nichols for “Working Girl.” Notably missing from the directors’ nominations was Clint Eastwood, who had won a Golden Globe award for directing “Bird,” which was released by Warner.
In a rare coup, Sigourney Weaver took dual nominations as best actress for her portrayal of murdered naturalist Dian Fossey in “Gorillas in the Mist” (Universal/Warner), and as best supporting actress for her comic role as an unscrupulous boss in “Working Girl.” According to the academy, only five performers have ever received two acting nominations in a single year. The last actress to receive dual nominations was Jessica Lange in 1982.
Other best actress nominees were Glenn Close, who played a manipulative seductress in the 18th-Century period piece “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 falsely accused of murdering her child in Warner’s “A Cry in the Dark.”
In the best actor category, TV and stage actor Edward James Olmos received a dark-horse nomination for his portrayal of East Los Angeles mathematics teacher Jaime Escalante in Warner’s “Stand and Deliver.” Olmos and several friends had taken the unusual step of mounting their own Oscar campaign in the Hollywood trade press when Warner didn’t strongly push for its nomination.
Other best actor nominees were previous Oscar winner Gene Hackman, who played a Southern sheriff-turned-FBI agent in “Mississippi Burning,” and first-time nominees Tom Hanks, who played a boy trapped in a man’s body in Fox’s “Big,” and Max von Sydow, who played a long-suffering Swedish farm-hand in “Pelle the Conqueror,” a European-produced film that was distributed in the United States by Miramax Films.
In addition to Weaver, the best supporting actresses included first-time nominees Joan Cusack for “Working Girl"; Geena Davis for “The 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"; Martin 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.”
Among the studios, Warner led the pack with 23 nominations. But its five nominations for “Gorillas in the Mist” were shared with Universal, which co-produced the picture, and its nine nominations for “Dangerous Liaisons” and “Running on Empty” came from films it acquired in its recent merger with Lorimar-Telepictures Corp.
Another big winner was MGM/UA, which received 13 nominations for “Rain Man,” “A Fish Called Wanda” and “Willow"--all of which were made by an executive team that left the studio amid financial reshuffling by the studio’s majority owner, Kirk Kerkorian.
“Everybody who is not there deserves credit for this. Tony Thomopoulos, Alan Ladd and myself should be thanked by Mr. Kerkorian, who let us leave,” said former MGM/UA Chairman Lee Rich, who is now an independent producer.
Columbia Pictures--which last year swept nine Academy Awards, including best picture, with “The Last Emperor"--had no nominations at all this year, while Tri-Star Pictures received only a costume design nomination for “Sunset.” Both studios are owned by Columbia Pictures Entertainment.
The heavy showing for “Rain Man” was hardly unexpected. An advertisement appearing in Wednesday’s Times proclaimed the movie an “Academy Award Nominee,” even though the nominations weren’t announced until 5:30 Wednesday morning.
One MGM/UA executive immediately speculated that the gun-jumping ad was an error: “Something got glued together that shouldn’t have been. . . . There are gentleman’s agreements about these things, and now we look a little silly.”
But MGM/UA distribution President David Forbes said the ad was placed intentionally: “We thought we were going to have a nomination, and I didn’t think it would bother people. . . . It seemed like a pretty sure thing.” Forbes said he hadn’t received any complaints from the academy or competitors.
Best-picture nominee “Dangerous Liaisons” received a best screenplay nomination for writer Christopher Hampton, but Stephen Frears didn’t get a best-director nomination.
Best-picture nominee “The Accidental Tourist” got a similar screenplay nomination for writers Frank Galati and Lawrence Kasdan, but Kasdan wasn’t nominated as best director. No film has ever received a best-picture Oscar without its director receiving a nomination.
Nominees for best foreign-language film included “Hanussen,” from Hungary; “The Music Teacher,” from Belgium; “Pelle the Conqueror,” from Denmark; “Salaam Bombay!” from India, and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” from Spain.
Best Picture: “The Accidental Tourist,” “Dangerous Liaisons,” “Mississippi Burning,” “Rain Man,” “Working Girl.”
Best Actor: Gene Hackman, “Mississippi Burning"; Tom Hanks, “Big"; Dustin Hoffman, “Rain Man"; Edward James Olmos, “Stand and Deliver"; Max von Sydow, “Pelle the Conqueror.”
Best Actress: Glenn Close, “Dangerous Liaisons"; Jodie Foster, “The Accused"; Melanie Griffith, “Working Girl"; Meryl Streep, “A Cry in the Dark"; Sigourney Weaver, “Gorillas in the Mist.”
Best Director: Charles Crichton, “A Fish Called Wanda"; Martin Scorsese, “The Last Temptation of Christ"; Alan Parker, “Mississippi Burning"; Barry Levinson, “Rain Man"; Mike Nichols, “Working Girl.”
Best Supporting Actor: Alec Guinness, “Little Dorrit"; Kevin Kline, “A Fish Called Wanda"; Martin Landau, “Tucker: The Man and His Dream"; River Phoenix, “Running on Empty"; Dean Stockwell, “Married to the Mob.”
Best Supporting Actress: Joan Cusack, “Working Girl"; Geena Davis, “The Accidental Tourist"; Frances McDormand, “Mississippi Burning"; Michelle Pfeiffer, “Dangerous Liaisons"; Sigourney Weaver, “Working Girl.”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Hanussen,” Hungary; “The Music Teacher,” Belgium; “Pelle the Conqueror,” Denmark; “Salaam Bombay!,” India; “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” Spain.
Best Original Screenplay: Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg, “Big"; Ron Shelton, “Bull Durham"; John Cleese, story by John Cleese and Charles Crichton, “A Fish Called Wanda"; Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow, story by Barry Morrow, “Rain Man"; Naomi Foner, “Running on Empty.”
Best Screenplay Adaptation: Frank Galati and Lawrence Kasdan, “The Accidental Tourist"; Christopher Hampton, “Dangerous Liaisons"; Anna Hamilton Phelan, story by Anna Hamilton Phelan and Tab Murphy, “Gorillas in the Mist"; Christine Edzard, “Little Dorrit"; Jean-Claude Carriere and Philip Kaufman, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”
Best Original Song: “Calling You,” music and lyric by Bob Telson, “Bagdad Cafe"; “Let the River Run,” music and lyric by Carly Simon, “Working Girl"; “Two Hearts,” music by Lamont Dozier, lyric by Phil Collins, “Buster.”
Best Original Score: John Williams, “The Accidental Tourist"; George Fenton, “Dangerous Liaisons"; Maurice Jarre, “Gorillas in the Mist"; Dave Grusin, “The Milagro Beanfield War"; Hans Zimmer, “Rain Man.”
Art Direction: Albert Brenner, art decoration, Garrett Lewis, set decoration, “Beaches"; Stuart Craig, art decoration, Gerard James, set decoration, “Dangerous Liaisons"; Ida Random, art decoration, Linda DeScenna, set decoration, “Rain Man"; Dean Tavoularis, art decoration, Armin Ganz, set decoration, “Tucker: The Man and His Dream"; Elliot Scott, art decoration, Peter Howitt, set decoration, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
Cinematography: Peter Biziou, “Mississippi Burning"; John Seale, “Rain Man"; Conrad L. Hall, “Tequila Sunrise"; Sven Nykvist, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being"; Dean Cundey, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
Best Costumes: Deborah Nadoolman, “Coming to America"; James Acheson, “Dangerous Liaisons"; Jane Robinson, “A Handful of Dust"; Patricia Norris, “Sunset"; Milena Canonero, “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.”
Best Documentary, Feature: “The Cry of Reason--Beyers Naude: An Afrikaner Speaks Out"; “Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie"; “Let’s Get Lost"; “Promises to Keep"; “Who Killed Vincent Chin?”
Best Documentary, Short Subject: “The Children’s Storefront"; “Family Gathering;" “Gang Cops"; “Portrait of Imogen"; “You Don’t Have to Die.”
Film Editing: Frank Urioste, John F. Link, “Die Hard"; Stuart Baird, “Gorillas in the Mist"; Gerry Hambling, “Mississippi Burning"; Stu Linder, “Rain Man"; Arthur Schmidt, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
Makeup: Ve Neill, Steve La Porte, Robert Short, “Beetlejuice"; Rick Baker, “Coming to America"; Tom Burman, Bari Drieband-Burman, “Scrooged.”
Animated Short Film: Cordell Barker, “The Cat Came Back"; Bill Kroyer, “Technological Threat"; John Lasseter, “Tin Toy.”
Live Action Short Film: Dean Parisot, Steven Wright, “The Appointments of Dennis Jennings"; Matia Karrell, “Cadillac Dreams"; Gary Moss, “Gullah Tales.”
Sound: Les Fresholtz, Dick Alexander, Vern Poore, Willie D. Burton, “Bird"; Don Bassman, Kevin F. Cleary, Richard Overton, Al Overton, “Gorillas in the Mist"; Robert Litt, Elliot Tyson, Richard C. Kline, Danny Michael, “Mississippi Burning"; Robert Knudson, John Boyd, Don Digirolamo, Tony Dawe, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
Visual Effects: Richard Edlund, Al DiSarro, Brent Boates and Thaine Morris, “Die Hard"; Ken Ralston, Richard Williams, Edward Jones and George Gibbs, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit"; Dennis Muren, Michael McAlister, Phil Tippett and Chris Evans, “Willow.”
Special Awards: Honorary award to the National Film Board of Canada, special achievement award to Richard Williams, for animation direction, including “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”