K.T. Oslin, with five nominations, leads the pack of contenders for the 24th annual Academy of Country Music Awards announced Tuesday at Disneyland.
Oslin, a former actress, emerged last year at age 45 as the academy's best new female vocalist and best video artist. Far from suffering a sophomore slump, her work during 1988 won her nominations for top female vocalist, single of the year, album of the year, and two nominations for video of the year.
Other multiple nominees abound, with winners to be announced April 10 in a nationally televised awards ceremony on NBC. Oslin, George Strait and Patrick Duffy will be the hosts.
Hank Williams Jr., the academy's entertainer of the year for the last 2 years, was nominated again in that most prestigious category, giving him a chance to make it a real hat trick (the academy, made up of about 2,500 country music industry professionals, hands out hat-shaped trophies known as Hat awards). Williams, who is down from six nominations last year to three, also is up for top male vocalist and best video honors.
Others with three nominations include Reba McEntire, Ricky Van Shelton, Strait, Dwight Yoakam, Tanya Tucker, Kathy Mattea and Randy Travis. The Judds, Vern Gosdin, Keith Whitley, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell and Alabama all were nominated twice.
For Travis, the nominations represent a leveling out, despite continued sales success of his latest platinum-selling album, "Old 8 X 10," which has stayed at or near the top of Billboard's country album chart for 31 weeks. For his 1986 debut album, Travis picked up four Hat awards, and last year won three out of six he was nominated for. Both Travis and Williams last year had been nominated in every category in which they were eligible.
Awards from the Los Angeles-based ACM are second in prestige and importance in the country music industry to those handed out each October by the Nashville-based Country Music Assn.
Contenders in the ACM's major categories include:
Entertainer of the Year: Williams, Alabama (which won the award 5 years running before Williams began his streak), the Judds, Strait and Travis.
Top Male Vocalist: Strait, Travis, Shelton, Williams and Yoakam.
Top Female Vocalist: Cash, Mattea, McEntire, Oslin and Tucker.
Top Vocal Group: Alabama, Desert Rose Band, Highway 101, Oak Ridge Boys and Restless Heart.
Top Vocal Duet: Bellamy Brothers, Rodney Crowell and Rosanne Cash, the Judds, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, and Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens.
Top New Male Vocalist: Crowell, J.C. Crowley, Skip Ewing, David Lynn Jones and Paul Overstreet.
Top New Female Vocalist: Vicki Bird, Suzy Bogguss, Cee Cee Chapman, Linda Davis and Donna Meade.
Single Record of the Year: "Don't Close Your Eyes," Keith Whitley; "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses," Kathy Mattea; "I Told You So," Randy Travis; "I'll Always Come Back," K.T. Oslin; "I'll Leave This World Loving You," Ricky Van Shelton; "Strong Enough to Bend," Tanya Tucker.
Song of the Year: "Don't Close Your Eyes," "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses," "Strong Enough to Bend," "I Know How He Feels," recorded by Reba McEntire and "Set 'Em Up Joe," by Vern Gosdin.
Album of the Year: "Buenos Noches From a Lonely Room," Dwight Yoakam; "Chiseled in Stone," Vern Gosdin; "If You Ain't Lovin' You Ain't Livin,' " George Strait; "Loving Proof," Ricky Van Shelton; "This Woman," K.T. Oslin.
Video of the Year: "The Old Man No One Loves," George Jones; "Sunday Kind of Love," Reba McEntire; "Hold Me" and "I'll Always Come Back," K.T. Oslin; "Young Country," Hank Williams Jr.
Nominees for best backing bands and instrumentalists will be announced next week. Awards for top country deejay, radio station and nightclub of the year (won the past 2 years by the Crazy Horse Steak House in Santa Ana) will be announced later.
After 9 years at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, the Academy of Country Music is shifting its awards ceremony this year to Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, with prerecorded segments on the new-artist nominees to be videotaped at Disneyland, according to academy spokesman Paul Shefrin.
"There are no negatives about Knott's whatsoever, but the Disney people came up with something the academy felt was of value," Shefrin said. "I guess the Disney people made them an offer they couldn't refuse." The academy has a 5-year agreement to broadcast its awards ceremonies from Disney Studios, Shefrin said.