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Oscar Watch: Elizondo Wants an ‘A’

He’s been a working actor for more than 30 years. “But people still don’t get my name right,” Hector Elizondo says. “They think they saw me in something , but they’re not sure what.”

So he’s taken out half a dozen full-page ads--three each in the two Hollywood trade papers--to remind Oscar voters of his performance as the helpful hotel manager in “Pretty Woman,” supplementing additional ads paid for by Walt Disney Studios.

Elizondo admits he’s “riding a dark horse,” but feels a nomination “wakes people up. . . . I’d like a chance at the A-roles instead of the roles other actors have turned down. I’ve been around a long time. I’m tired of being rediscovered every two years.”

Known for immersing himself in ethnic roles, Elizondo now goes before the cameras as a Greek who owns the diner where Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer meet in Paramount’s “Frankie and Johnny"--his seventh teaming with director Garry Marshall.

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Oscar ballots are due in by Feb. 1; nominations will be announced Feb. 13.

Along with the usual splashy trade ads, studios are vying for attention by sending out videocassettes of a number of titles. Disney has gone a step further, targeting special videocassettes to various voting groups such as art direction, cinematography and makeup, featuring appropriate clips from the studio’s films.

As for those omnipresent trade ads: Per our count, “The Russia House” (MGM/Pathe) leads with 41 pages, followed by “Green Card” and “Dick Tracy” (both from Disney), with 35 and 34. “Avalon” (Tri-Star), “Awakenings” (Columbia) and “Edward Scissorhands” (Fox) follow with 30 each.


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