Checking Out the Oscars: Current Nominees, Past Spectacles


Some of the movies that figure prominently in the Academy Awards race are already on the home-video market, and a few others will be released before the winners are crowned March 30.

"The Silence of the Lambs," which received seven nominations--including for best picture and stars Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster--has been out since fall. "Thelma & Louise," boasting two best-actress nominees in Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, is leading the rental chart.

"Barton Fink," co-starring best-supporting actor nominee Michael Lerner, will be released March 5. "Boyz N the Hood," directed by 24-year-old nominee John Singleton, is due March 12. And "The Fisher King," featuring nominees Robin Williams (actor) and Mercedes Ruehl (supporting actress), is due out March 25.

The movie that probably stands to benefit most in the home-video market from the Oscar nominations is "Rambling Rose," a small art movie that got some excellent reviews when it came out last year but which pulled in less than $7 million at the box office. It's due out March 25, and retailers may now boost their orders for it in anticipation of a rental demand generated by interest in the mother-daughter Oscar nominees, Laura Dern (best actress) and Diane Ladd (best supporting actress).

"For the Boys," too, will be helped by Bette Midler's best-actress nomination. A box-office flop when released in December, it's due out on FoxVideo May 28. Theatrical re-release during the next six weeks will add to its gross, which will make it more appealing in the rental market even if Midler doesn't win.

Three of the best-picture nominees--"JFK," "The Prince of Tides" and "Bugsy"--won't be on home video until summer at the earliest. Disney hasn't set a date yet for "Beauty and the Beast," which could be released anytime after April.

MCA/Universal will put out "Cape Fear," featuring best-actor contender Robert De Niro, in June, and "Fried Green Tomatoes," with supporting-actress nominee Jessica Tandy, in July.

Speaking of Oscar . . . : The Academy Awards ceremonies are often criticized as bloated, boring and overproduced. But every show has its highlights, and Columbia TriStar has collected those from the 1971-1991 shows and packaged them in a $20, 110-minute tape, "Oscar's Greatest Moments." It was released Thursday, along with the 1992 nominations.

Producer-director Jeff Margolis organized about 75 hours of tape into segments--such as showing major awards in chronological order--and themes, such as the most emotional thank-you speeches, the funniest presenters and the most interesting fashion statements. The narrator is Karl Malden, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Among the memorable moments included are Sacheen Littlefeather accepting Marlon Brando's best-actor award for "The Godfather," a streaker rushing past David Niven, Vanessa Redgrave getting booed for a political statement, John Wayne's appearance shortly before he died and Charlie Chaplin's return to Hollywood.

There are omissions too. "I'm not going to say what they are, but the academy didn't want them included," Margolis said. One segment that's conspicuously absent is the clunky production number in 1989 that created a furor because of its ineptness and unauthorized use of Disney characters.

Margolis said that the academy asked him to make this a "classy" production, but apparently that concern didn't extend to the entire tape. The video opens with ads for a candy bar and a brand of videotape.

Columbia TriStar marketing director Bill Perrault said more than 800,000 copies will be shipped to video outlets, making it one of the largest non-theatrical titles on the market.

This is first of a series, Margolis said. The second volume will cover 1950-1970.

What's New on Video: These titles have recently been released on video:

"Don't Tell Mom the Baby Sitter's Dead" (HBO, $95). Pandering to teen-agers' worst fears about adulthood, this critically maligned movie is about a resourceful young lady (Christina Applegate) who triumphs over all sorts of adversity while caring for her siblings after the babysitter dies.

"Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man" (MGM/UA, $95). This action movie about the violent adventures of two macho buddies, a biker (Mickey Rourke) and a drifter (Don Johnson), was massacred by critics and bombed at the box office.

"Psychic" (Vidmark, $90). If you're looking for a good B movie, try this surprisingly effective thriller, with a no-name cast, about a young psychic tracking a serial killer.

"Trust" (Republic, $90). A dark, romantic comedy about two likable young neurotics (Adrienne Shelly and Martin Donovan) who forge a bond of trust while battling the divisive efforts of their parents.

"Bingo" (Columbia TriStar, $93). Kids might like this cutesy tale about a dog's long journey in search of his young master.

Upcoming on Video: "Surburban Commando" (Wednesday), "Defenseless" (Wednesday), "Dogfight" (Feb. 26), "The Super" (March 26), "Deceived" (April 1), "Homicide" (April 8), "Black Robe" (April 8), "Ricochet" (April 8), "The Commitments" (April 9).

Upcoming on Laser: On Thursday from Image: a wide-screen version of the 1956 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "Carousel," starring Gordon MacRae, at $60; the laser-disc debut of the 1972 French comedy, "The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe," at $40, and a wide-screen version of the steamy 1958 Paul Newman drama, "The Long Hot Summer," at $60.

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