CALENDAR GOES TO THE OSCARS : Clint’s Long Ride Finally Pays Off : In the End, All Is ‘Unforgiven’ : Analysis
Call it a coronation for the common man. Clint Eastwood, an underappreciated foot soldier for much of his career, was king of all he surveyed Monday night as his “Unforgiven” won Oscars for best direction and best picture at the 65th Academy Awards.
Though the success of “Unforgiven” was expected, especially after it walked off with two of the evening’s first three Oscars, the evening’s climax was no less emotional for that. The audience at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion erupted into genuine roars when his name was announced for the evening’s last two awards.
For the record:
12:00 AM, Mar. 31, 1993 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday March 31, 1993 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 3 Column 1 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Best picture-- Barbra Streisand presented Clint Eastwood with the best director Oscar for “Unforgiven,” not best picture, as was stated in a caption in Tuesday’s Calendar.
“This is pretty good,” was Eastwood’s typically deadpan response. He then graciously thanked not only his cast and crew but--surprisingly for a best picture winner--the critics who supported the film, even the French ones.
All the “Unforgiven” winners thanked Eastwood in their speeches, from Gene Hackman, who said the director “made it all possible for me,” to editor Joel Cox, who was grateful for “18 years of friendship and support.” Even the director of “Indochine,” Regis Wargnier, which was named best foreign-language film, took a deep breath and said, “Well, you made my day.”
It was ironic that on a night the academy commemorated (patronizingly at times) as the “Year of the Woman,” a night when Emma Thompson movingly dedicated her Oscar to “the heroism and courage of women,” the show found it could not do without production numbers featuring the usual scantily clad femmes. Some things are apparently harder to change than others. Still, Eastwood did single out his mother as the greatest woman on the planet, and that probably has to count for something.
As befits the Oscars’ 65th anniversary, this year’s ceremony was something of an old home week, giving awards not only to veterans Eastwood and Hackman, but also to eight-time nominee Al Pacino, who heaved a huge sigh of relief after finally winning for “Scent of a Woman.”
“You broke my streak,” Pacino said on reaching the stage. He then read one of the evening’s few moving acceptance speeches, talking about the importance of being a role model in his old neighborhood in the South Bronx.
The academy was also in a sweep-avoiding mood. Oscars that might have gone to either “Unforgiven” or “Howards End” went to “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (costume design) and “A River Runs Through It” (cinematography). And when the evening started, it looked as though upsets would be the order of the day.
The very first award was the night’s biggest surprise, as Marisa Tomei won best supporting actress for “My Cousin Vinny,” causing Billy Crystal to insist on calling her Marisa Rodham Tomei for the rest of the evening.
The night was probably most anticlimactic for “The Crying Game.” Nominated for six awards, it won only one, for best original screenplay, and screenwriter Neil Jordan confessed to being in the bathroom and almost missing that. Though Jaye Davidson lost to Gene Hackman in the best supporting actor category, he was perhaps the most visited nominee of the night, as everyone from Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave came by his seat to say hello.
“Howards End” fared slightly better, winning three awards out of a possible nine nominations. But screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, a previous winner for “Room With a View,” was not there to accept it, and winning art director Luciana Arrighi was interrupted before she could finish her acceptance speech.
One of the evening’s running leitmotifs, not always to the audience’s delight, was the usual unscripted political commentary by the presenters. After Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon spoke up for Haitians quarantined for AIDS and Richard Gere asked everyone to think good thoughts about Tibet, it seemed only natural that the controversial “The Panama Deception” won best documentary. But when its co-producer and director Barbara Trent talked about “the deceptive tactics of our government,” a few restless and patriotic souls broke the decorum and hissed.
One of the things that made this year’s presentation unusual was that the special awards, normally a kind of filler, were probably the strongest parts of the program. Both Elizabeth Taylor and the late Audrey Hepburn won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, with Taylor commenting that this was honor she never ever expected to get. And venerable Italian director Federico Fellini, a special award winner for lifetime achievement, made a typically Felliniesque acceptance speech when he said, “I really did not expect it. Or perhaps I did.”
What upset the audience most was the rigor with which the program’s directors cut off loquacious accepters in mid-sentence by starting up the music if their speeches went on for too long. Even Fellini had to shout his unintelligible last words off camera without benefit of a mike.
The Oscar thank-you speeches, the most remembered part of every awards show, now tend to sound like a speed-read version of the telephone book. Maybe a little more time would be time well spent.
The Top Winners Picture: “Unforgiven” Actor: Al Pacino, “Scent of a Woman” Actress: Emma Thompson, “Howards End” Director: Clint Eastwood, “Unforgiven” Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, “My Cousin Vinny” Supporting Actor: Gene Hackman, “Unforgiven” Original Screenplay: Neil Jordan, “The Crying Game” Adapted Screenplay: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, “Howards End” The rest of the winners. F4
The Rest of the Winners
Foreign Language Film: “Indochine” France Original Song: “A Whole New World” “Aladdin” Cinematography: Philippe Rousselot “A River Runs Through It” Original Score: lan Menken “Aladdin” Costume Design: Eiko Ishioka “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” Sound: Chris Jenkins, Doug Hemphill, Mark Smith and Simon Kaye “The Last of the Mohicans” Documentary Feature: Barbara Trent and David Kasper “The Panama Deception” Documentary Short Subject: Gerardine Wurzburg and Thomas C. Goodwin “Educating Peter” Film Editing: Joel Cox “Unforgiven” Art Direction: Luciana Arrighi and Ian Whittaker “Howards End” Visual Effects: Ken Ralston, Doug Chiang, Doug Smythe and Tom Woodruff “Death Becomes Her” Sound Effects Editing: Tom C. McCarthy and David E. Stone “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” Makeup: Greg Cannom, Michele Burke and Matthew W. Mungle “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” Live Action Short Film: Sam Karmann “Omnibus” Animated Short Film: Joan C. Gratz “Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase” Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: Elizabeth Taylor, the late Audrey Hepburn Honorary Awards: Federico Fellini Academy (Technical) Award of Merit: Chadwell O’Connor Gordon E. Sawyer (Technical) Award: Erich Kaestner
Nominations Awards Unforgiven 9 4 Howards End 9 3 The Crying Game 6 1 Aladdin 5 2 Bram Stoker’s Dracula 4 3 Scent of a Woman 4 1 A Few Good Men 4 0 River Runs Through It 3 1 Enchanted April 3 0 The Player 3 0 Chaplin 3 0