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  The Unusual in This Year's Oscar Nods

The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 9, 1999

The Academy Award nominations offered up the expected and unexpected. Some of the surprises:

The Italian movie "Life Is Beautiful'' became the first in three decades to be nominated in best picture and foreign language categories. The only other picture to receive nominations in both categories in the same year was the 1969 movie "Z.''

"The Emigrants'' was nominated in both categories, but for different years – 1971 and 1972 – based on when it was released in Europe and the United States.

"Life Is Beautiful'' was the first foreign language film to receive seven nominations. "Das Boot'' of 1982 and the 1983 "Fanny & Alexander'' had six nominations.

"Saving Private Ryan'' has taken in more than $194 million, nearly twice as much money as all the other best picture nominees combined: "Elizabeth'' ($17.8 million), "Shakespeare in Love'' ($36.2 million), "The Thin Red line'' ($30.4 million) and "Life is Beautiful'' ($18.4 million).

"The Thin Red Line'' got seven nominations despite its mixed reviews and lukewarm reception at the box office. It was a triumphant return to the movies for director Terrence Malick, who hadn't made a film since "Days of Heaven'' in 1978.

Meryl Streep got her 11th Oscar nomination: best actress for "One True Thing.'' She's now tied with Jack Nicholson for acting nominations and they are one away from record-holder Katharine Hepburn's 12 nominations.

If Streep wins her third Oscar this year she will tie with Ingrid Bergman, Walter Brennan and Nicholson. Hepburn holds the record with four best actress Academy Awards.

Roberto Benigni was recognized for his multiple roles behind and in front of the camera in "Life is Beautiful.'' It got seven nominations: director and actor for Benigni and screenplay for Benigni and co-writer Vincenzo Cerami, best picture, foreign language film, dramatic score and editing.

Benigni's triple play was impressive, but not unprecedented.

In 1942, Orson Welles was nominated for actor, director and co-writer of "Citizen Kane.'' As producer of the movie, he would have received the Oscar if it had won that category. "How Green Was My Valley'' won best picture that year. Welles won only for writing.

In 1978, Woody Allen was nominated as actor, director and co-writer of "Annie Hall.'' He won as director and co-writer.

In 1982, Warren Beatty was nominated as producer of best picture nominee "Reds,'' and as actor, director and co-writer. He won only as director.

Supporting actress nominee Judi Dench, nominated for an Oscar last year for her role as Queen Victoria in "Mrs. Brown,'' was one of two actresses nominated this year for playing Queen Elizabeth.

She had the role in "Shakespeare in Love'' while Cate Blanchett was the monarch in "Elizabeth.''

© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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