When nominations for the Academy Awards were tallied yesterday, Milos Forman's "Amadeus," based on Peter Shaffer's play about the life of Mozart, and "A Passage to India," David Lean's picturesque adaptation of the 1924 E.M. Forster novel, led the field with 11 nominations each, including Best Picture.
Others nominated for Best Picture were "Places in the Heart," Robert Benton's gentle paean to his Texas boyhood, and Roland Joffe''s "The Killing Fields," a searing indictment of war, based on New York Times columnist Sydney Schanberg's article about his experience in Cambodia. Both racked up seven nominations.
Forman, Lean, Benton and Joffe' each received nominations for Best Director. A great surprise was the omission in that category of Norman Jewison, whose "A Soldier's Story" filled out the quintet for Best Picture. Jewison had been nominated by the Director's Guild, usually a reliable indicator for that category. Even more surprising, three-time nominee Woody Allen took the slot for his "Broadway Danny Rose."
Benton and Allen also got the nod for Best Screenplay, along with Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel and Bruce Jay Friedman for "Splash," Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas for the low-budget independent film, "El Norte," and first-time screenwriter Daniel Petrie Jr. for "Beverly Hills Cop." Petrie's nomination was the only one for the movie, reflecting the consensus in Hollywood that he had gotten less credit than he deserved for "Cop's" wild box-office success.
The leads from last fall's trio of farm films dominated the Best Actress category, with nominations going to Jessica Lange for "Country," Sally Field for "Places in the Heart," and Sissy Spacek for "The River." All three actresses have taken home the Coveted Statuette in the past. Also chosen were Judy Davis for her performance as the sexually repressed Adela Quested in "A Passage to India" and Vanessa Redgrave for her performance as the sexually repressed Olive Chancellor in "The Bostonians."
"Amadeus" collected two Best Actor nominations, one for Tom Hulce as Mozart, the other for F. Murray Abraham as the envious Salieri.
Similarly garlanded were four-time nominee Albert Finney for his memorable stewbum routine in "Under the Volcano," Sam Waterston, who portrays Schanberg in "The Killing Fields," and two-time nominee Jeff Bridges for his performance as an alien learning human ways in "Starman."
At 78, Dame Peggy Ashcroft got her first Oscar nomination, as Best Supporting Actress, for her role as Mrs. Moore in "A Passage to India." Christine Lahti earned the same laurels for "Swing Shift," as did Glenn Close for "The Natural" and Lindsay Crouse for "Places in the Heart." The surprise here came with the nomination of longtime stage performer Geraldine Page for the poorly received box-office bust, "The Pope of Greenwich Village."
Performers from the Best Picture nominees led the Supporting Actor category: Adolph Caesar for his role as a self-hating black sergeant in "A Soldier's Story"; Dr. Haing S. Ngor for his portrayal of Dith Pran in "The Killing Fields"; and John Malkovich, who also appeared in "The Killing Fields," for his sensitive re-creation of a blind boarder in "Places in the Heart." They were joined by Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, whose droll performance as a Japanese war vet contributed to the surprising summer success of "The Karate Kid," and Sir Ralph Richardson, posthumously, for his performance in "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan."
"Greystoke," the beneficiary of the most lavish of all the studio campaigns in the trade magazines (including an entire pull-out mini-magazine in Variety) took only two other nominations -- for Best Makeup and Best Screenplay Adaptation. Others honored for adaptation to the screen were Lean for "A Passage to India," Shaffer for "Amadeus," Bruce Robinson for "The Killing Fields" and playwright Charles Fuller, who adapted his own "A Soldier's Story" from the stage.
Oscar nominations, and especially Oscars themselves, can translate into millions of dollars in grosses, particularly if, as for "A Passage to India" or "The Killing Fields," the movie is scheduled simultaneously for wider release. For "Places in the Heart," "Amadeus" and "A Soldier's Story," Oscar is less lucrative, since their runs are virtually over. But that doesn't mean it's any less meaningful to the studios and filmmakers involved. "People in Hollywood are very competitive," said one studio executive. "So instead of looking at numbers, for a couple of weeks they get to look at a statue. It's very important."
The nominations generally followed the verdicts of the New York and Los Angeles critics, who swung, respectively, to "A Passage to India" and "A Soldier's Story." The surprises came in omissions, particularly in the absence of Steve Martin, who had been honored in the Best Actor category by both the New York and the National film critics conclaves for his brilliant comic turn as a lawyer possessed by the soul of one of his clients in "All of Me." The failure reflects the Academy's historic bias against comedy, further evident in the shunning of "Ghostbusters" (two nominations, for Best Visual Effects and Best Original Song) and "Beverly Hills Cop," which together took the lion's share of the 1984 box office.
Other box-office hits were similarly ignored, confirming the Academy tradition that the awards should be independent of popular appeal. Steven Spielberg's smash "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" was recognized solely for Best Score (by John Williams, who was also nominated for his music in "The River") and Best Visual Effects. "Romancing the Stone" was nominated only for Best Editing. "Star Trek III," "Gremlins," and "Police Academy," among the biggest moneymakers of the year, took no nominations.
In the technical fields, Miroslav Ondricek of "Amadeus," Chris Menges of "The Killing Fields" and Ernest Day of "A Passage to India" shared the Best Cinematography category with Caleb Deschanel (for "The Natural") and Vilmos Zsigmond (for "The River"). "Amadeus," "The Cotton Club," "The Killing Fields" and "A Passage to India" will compete with "Romancing the Stone" for Best Editing laurels.
The 57th Academy Awards will be presented on March 25 at the Los Angeles Music Center, with eight-time nominee Jack Lemmon, whose own Oscar bid (in "Mass Appeal") failed, presiding. The black-tie ballyhoo will be telecast live on ABC.
Here are the nominees for the 57th annual Academy Awards announced yesterday:
PICTURE: "Amadeus," "The Killing Fields," "A Passage to India," "Places in the Heart," "A Soldier's Story."
ACTOR: F. Murray Abraham, "Amadeus"; Jeff Bridges, "Starman"; Albert Finney, "Under the Volcano"; Tom Hulce, "Amadeus"; Sam Waterston, "The Killing Fields."
ACTRESS: Judy Davis, "A Passage to India"; Sally Field, "Places in the Heart"; Jessica Lange, "Country"; Vanessa Redgrave, "The Bostonians"; Sissy Spacek, "The River."
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Adolph Caesar, "A Soldier's Story"; John Malkovich, "Places in the Heart"; Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, "The Karate Kid"; Haing S. Ngor, "The Killing Fields"; Ralph Richardson (posthumously), "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan."
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Peggy Ashcroft, "A Passage to India"; Glenn Close, "The Natural"; Lindsay Crouse, "Places in the Heart"; Christine Lahti, "Swing Shift"; Geraldine Page, "The Pope of Greenwich Village."
DIRECTOR: Woody Allen, "Broadway Danny Rose"; Robert Benton, "Places in the Heart"; Milos Forman, "Amadeus"; Roland Joffe', "The Killing Fields"; David Lean, "A Passage to India."
FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: "Beyond the Walls" (Israel); "Camila, A Gea" (Argentina); "Dangerous Moves" (Switzerland); "Double Feature" (Spain); "War-time Romance" (Soviet Union).
ORIGINAL SONG: "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" ("Against All Odds"); "Footloose" ("Footloose"); "Ghostbusters" ("Ghostbusters"); "I Just Called to Say I Love You" ("The Woman in Red"); "Let's Hear It for the Boy" ("Footloose").
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Daniel Petrie Jr., "Beverly Hills Cop"; Woody Allen, "Broadway Danny Rose"; Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas, "El Norte"; Robert Benton, "Places in the Heart"; Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel and Bruce Jay Friedman, "Splash."
SCREENPLAY ADAPTATION: Peter Shaffer, "Amadeus"; P.H. Vazak and Michael Austin, "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan"; Bruce Robinson, "The Killing Fields"; David Lean, "A Passage to India"; Charles Fuller, "A Soldier's Story."
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Miroslav Ondricek, "Amadeus"; Chris Menges, "The Killing Fields"; Caleb Deschanel, "The Natural"; Ernest Day, "A Passage to India"; Vilmos Zsigmond, "The River."
ORIGINAL SCORE: John Williams, "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"; Randy Newman, "The Natural"; Maurice Jarre, "A Passage to India"; John Williams, "The River"; Alex North, "Under the Volcano."
ORIGINAL SONG SCORE OR ADAPTATION SCORE: Jeffrey Moss, "The Muppets Take Manhattan"; Prince, "Purple Rain"; Kris Kristofferson, "Songwriter."
ART DIRECTION: "Amadeus," "The Cotton Club," "The Natural," "A Passage to India," "2010."
COSTUME DESIGN: "Amadeus," "The Bostonians," "A Passage to India," "Places in the Heart," "2010."
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: "High Schools," "In the Name of the People," "Marlene," "Streetwise," "The Times of Harvey Milk."
DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: "The Children of Soong Ching Ling, UNICEF," "Code Gray: Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing," "The Garden of Eden," "Recollections of Pavlovsk," "The Stone Carvers."
FILM EDITING: "Amadeus," "The Cotton Club," "The Killing Fields," "A Passage to India," "Romancing the Stone."
ANIMATED SHORT FILM: "Charade," "Doctor Desoto," "Paradise."
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: "The Painted Door," "Tales of Meeting and Parting," "Up."
SOUND: "Amadeus," "Dune," "A Passage to India," "The River," "2010."
VISUAL EFFECTS: "Ghostbusters," "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," "2010."
MAKEUP: "Amadeus," "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan," "2010."