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Buzz Bombing

September 21, 1986|Pat H. Broeske

If you've been hearing the Oscar buzz about "Color of Money"--which doesn't open until Oct. 17--it's no wonder.

Publicist Andrea Jaffe started hyping client Tom Cruise for a supporting-actor nomination . . . last May.

Publicist Warren Cowan acknowledges that he's also done some crowing about client Paul Newman's performance in the film--and a probable best-actor nomination. "But nothing official has been orchestrated," he said. "If I were to suggest to Paul some kind of an Oscar campaign, he'd hang up on me."

But the hypesters are claiming that the word-of-mouth is quite natural.

"In this town, people smell out performances," said Cowan. "There are gut instincts about some movies and with this one, all the ingredients sound right."

Christine Lamonte, director of East Coast publicity for Touchstone/Disney, claimed the buzz started on its own even before sneaks were held in the East in August.

"Friends were saying that this would be Paul Newman's film for an Oscar before I'd ever even seen the movie," she said. "I think all this has a lot to do with the fact that 'we' (audiences) really want him to win an Oscar--don't we?" (Newman's six best-actor nominations include one for "The Hustler," the prequel to "Color of Money.")

It can't hurt that director Martin Scorsese's reportedly shown the film to friend Jay Cocks of Time. "And he showed David Denby (New York magazine) a few reels, because David's doing a story on the film," said Lamonte.

Other publications helping out include Life (a Newman/Cruise cover), the New York Times magazine (cover on Newman), American Film (a Scorsese article), New York magazine (an article on screenwriter Richard Price), Playboy (an article on co-star Helen Shaver) and articles on Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Cruise's love interest in New Woman, GQ and Connoisseur.

And all this none too early. There's only 191 days to Oscar!

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