MGM/UA's "Rain Man" grabbed a narrow lead in the 61st Oscar race Wednesday with eight nominations, including Dustin Hoffman's sixth best-actor nod for his portrayal of a numbers-crunching autistic savant on a cross-country trek with his hustler brother.
The popular "Rain Man"--which has grossed more than $100 million since its December premiere--also received nominations for best picture, directing, screenplay written directly for the screen, art direction, editing, original music and cinematography.
Next among the top nominees were best-picture candidates "Dangerous Liaisons" from Warner Bros. and Orion's "Mississippi Burning," which received seven nominations each.
Fox's "Working Girl," with six nominations, and Warner's "The Accidental Tourist," with four nominations, rounded out the best picture slate. Disney's hugely successful "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" received six nominations, but all were in technical categories, including art direction, cinematography, and sound.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday February 18, 1989 Home Edition Calendar Part 5 Page 9 Column 3 Entertainment Desk 2 inches; 45 words Type of Material: Correction
The Academy Award nominees for best achievement in sound effects-editing were omitted from a list of Oscar contenders in Thursday's Calendar. The nominees are: Stephen H. Flick and Richard Shorr, "Die Hard"; Charles L. Campbell and Louis L. Edemann, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," and Ben Burtt and Richard Hymns, "Willow."
Oscars are awarded following a vote by some 4,600 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The awards will be presented on March 29 at the Shrine Auditorium and the ceremonies will be broadcast on ABC.
In a major surprise, Martin Scorsese received a best director nomination for "The Last Temptation of Christ" (Universal) even though the iconoclastic film about Jesus Christ was widely criticized by some Christian groups and was virtually ignored in the Golden Globe, Directors Guild of America and other pre-Oscar awards.
Reached in New York, Scorsese said: "This a statement of support by (movie) directors for other directors who have a film they need to get made. . . . It's what this country is all about."
The film received mixed reviews and wasn't nominated for an award by the directors' guild, in which a sizable number of television directors join movie directors and others in voting. Scorsese has never won an Oscar, but was nominated for directing "Raging Bull" in 1980.
Other nominees for the best director Oscar--all of whom also received Directors Guild nominations--were Charles Crichton for "A Fish Called Wanda"; Alan Parker for "Mississippi Burning"; Barry Levinson for "Rain Man," and Mike Nichols for "Working Girl." Notably missing from the directors' nominations was Clint Eastwood, who had won a Golden Globe award for directing "Bird," which was released by Warner.
In a rare coup, Sigourney Weaver took dual nominations as best actress for her portrayal of murdered naturalist Dian Fossey in "Gorillas in the Mist" (Universal/Warner), and as best supporting actress for her comic role as an unscrupulous boss in "Working Girl." According to the academy, only five performers have ever received two acting nominations in a single year. The last actress to receive dual nominations was Jessica Lange in 1982.
Other best actress nominees were Glenn Close, who played a manipulative seductress in the 18th-Century period piece "Dangerous Liaisons"; Jodie Foster, who played a rape victim in Paramount's "The Accused"; Melanie Griffith, who played an ambitious secretary in "Working Girl," and Meryl Streep, who played a mother falsely accused of murdering her child in Warner's "A Cry in the Dark."
In the best actor category, TV and stage actor Edward James Olmos received a dark-horse nomination for his portrayal of East Los Angeles mathematics teacher Jaime Escalante in Warner's "Stand and Deliver." Olmos and several friends had taken the unusual step of mounting their own Oscar campaign in the Hollywood trade press when Warner didn't strongly push for its nomination.
Other best actor nominees were previous Oscar winner Gene Hackman, who played a Southern sheriff-turned-FBI agent in "Mississippi Burning," and first-time nominees Tom Hanks, who played a boy trapped in a man's body in Fox's "Big," and Max von Sydow, who played a long-suffering Swedish farm-hand in "Pelle the Conqueror," a European-produced film that was distributed in the United States by Miramax Films.
In addition to Weaver, the best supporting actresses included first-time nominees Joan Cusack for "Working Girl"; Geena Davis for "The Accidental Tourist"; Frances McDormand for "Mississippi Burning," and Michelle Pfeiffer for "Dangerous Liaisons."
Best supporting actor nominees are two-time Oscar winner Alec Guinness for Cannon's "Little Dorrit" and first-time nominees Kevin Kline for "A Fish Called Wanda"; Martin Landau for Paramount's "Tucker: The Man and his Dream"; River Phoenix for Warner's "Running on Empty," and Dean Stockwell for Orion's "Married to the Mob."
Among the studios, Warner led the pack with 23 nominations. But its five nominations for "Gorillas in the Mist" were shared with Universal, which co-produced the picture, and its nine nominations for "Dangerous Liaisons" and "Running on Empty" came from films it acquired in its recent merger with Lorimar-Telepictures Corp.