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'Bugsy' Hits the Jackpot : Film Leads Golden Globe Field With 8 Nominations

December 28, 1991|DAVID J. FOX | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Bugsy," director Barry Levinson's film biography of mobster Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel, collected eight Golden Globe Awards nominations on Friday--more than any other film--and became the front-runner in the Oscar race.

But the nominations were generously split among other films--"The Fisher King," "The Silence of the Lambs," "Beauty and the Beast," "JFK" and "Thelma and Louise"--which each received at least four nominations.

On the television side, NBC's "Cheers" and "L.A. Law" continued to dominate the competition as they have in previous years, with four nominations each. But they were joined by such programs as "Evening Shade," "Murphy Brown" and "Northern Exposure," with three nominations apiece.

The Golden Globes are given out annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., a group of 86 Los Angeles-based journalists who write for foreign publications. As the first of the major Hollywood awards each year, the Globes often foreshadow the eventual winner of the best picture competition for the Oscars given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The top Golden Globe winner for 1990, "Dances With Wolves," eventually went on to win the Oscar for best picture.

The 49th annual nominations were announced in ceremonies on Friday in Beverly Hills, and the winners will be revealed at a banquet on Jan. 18 to be televised by the Turner Broadcasting System.

Unlike the motion picture academy, which hands out only one Oscar for best picture, the Golden Globe Awards split the best picture category in two: dramatic movies, and musical or comedy movies.

"Bugsy" stars Warren Beatty as the flamboyant mobster who dazzled Hollywood in the 1940s and was instrumental in creating Las Vegas' Strip. Besides a nomination for best dramatic picture, it also collected nominations for Beatty as best actor, Levinson as best director, Annette Bening for best actress, Harvey Keitel and Ben Kingsley for supporting actor, James Toback for screenplay, and Ennio Morricone for best original score.

The nominations sweep by "Bugsy" was the second major boost for the film this month. In addition to largely laudatory reviews, the movie from TriStar Pictures won the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. prize as best film on Dec. 14. But closely behind, and helping to keep the Oscar race for best picture interesting, was Orion Pictures' "Silence of the Lambs," the winner of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review.

"Bugsy" shared the Golden Globe nomination for best dramatic motion picture with "The Silence of the Lambs," which received five nominations in all, "JFK" and "Thelma and Louise" with four nominations apiece and "The Prince of Tides" with three.

TriStar Pictures was the leader among studios in the number of nominations--14 in all--collected. Besides the eight for "Bugsy" there were five for its release of director Terry Gilliam's "The Fisher King," but only one for "Hook," perhaps the most highly visible production of the year. That nomination went to Dustin Hoffman for his title role in the Steven Spielberg movie. TriStar's sister studio under the Sony Pictures Entertainment banner, Columbia Pictures, collected six nominations in all, three for "Prince of Tides" and three for "City Slickers."

Overlooked entirely in the nominations was the year's most successful box-office hit, "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. Besides leading the U.S. box office, the movie has been a huge success in the international market.

Both Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon received nominations for best actress as the renegade women in "Thelma & Louise." But some observers were surprised that Barbra Streisand, who was recognized in the category of best director for "Prince of Tides," was overlooked by the members of the foreign press for her leading role in her own movie.

And, in another closely watched category, British actor Anthony Hopkins was nominated for best actor in the drama "Silence of the Lambs," putting to rest discussion in some Hollywood circles about which category--best actor or supporting actor--that he would eventually compete in. Orion Pictures, the distributor of "Lambs," had said there was no question that Hopkins would compete for best actor.

Meanwhile, Mercedes Ruehl, who was the choice of the Los Angeles critics as best actress for her role in "The Fisher King," was instead nominated for best supporting actress by the Globes committee.

On the musical or comedy side, best picture nominees were: "The Fisher King" with five nominations, "Beauty and the Beast" with four nominations, "City Slickers" and "Fried Green Tomatoes" with three nods and "The Commitments" with one nomination,

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