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ACADEMY AWARDS NOMINATIONS : 'Bugsy' and 'The Beast' : Nominations for Best Picture . . . : Beatty Film Up for 10 Oscars; 'Beauty' Scores a First : Nominees: Disney film becomes the first animated feature tapped for best picture. 'Boyz N the Hood's' John Singleton enters the record books twice, and a mother-daughter duo is nominated.

February 20, 1992|DAVID J. FOX | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In the best-actor category, Nolte and Beatty were joined by Robert De Niro for his role as a psychopathic killer in "Cape Fear," Anthony Hopkins for his role as a cannibalistic murderer in "Silence of the Lambs" and Robin Williams, who co-starred in "The Fisher King" as a gentle but psychotic homeless man.

Academy members will have to choose between the two stars of "Thelma & Louise," who were nominated for best actress--Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. Sarandon told the Associated Press: "I'm very pleased to be honored with all of these wonderful actors, but I'm most pleased that Geena and I have been honored together. I never would have gotten in the car without her."

"Thelma & Louise" screenwriter Callie Khouri said she was "gratified as hell" to be recognized for her screenplay, and not surprised that Sarandon and Davis garnered best-actress nominations for the controversial film.

Although "Thelma & Louise" was perceived as an anti-male statement in some quarters, Khouri said she felt totally supported in Hollywood. "There was a backlash," she acknowledged, "but it was certainly not inside the film community."

The other best-actress nominees are Dern for her role in "Rambling Rose"; Jodie Foster for her role as an FBI trainee in "The Silence of the Lambs, and Bette Midler for her role as a USO trouper in "For the Boys." Foster won the best-actress Oscar for 1988's "The Accused. " Midler was a previous nominee for 1979's "The Rose."

Ladd said she was "thrilled" to learn of her nomination for best supporting actress but waited with "bated breath" to learn whether her daughter was also a nominee for best actress in the same film. "When I heard that Laura got nominated, I started to cry," Ladd said.

But, Ladd said she hoped the unprecedented mother-daughter nominations will bring "Rambling Rose" to the "attention of people that should see this film," Ladd said. "That really excited me."

Dern was equally ecstatic. "I'm very excited, not only to be nominated for a movie that I so wanted to make for five years, but to be nominated with my mother," she said. "So many times, when actors get nominated, it's not for a movie they really care about."

Besides Ladd, the nominees for best supporting actress were Kate Nelligan for "The Prince of Tides," Jessica Tandy for "Fried Green Tomatoes," Juliette Lewis for "Cape Fear" and Mercedes Ruehl for "The Fisher King."

In a statement, Ruehl said "it's an honor to be included in the company of such extraordinary actresses," while Lewis said she found it "really odd" to be nominated at the age of 18.

"There're people who've been around for 50 years and give great performances and are never nominated," she said. "I don't understand the logic of the Oscars yet."

She also said her nomination "doesn't change anything. It doesn't change the condition of the world. Our world is still falling apart."

In the supporting-actor category, Tommy Lee Jones won a nomination playing accused conspirator Clay Shaw in "JFK," Ben Kingsley and Harvey Keitel as gangland leaders in "Bugsy," Michael Lerner as an outrageous movie mogul in "Barton Fink" and Jack Palance as a tough cowpoke in "City Slickers."

For Palance, it is his third nomination as a supporting actor. The first two were for "Sudden Fear" in 1952 and "Shane" in 1953. "I enjoyed my role in 'City Slickers' more than any other I've had in many years," Palance said through a spokesman. "The nomination for best supporting actor is the icing on the cake. I am most grateful."

Contacted yesterday, Lerner said he felt the academy voters may have liked the parody aspects of his character. "The movie does make fun about Hollywood, but still there's something very compelling about the movie-mogul immigrants of the 1940s."

Commercial hit films often aren't recognized in the voting by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but this time around, 1991's biggest hit, "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," received six nominations, all in technical categories. In addition, two of the best-picture nominees--"The Silence of the Lambs" and "Beauty and the Beast"--have topped the $100-million mark in box-office grosses.

In the foreign-language film category, the German film "Europa Europa," about a young Jewish man who passes as a Nazi to save himself during World War II, was not eligible because the official German film commission did not nominate it or any other film for consideration. But a campaign by prominent German film directors and American critics appeared to have helped the film in Oscar competition, as director Agnieszka Holland was nominated for her adapted screenplay.

Joining "Europa Europa" in the adapted screenplay category are "Fried Green Tomatoes" by Fannie Flagg and Carol Sobieski, "JFK" by Stone and Zachary Sklar, "The Prince of Tides" by Pat Conroy and Becky Johnston, and "The Silence of the Lambs" by Ted Tally.

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