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THE 66th ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS : Oscar's Favorite 'List' : The Nominations : 'Schindler's' Sweeps Up With 12 Nods : 'The Piano' and 'The Remains of the Day' both receive eight nominations; 'Fugitive,' 'In the Name of the Father' earn seven.

February 10, 1994|DAVID J. FOX | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In a year that brought Steven Spielberg incredible commercial success with "Jurassic Park," his dramatic and risky Holocaust epic "Schindler's List" swept the 1993 Oscar nominations Wednesday in 12 categories, including best picture and best director.

It represents the most nominations since 1990's "Dances With Wolves," which also received 12 and went on to win seven, including best picture. Before that, no film had received as many nods since 1981's "Reds," which amassed 12 nominations but did not win best picture. The highest number of nominations in Oscar history was 1950's "All About Eve," which received 14 and won six, including best picture.

The best picture nominees, like Universal Pictures' "Schindler's List," are all dramas: Miramax Films' New Zealand period piece "The Piano" and Columbia Pictures' 1930s melancholy romance "The Remains of the Day," both receiving eight nominations; and Warner Bros.' action thriller "The Fugitive" and Universal's political father-son drama "In the Name of the Father," both earning seven nominations.

Among the surprises in the nominations were Laurence Fishburne's picking up a best actor nod for "What's Love Got to Do With It" and the omission of such prominent directors as Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme and also "The Fugitive's" Andrew Davis.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday February 26, 1994 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 4 Column 6 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Not a comedy-- Italian director-writer Lina Wertmuller's 1976 surrealistic war drama "Seven Beauties" was incorrectly described as a comedy in the Feb. 10 Calendar.

Spielberg, whose three-hour-plus film was shot in sobering black and white and takes place in a Nazi-run concentration camp in occupied Poland, said the main joy of the nominations was the recognition of the subject. He told The Times, "For a subject that has needed attention for almost half a century, I am beyond gratified that so many people are not looking the other way when they hear the word Holocaust. "

The filmmaker said the news of 12 nominations was "overwhelming" and represented "a very special moment for all of us who have dedicated ourselves to this subject."

"Schindler's List," which tells the story of how German businessman and Nazi Party member Oskar Schindler secretly saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews, is the first black-and-white movie to be nominated for best picture since 1980's "Raging Bull" and "The Elephant Man." If it wins, "Schindler's List" will be the first black-and-white film to get the best picture honor since 1960's "The Apartment."

"The Remains of the Day" producer Ismail Merchant praised the academy for singling out emotionally involving pictures this year rather than simply going for star vehicles. "The Hollywood community is smart, which is what's important," he said. "It's a reflection that the academy is in the right place."

The academy, however, didn't ignore one of the year's big-star, high-concept and most successful movies, "The Fugitive," although star Harrison Ford didn't receive a nomination. The film's producer, Arnold Kopelson, who won the best picture Oscar for the 1986 hit "Platoon," said the nomination was "an affirmation that a film can be a box-office success and still receive the attention of the academy." With $170 million in U.S. and Canadian grosses, "Fugitive" was the third-biggest ticket seller of 1993.

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Wednesday's pre-dawn announcements by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the 66th annual awards also made Oscar history. For only the second time, a woman--"The Piano's" Jane Campion of New Zealand--was nominated for best director. Italy's Lina Wertmuller was the first, for her 1976 comedy "Seven Beauties." But Campion is the first nominated female director to have a best picture nomination.

Campion, who was ill and unavailable for comment Wednesday, said in a prepared statement: "I feel privileged to be in the company of such incredible, important filmmakers." "Piano" producer Jan Chapman said in a phone interview from New Zealand at half past 3 a.m. today: "This is very, very exciting news, something I wasn't prepared for." She said earlier in the day that she had had a conversation with Campion in which "we said we'd both go to sleep and see whether we would be woken up with good news."

Besides Campion and Spielberg (who received his fourth directing nomination), the others in the category are: Jim Sheridan for "In the Name of the Father," his second nomination; James Ivory for "The Remains of the Day," his third; and Robert Altman for "Short Cuts," his fourth. None of the nominees has ever won.

The nomination of Altman, although not a surprise, was an oddity. It is his fourth nomination in this category, and he clearly is highly regarded by academy members, but "Short Cuts" received no other nominations.

In contrast, "Fugitive" director Davis, who received a nomination from the Directors Guild, was not nominated for an Oscar, although the film is a best picture candidate.

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