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Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

March 23, 1997|by Susan King

Of course, Kevin Bacon is connected to each of this year's best actor and actress nominees. Here are some of our favorites:

Woody Harrelson ("The People vs. Larry Flynt") starred with Kiefer Sutherland in "The Cowboy Way." Bacon starred with Sutherland in "Flatliners."

Geoffrey Rush ("Shine") appears in the upcoming movie "Children of the Revolution" with Judy Davis. Davis appears with Jack Nicholson in "Blood and Wine," and Nicholson starred with Bacon in "A Few Good Men."

Billy Bob Thornton stars in "Sling Blade" with Robert Duvall. Duvall appeared in "Something to Talk About" with Bacon's wife, Kyra Sedgwick. Bacon and Sedgwick starred together in the "American Playhouse" drama "Lemon Sky," and he directed her in the film "Losing Chase."

Frances McDormand ("Fargo") appeared in "Chattahoochee" with Gary Oldman, who co-starred with Bacon in "Criminal Law."

Emily Watson appears with Jean-Marc Barr in "Breaking the Waves." Barr starred with Rosanna Arquette in "The Big Blue." Arquette appeared with John Lithgow in the Showtime movie "The Wrong Man," and Lithgow co-starred with Bacon in "Footloose."


Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet" is nominated for best costume design and art direction. Laurence Olivier's 1948 "Hamlet" won Oscars in both categories.


"The Preacher's Wife" is up for original musical or comedy score. The 1947 original, "The Bishop's Wife," was also nominated in that category. Hugh Freidhofer's score, though, lost out to Miklos Rozsa's for "A Double Life."


Several of the nominees have TV backgrounds. Best actor nominee Woody Harrelson, of course, starred as Woody the bartender from 1985 to '93 on "Cheers." Best actor nominee Billy Bob Thornton, below, appeared in the 1990 Fox series "The Outsiders" and the 1992-95 CBS series "Hearts Afire."


Best actress nominee Frances McDormand appeared in the 1987 CBS detective series "Leg Work."


Best supporting nominee William H. Macy ("Fargo") has a recurring role as Dr. Morganstern on "ER." Best supporting nominee Barbara Hershey ("The Portrait of a Lady") starred in the 1966-67 ABC western "The Monroes."


"Jerry Maguire" marks the second time nominees Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. have starred together. They both appeared in the 1992 best picture nominee "A Few Good Men."


Though "The Mirror Has Two Faces" marks the first Oscar nomination for Lauren Bacall, she has won Tony Awards for her work in the Broadway musicals "Applause" and "Woman of the Year." Bacall's late husband, Humphrey Bogart, won the 1951 best actor Oscar for "The African Queen."


Ralph Fiennes has appeared in three best picture nominees in the last four years. He was in the 1993 best picture winner, "Schindler's List," the 1994 nominee "Quiz Show" and this year's "The English Patient."


Best actress nominee Diane Keaton ("Marvin's Room") has starred in three best picture winners: 1972's "The Godfather," 1974's "The Godfather Part II" and 1977's "Annie Hall."


Incidentally, Keaton made her film debut in 1970's "Lovers and Other Strangers." The hit tune from that film, "For All We Know," won the Oscar for best song, and Renee Taylor, Joseph Bologna and David Zelag Goodman were nominated for their adapted screenplay.


Eight of the acting nominees are non-American. Back in the 1960s, the majority of acting nominees were not American-born. In fact, every best supporting actress nominee of 1963 was a non-American: Diane Cilento ("Tom Jones"), Dame Edith Evans ("Tom Jones"), Joyce Redman ("Tom Jones"), Margaret Rutherford ("The V.I.P.'s") and Lilia Skala ("Lilies of the Field"). Rutherford won the Oscar.


Cuba Gooding Jr. is just one of a handful of African Americans to be nominated for best supporting actor. The first was Rupert Crosse for 1969's "The Reivers." The first African American to win in the category was Louis Gossett Jr. for 1982's "An Officer and a Gentleman."


And the winners were . . .

Ten years ago:

Best Picture: "Platoon" (with Tom Berenger, above)

Best Director: Oliver Stone, "Platoon"

Best Actor: Paul Newman, "The Color of Money"

Best Actress: Marlee Matlin for "Children of a Lesser God"


Twenty years ago:

Best Picture: "Rocky"

Best Director: John G. Avildsen, "Rocky"

Best Actor: Peter Finch, "Network"

Best Actress: Faye Dunaway, "Network"


Sixty years ago:

Best Picture: "The Great Ziegfeld"

Best Director: Frank Capra, "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town"

Best Actor: Paul Muni, "The Story of Louis Pasteur"

Best Actress: Luise Rainer, "The Great Ziegfeld"


If "Jerry Maguire" wins for best picture, it will be the first best film since 1989's "Driving Miss Daisy" (with Jessica Tandy, above) to win without its director being nominated.


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