Well, the Oscar nominations are out.
Biggest surprises?No nomination for William Hurt for "The Accidental Tourist," which is not a surprise just because he would have deserved one, but because he usually gets one.
Seven nominations for "Dangerous Liaisons" and six for "Working Girl," both interesting but slight pictures.
No nomination for Christine Lahti for "Running on Empty," consistently one of our best performers giving one of her best performances.
Ditto Susan Sarandon, whose role in "Bull Durham" was worthy of a nomination.
A nomination for director Martin Scorsese for "The Last Temptation of Christ" and one for Charles Crichton for "A Fish Called Wanda," but none for the directors of the two best picture nominees "The Accidental Tourist" and "Dangerous Liaisons" (Lawrence Kasdan and Stephen Frears, respectively).
No nominations for "The Thin Blue Line," easily the year's best documentary feature.
Only technical nominations for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," which certainly deserved a directing nod for Robert Zemeckis and an acting nod for Bob Hoskins. (Actually, a best actress nomination for Jessica Rabbit wouldn't have been entirely out of place!) (As if to compensate, the Academy has announced a special award will be given to Richard Williams, animation director of the film.)
No major nominations for "Bird" or "A World Apart."
And, despite a public plea by the academy that voters not nominate actors for supporting awards when their roles were obviously leads, River Phoenix is nominated for "Running On Empty" and Geena Davis for "The Accidental Tourist," despite those clearly being lead roles.
Look for actual who-will-win predictions in the near future. (Movie critics are nothing if not undaunted.)
- A RECORD $4.46 BILLION was earned at the nation's box offices last year, according to Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America. But he added that there was a slight dip in theater attendance.
Valenti told the annual Las Vegas gathering of movie theater owners that attendance was down .03 percent, but revenues were up 5 percent from the previous year.
Still, movie theaters are in what he called "a watching war" with network, local and cable television, and with video rentals and sales.
According to Valenti, 49 million homes have cable TV and 37 million pay for subscription channels. On the VCR front, 56 million households have at least one VCR, and one out of five of those has a second VCR.
"Conventional wisdom" says movie houses are bound to die, Valenti said. However, he added, the film industry has nonetheless held on through times of competitive crisis and will continue to do so.
Meanwhile, on the Salt Lake theater front, the Centre Theater closes, but more multiplex movie theaters continue to open. There is a tentative first-run four-plex slated for the Centre's corner, but more immediately - next Friday in fact - a five-plex "dollar" house on the west side, the Cinemas 5, will open.
Just how healthy that trend is may be arguable, however. After all, how much money can a theater make when it's playing a movie that is also in four or five other theaters in town.
For example, last Friday "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" opened in five theaters locally, and "The 'burbs" opened in six!
And you thought we were oversaturated with video stores.
- FROM THE "THINGS we wish we'd said" file, Christian Science Monitor writer Louise Sweeney came up with a wonderful alternate title for "Lawrence of Arabia," in light of the old film's new epic status in re-release: "Gone With the Sand."
- QUOTE OF THE WEEK: With the announcement this week that Ted Turner will not colorize "Citizen Kane" (due to legal entanglements), it seems fitting to remember a recent comment by independent writer-director-actor Henry Jaglom, quoted by Associated Press writer John Antczak:
"Orson said to me at lunch, about two weeks before he died, I remember this vividly, `Please do this for me. Don't let Ted Turner deface my movie with his crayons.' "
- QUOTE OF THE WEEK II: Screaming comic Sam Kinison, whose own movie deal recently fell through, in an interview by David Handelman for the Feb. 22 Rolling Stone:
"Watching somebody you hate in a bad movie is such a high. You know they hate their lives. You see `Walk Like a Man'? Howie Mandel's movie that was unreleasable? Bobo the dog boy! Hee-hee-hee.
". . . I defy (Dan) Aykroyd or (Chevy) Chase or John Candy to come forward and tell me about any commitment to art. If the yardwork paid what they get for a movie, they'd show up and do it."
- QUOTE OF THE WEEK III: Tess Harper, co-star of Tom Selleck's "Her Alibi" and Sam Shepard's "Far North," speaking with UPI's Vernon Scott:
"Almost everyone in `Far North' knew one another from previous films. Ann Wedgeworth played Jessica's mother in `Sweet Dreams' and Charles Durning had played Jessica's father in `Tootsie.'
"I worked with Jessica in `Crimes of the Heart.' Patricia Arquette, who plays my daughter in `Far North,' played my daughter-in-law in a television movie.
"In fact, the whole cast of `Far North' is remarkable in that we all look like we're members of the same family - blonde, blue-eyed, square-jawed and with perky noses."