The Academy’s Directors Branch maintained its ”No Girls Allowed” policy with this year’s nominations. Never mind that Barbra Streisand (whose Prince of Tides got seven nominations, including Best Picture) subjected herself to cross-examination on 60 Minutes and took calls from strangers on Larry King Live; she wound up overlooked for Best Director.
Nor did critics’ prizes help River Phoenix (My Own Private Idaho) or Judy Davis (Barton Fink).
Critics’ favorite Fried Green Tomatoes did end up with two Oscar nods, but it might have gained more if the film’s hit status hadn’t become evident until after it went wide. By then, ballots had already been mailed.
Sending cassettes to Academy members is no longer a novelty; backers of Miramax’s Hear My Song, for instance, tried that tactic, to no avail. Still, videos insured that Boyz N the Hood was seen by the right members, who rewarded John Singleton with Best Director and best original screenplay nods. Carolco’s Seven Arts’ home delivery of Rambling Rose (accompanied by a chocolate rose) helped clinch votes for Laura Dern (Best Actress) and her mom, Diane Ladd (Best Supporting Actress).
Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Picture despite the videos provided by corner-cutting Disney: Sitting down to enjoy the cartoon at home, Academy members were surprised to find only a 10-minute reel of clips.
Kevin Costner laid low this year and was not among JFK’s eight nods.
In contrast, Bette Midler’s wailing and gnashing of teeth over her For the Boys flop earned enough sympathy to gain a Best Actress place on the ballot (for the film, not the talk-show performances).