The only thing you can say with certainty about this year’s movies is that there weren’t enough good ones,” sighs one movie industry executive. Still, there were plenty of Oscar-worthy performances. Among those likely to get nods:
Best Actor Comeback king John Travolta in Pulp Fiction) seems a shoo-in nominee. Handsome old codgers also fare well, which bodes nicely for Paul Newman (the N.Y. Film Critics Best Actor for Nobody’s Fool). It doesn’t hurt to have been one of ‘94’s winners, either, which gives Tom Hanks (deemed Best Actor by the National Board of Review) and Tommy Lee Jones (Cobb), an edge. Also possible: Morgan Freeman and/or Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption); Ralph Fiennes (Quiz Show); Hugh Grant (Four Weddings and a Funeral); and Terence Stamp (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert).
Best Actress With Linda Fiorentino’s The Last Seduction performance ineligible because it first appeared on HBO, Jessica Lange heads the pack for the long-shelved Blue Sky. Other strong possibilities include the late, great Jessica Tandy for Camilla; Meryl Streep for The River Wild; Susan Sarandon for The Client; and two-time winner Jodie Foster for Nell. A long shot: Miranda Richardson (voted Best Actress, National Board of Review), for Tom & Viv.
Best Supporting Actress This year it could go to teen actress Kirsten Dunst for either Interview With the Vampire or Little Women. Also in contention: the sixtysomething and still gorgeous Sophia Loren (a surprising Golden Globe nominee for Ready to Wear); Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction); Dianne Wiest (a critics’ darling, she won in L.A. and N.Y. for Bullets Over Broadway); Susan Sarandon (this time for Little Women). If there’s a Gump sweep, the Academy may honor Robin Wright or once again show how much it likes Sally Field.
Best Supporting Actor Pulp’s Jackson may fall into this category because he has less screen time than Travolta, but the real race is between Gary Sinise (winner, National Board of Review) for Forrest Gump and Martin Landau in Ed Wood (winner, L.A. and N.Y. critics).