by Mark Rabinowitz
Despite the fact that indies and films from studio specialty divisions were represented much less widely than last year, two films from these distributors were among the surprises of yesterday morning's Academy Award nomination, with "The Full Monty" (Fox Searchlight) and "The Sweet Hearafter" (Fine Line Features) pulling down four and two nods respectively.
On hand for the announcement in Beverly Hills early yesterday morning was iW's
Eugene Hernandez who said that Fox Searchlight reps Valerie Van Galder and
Michelle Robertson were among those most shocked by "The Full Monty's" nominations. Following the announcement of "Monty" director Peter Cattaneo's nomination for best director, the two were seen in the back row cheering and leaping in joyful surprise. Finally, when the Best Picture nod was announced the two continued their celebrations. As the announcement ended, Van Galder began working the cell phone, excitedly informing others of the news. Robertson beamed excitedly as the two made their way back to the office.
Reacting to the nomination yesterday in a prepared statement, Cattaneo said, "I'm completely astonished. I'd actually forgotten the nominations were being announced today and I was in a basement in Prague having a lot of difficulty setting up a shot on a commercial I was shooting. The producer of the commercial came in and told me that the film had been nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Director. I said, 'If you're joking, I'll never speak to you again.'''
Equally pleased and surprised according to Hernandez, were a row of folks from Fine Line Features and New Line Cinema, among them PR rep. Julie Goodwin. The group cheered loudly for "The Sweet Hearafter", "Boogie Nights", "Wag The Dog" and "Deconstructing Harry" and immediately drew a host of camera crews that documented their celebration. Referring to "Hearafter" Goodwin later told indieWIRE excitedly, "this means that a whole new audience will see this picture."
Among the nominees the other notable studio specialty division films are: Best Actor nominees Robert Duvall for "The Apostle" and Peter Fonda for "Ulee's Gold": Best Actress nominees Judi Dench for "Mrs. Brown" and Julie Christie for "Afterglow", and in The Best Picture Category, "Good WIll Hunting" and the aforementioned, "The Full Monty". One surprise omission was a best director or screenplay nod for "The Ice Storm," directed by Ang Lee and written by James Schamus.
Other surprises included: Robert Forster's nod for best supporting actor for "Jackie Brown," and the omission of the French film, "Ponette," in the best foreign language film category. In addition, several notable Black performances were ignored, including Pam Grier from "Jackie Brown," and Samuel L. Jackson in both "Jackie Brown" and "Eve's Bayou", the latter of which was the highest grossing film released by an independent distributor in 1997, not to mention Djimon Honsou for his performance
Some stats from this year's nominations: Most nods: "Titanic" with 14, while "L.A. Confidential" and "Good Will Hunting" tied for second with 9 picks, each...This is the second time in three years that all of the best director nominees were first time Oscar nominees...Jack Nicholson captured his 11th acting nomination, passing Laurence Olivier to lead all male actors, with Katherine Hepburn being the most nominated actor overall, with 12...and Woody Allen's nomination in the best original screen
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(Feb 11, 1998) AMPAS Announces the Nominees for the 1997 Academy Awards