This is rare, nuanced storytelling, anchored by one of Brad Pitt’s career-best performances and remarkable technical elements on every level. It’s a special film.
"Dances with Wolves," a story about a friendship between a Sioux tribe and a lone U.S. cavalryman in the 1860s, swept the list of nominations Wednesday for the 63rd annual Academy Awards.
The film won nominations in 12 categories, including best picture, and actor Kevin Costner was nominated as both its director and star. The other leading nominated films were "The Godfather, Part III" and "Dick Tracy," with seven mentions apiece, and "GoodFellas," with six.
Joining "Dances with Wolves" among the finalists for best picture are "Awakenings," about a psychiatrist who is able to bring his patients out of trances that have lasted for decades; "The Godfather, Part III," Francis Ford Coppola's continuation of the Corleone family saga; Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas," about a young man growing up in the Mafia, and "Ghost," a romantic comedy-thriller about a young woman who establishes contact with her dead lover though a psychic. "Ghost" made more money than any other movie in 1990.
Irish actor Richard Harris pulled a coup by winning a best-actor nomination for his work in "The Field," a film that has not opened in Chicago. Other leading men are Robert De Niro (his fifth nomination) as a mental patient in "Awakenings"; Gerard Depardieu, in the title role of "Cyrano de Bergerac"; Jeremy Irons, as murder defendant Claus von Bulow in "Reversal of Fortune," and Costner.
In the best-actress category, Anjelica Huston won her third Oscar nomination, as a confidence trickster in "The Grifters." Other nominees are Kathy Bates, as the "No. 1 fan" of a trash novelist, in "Misery"; Julia Roberts, who played a hooker with a heart of gold in the box-office hit "Pretty Woman"; perennial Academy favorite Meryl Streep, winning her ninth nomination, as a wacko actress in "Postcards from the Edge," and Joanne Woodward, winning her fourth nomination, as a troubled 1940s housewife in "Mr. & Mrs. Bridge."
Woodward's husband, Paul Newman, who played the film's other title role, was not nominated.
Bruce Davison's performance in "Longtime Companion," as a gay man holding a deathbed vigil with his lover, was so strong that it won him a supporting-actor nomination, even though the film came out a year ago and the academy's attention span is short. Other nominations in the category went to Andy Garcia, as a third-generation gangster in "The Godfather, Part III"; Graham Greene, who played Kicking Bird in "Dances with Wolves"; Al Pacino, as Big Boy Caprice in "Dick Tracy," and Joe Pesci, as a strutting, hot-tempered Mafioso in "GoodFellas."
Whoopi Goldberg played the psychic in "Ghost," and won a nomination as best supporting actress. Other nominees in the category are hot newcomer Annette Bening, as a slick operator who pulls the wool over a con man's eyes, in "The Grifters"; Lorraine Bracco, who played the wife of a rising young Mafioso in "GoodFellas"; Diane Ladd, the demented and scheming mother in the lurid "Wild at Heart," and Mary McDonnell, who played the white woman raised by Indians who falls in love with Costner in "Dances with Wolves."
Costner's nominations as star and director in "Wolves" were personal triumphs and an Academy Awards rarity. Nobody has ever won in both categories in the same year, and there have been only three previous dual nominations: Orson Welles, for "Citizen Kane"; Laurence Olivier, for "Hamlet," and Kenneth Branagh, last year, for "Henry V."
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