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Who'll Be Up for Oscars?

The ballots have all been returned and counted, and at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow this year's Academy Awards nominations will be announced at a press conference to be telecast, so they say, around the world. It will no doubt be an Oscar year like all years, filled with surprises and injustices, nominations deserved and undeserved.

Much of the advance gossip in Hollywood involves the possibility that Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino may both be nominated in two categories: best actor, for their work in "Hoffa" and "Scent of a Woman" respectively, and best supporting actor, for "A Few Good Men" and "Glengarry Glen Ross." But "Hoffa" opened to lukewarm reviews and so-so business, and so perhaps Pacino will be the only double-dipper. He has already been nominated six times for Oscars without winning.

Pacino for "Scent" and Nicholson for "A Few Good Men" are two of the sure bets this year. Another is Clint Eastwood for actor and director, and his "Unforgiven" for best picture. Additional best picture nominations will go to "Howards End," "The Player," "A Few Good Men" and very possibly "The Crying Game."

The leading contenders for best actress nominations: Susan Sarandon for "Lorenzo's Oil," Emma Thompson for "Howards End," Mary McDonnell for "Passion Fish," Whoopi Goldberg for "Sister Act" and possibly Whitney Houston for "The Bodyguard." Best actor nominations, in addition to Pacino's, may go to Daniel Day-Lewis for "The Last of the Mohicans," Tom Cruise for "A Few Good Men" and maybe Academy favorite Jeremy Irons for "Damage."

Supporting actress nominations will likely go to Alfre Woodard for "Passion Fish," Miranda Richardson for "The Crying Game," Rosie Perez for "White Men Can't Jump" and possibly Marisa Tomei for "My Cousin Vinny." Supporting actor nominations could go to Michael Madsen for "Reservoir Dogs," Jack Lemmon for "Glengarry Glen Ross" and take your pick of the rest of the cast of that movie.

Lots of people think Denzel Washington's performance in "Malcolm X" deserves an Oscar nomination for his title role in the film. And if Spike Lee is not nominated for best director for "Malcolm X," look for a loud and very justified outcry. The Director's Guild passed him over in favor of Rob Reiner, who did competent but not original work on "A Few Good Men." But sometimes the DGA list and the Academy list do not match, and there is strongly felt sentiment in Hollywood that "Malcolm X" was one of the best directing jobs of the year. On the other hand, many of the elderly, rich, white Academy members possibly did not go out of their way to see the movie.

The chances of "The Crying Game" for a best picture nomination might seem slim, but I don't think so. The offbeat Anglo-Irish production is the most talkedabout movie of the last two months, and has generated the most genuine, as opposed to rote, enthusiasm. Movie critics are always being stopped on the street and asked about new movies. Not since "Batman" have more people buttonholed me with opinions than with "Crying Game," and they mostly like it a lot. A genuine enigma this year, however, involves the chances of Jaye Davidson, who plays Dil, the girlfriend in "The Crying Game." Will Academy voters have the imagination to nominate Davidson? If so, in what category? Whatever the voters do, the producers of the Oscarcast will be missing a bet if they don't draft Davidson for one of the musical numbers.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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