Watching The Arrival Of The Oscar Nominees

Posted: March 22, 1990

The first shall be last and the last shall, very likely, be first.

That's the message, as usual, from video suppliers about when the winners and losers of Monday night's Academy Awards will arrive in video stores.

It's common knowledge in Hollywood that movies released in late fall and winter have a better shot at winning an Oscar: They're still fresh in the academy members' minds, while last year's spring and summer releases tend to be dark horses. If you follow this lame-brained theory to its semi-logical conclusion, movies that are already in video stores are doomed to failure Monday night, and the farther away a video's release date is, the more likely it is to win.

Working from that premise, four titles (those already available on video) haven't got a chance. That means Danny Aiello isn't likely to be rewarded for his supporting performance in Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing; nor is Lee, who was nominated for best original screenplay. The theory also spells bad news

for supporting-actress nominee Dianne Wiest for Ron Howard's Parenthood; Nora

Ephron, nominated for best original screenplay for When Harry Met Sally . . .,

and Phil Alden Robinson, nominated for best adapted screenplay for Field of Dreams, which is also a best-picture nominee.

Because of its Oscar nominations, Touchstone Home Video, perhaps smelling an upset, recently moved up the video release of Dead Poets Society to March 28, two days after the ceremonies. Poets has been nominated for best actor (Robin Williams), best director (Peter Weir), best original screenplay (Tom Schulman) and the big one: best picture. If it wins even a couple of these, Touchstone's gamble could pay off big.

Next to arrive will be Shirley Valentine, due from Paramount Home Video on April 12. The film had an extremely short run here (it was more like a sprint), so you may have missed best-actress nominee Pauline Collins' performance. Two weeks after that, on April 26, come best-supporting-actor nominee Marlon Brando in A Dry White Season (CBS/Fox Video), and another best- original-screenplay nominee, Steven Soderbergh for the much-discussed sex, lies, and videotape (RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video).

Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors - which got Allen his requisite best- director and best-original-screenplay nominations, as well as a best- supporting-actor nomination for veteran actor Martin Landau - is due from Orion Home Video on May 24. That same day, IVE's The Fabulous Baker Boys hits stores, best-actress nominee Michelle Pfeiffer and all.

At this point, the picture starts to get a little hazy. The folks at RCA/ Columbia are guesstimating that Steel Magnolias will make it to video in May or June. If Julia Roberts gets the Oscar for best supporting actress, figure on June after a run in the theaters; if not, May is more likely.

Whether or not it wins Monday, underdog darling My Left Foot, with nominations for best picture, best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), best supporting actress (Brenda Fricker), best director (Jim Sheridan) and best adapted screenplay (Sheridan and Shane Connaughton), seems likely to score big when HBO Video releases it June 13.

Music Box wasn't music to the ears of most critics, but if you missed it in theaters, you can catch best-actress nominee Jessica Lange's performance when IVE releases it on June 21.

The most distant solid arrival date for any nominee is July 11, when Media Home Entertainment offers Enemies: A Love Story, featuring not one, but two best-supporting-actress nominees (Anjelica Huston and Lena Olin) and a nomination for best adapted screenplay (Roger L. Simon and Paul Mazursky).

The Civil War epic Glory got only one major nomination: Denzel Washington for best supporting actor. RCA/Columbia's best guess on its video arrival is late summer.

Which brings us to this year's two favorites.

A lot of people are predicting that Driving Miss Daisy will be this year's Rain Man, which won four Oscars last year, including best picture. Daisy is nominated for nine awards, including best picture, best actor (Morgan Freeman), best actress (Jessica Tandy), best supporting actor (Dan Aykroyd) and best adapted screenplay (Alfred Uhry). Warner Home Video estimates that it will arrive on video in late August or early September.

Driving Miss Daisy's major competition is expected to be Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July, which is nominated for best picture, best actor (Tom Cruise - could it be his year?), best director (Stone) and best adapted screenplay (Stone and Ron Kovic, the movie's subject). Best guesses as to when MCA will release it in video stores range from as far away as Christmastime to as soon as - dare we think it? - July 4.

Finally, we come to the two wild cards in the deck:

Camille Claudel, starring best-actress nominee Isabelle Adjani, will eventually be released by Orion Home Video. When that will happen depends on how long it takes the 10 or so prints that are currently in circulation to make it through the art-theater circuit.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Branagh's challenging version of Shakespeare's Henry V seems to have taken a page from Richard III - it's out in the video wilderness crying "My kingdom for a distributor!" Maybe if Branagh wins for best actor or best director (he's nominated for both), some video supplier will come along and give ol' Hank a lift.

OSCAR'S VIDEO TIMETABLE

BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY Nominations: best picture; Tom Cruise, best actor; Oliver Stone, best director; Oliver Stone and Ron Kovic, best adapted screenplay. Expected July-Dec. MCA.

CAMILLE CLAUDEL Nominations: Isabelle Adjani, best actress. No date. Orion.

CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS Nominations: Martin Landau, best supporting actor; Woody Allen, best director and best original screenplay. Due May 24. Orion.

DEAD POETS SOCIETY Nominations: best picture; Robin Williams, best actor; Peter Weir, best director; Tom Schulman, best original screenplay. Due March 28. Touchstone, $89.95.

DO THE RIGHT THING Nominations: Danny Aiello, best supporting actor; Spike Lee, best original screenplay. Available. MCA, $89.95.

DRIVING MISS DAISY Nominations: best picture; Morgan Freeman, best actor; Jessica Tandy, best actress; Dan Aykroyd, best supporting actor; Alfred Uhry, best adapted screenplay. Expected late August-early September. Warner.

A DRY WHITE SEASON Nominations: Marlon Brando, best supporting actor. Due April 26. CBS/Fox.

ENEMIES, A LOVE STORY Nominations: Anjelica Huston and Lena Olin, best supporting actress; Roger L. Simon and Paul Mazursky, best adapted screenplay. Due July 11. Media.

THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS Nominations: Michelle Pfeiffer, best actress. Due May 24. IVE.

FIELD OF DREAMS Nominations: best picture; Phil Alden Robinson, best adapted screenplay. Available. MCA, no suggested retail price.

GLORY Nominations: Denzel Washington, best supporting actor. Expected late summer. RCA/Columbia.

HENRY V Nominations: Kenneth Branagh, best actor and best director. No date or distributor.

MUSIC BOX Nominations: Jessica Lange, best actress. Due June 21. IVE.

MY LEFT FOOT Nominations: best picture; Daniel Day-Lewis, best actor; Brenda Fricker, best supporting actress; Jim Sheridan, best director; Jim Sheridan and Shane Connaughton, best adapted screenplay. Due June 13. HBO Video.

PARENTHOOD Nominations: Dianne Wiest, best supporting actress. Available. MCA, no suggested retail price.

SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE Nominations: Steven Soderbergh, best original screenplay. Due April 26. RCA/Columbia.

SHIRLEY VALENTINE Nominations: Pauline Collins, best actress. Due April 12. Paramount.

STEEL MAGNOLIAS Nominations: Julia Roberts, best supporting actress. Expected May-June. RCA/Columbia.

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . Nominations: Nora Ephron, best original screenplay. Available. Nelson, $89.98.

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