If you think a truckload of Academy Award nominations is a guarantee of riches come Oscar night, you’re wrong — just ask Steven Spielberg.
While the filmmaker can’t be anything other than confident over his chances of picking up multiple awards tonight for his “Schindler’s List,” it’s likely he hasn’t completely forgotten that night in 1986 when another of his films, “The Color Purple,” was awarded a grand total of zero Oscars after garnering a whopping 11 nominations.
Of course, most would agree that Spielberg’s chances for”Schindler” walking off with a ton of Oscars are a lot better than those of “The Color Purple” in 1986. But chances don’t necessarily translate into visits to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage.
Look at “Reds,” Warren Beatty’s 1981 film about John Reed and the Russian Revolution. Like “Schindler,” the film racked up 12 nominations but could only scrounge up three Oscars — for director Beatty, supporting actress and cinematography. It lost to “Chariots of Fire” in many of the other categories, including best picture.
Another of Beatty’s films, “Bugsy,” was a mob rule at nominations time in 1992, grabbing 10, but wound up with only two awards, for costumes and art direction.
Five films received 13 or more nominations, topped by “All About Eve’s” 14. “Schindler” is the 11th to rack up 12 noms, joining “Ben-Hur,” which won 11 Oscars — the all-time record — only losing in the adapted screenplay category.
Results for the others vary widely. For example, 1964’s “Becket” walked off with only an adapted screenplay category for all its trouble, while “My Fair Lady,” which received 12 nods that same year, racked up eight awards, including best picture. “Mary Poppins,” which bested both films that year with 13 nominations, won five awards.
Eight for ‘Waterfront’
1954’s “On the Waterfront,” another film with 12 nominations, racked up eight awards, including best picture, director and screenplay, tying it with “Gone With the Wind” and “From Here to Eternity.”
And how did “All About Eve,” the all-time nominations champ with 14, do on Oscar night? The Bette Davis starrer “fastened its seat belts” and walked off with six Oscars, including ones for picture and for director Joseph Mankiewicz.
For sheer batting average, though, there are two champs — Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Last Emperor” and “Gigi,” both of which won in all nine categories in which they were nominated — including best picture, director and screenplay. No other films with as many noms had perfect conversion records.
So, with the possibility of a Spielberg landslide,is there anything that might turn tonight’s Oscar show into an interesting contest? You only have to look back to last year’s ceremony, when underdog Marisa Tomei won a supporting actress Oscar for her role in “My Cousin Vinny.”
Like Spielberg, Holly Hunter has been picked as the favorite to take home a leading actress Oscar for her role in “The Piano,” which, along with “The Remains of the Day,” received eight Oscar nominations. But now, with something of a “Piano” backlash brewing, many feel that Angela Bassett, a nominee for “What’s Love Got to Do With it,” could pull off an upset.
The same applies in the leading actor category, where Tom Hanks has long been favored to walk off with an Oscar for his role in “Philadelphia.” But now, many feel that Liam Neeson from “Schindler’s List” or Daniel Day-Lewis, who starred in “In the Name of the Father,” could win the coveted statuette.