'Titanic' sails at top of Oscar nods

By John Horn Associated Press Published:

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. _ "Titanic," the epic account of a fateful love affair on the doomed ocean liner, captured a record-tying 14 Academy Award nominations today, including a nomination for best picture, actress and director.

"L.A. Confidential" and "Good Will Hunting" each received nine nominations, including best picture. The other best picture nominees were "As Good As It Gets" and, in a mild surprise, "The Full Monty."

"Titanic's" Kate Winslet was nominated for best lead actress, as were Helena Bonham Carter in "The Wings of the Dove," Julie Christie in "Afterglow," Judi Dench in "Mrs. Brown" and Helen Hunt in "As Good As It Gets."

Robert Duvall's self-financed role in "The Apostle" earned him a best lead actor nomination. He will face Matt Damon from "Good Will Hunting," Peter Fonda from "Ulee's Gold," Dustin Hoffman from "Wag the Dog" and Jack Nicholson from "As Good As It Gets."

The only other film to get 14 Oscar nominations was "All About Eve," released in 1950. The most wins for a single film is held by 1959's "Ben-Hur," with 11.

The 87-year-old Gloria Stuart in "Titanic" was nominated for best supporting actress. Also nominated in the category were Joan Cusack in "In & Out," Minnie Driver in "Good Will Hunting," Julianne Moore in "Boogie Nights" and Kim Basinger in "L.A. Confidential."

Burt Reynolds was nominated for best supporting actor for "Boogie Nights." The other nominees in the category were Robert Forster from "Jackie Brown," Anthony Hopkins from "Amistad," Greg Kinnear from "As Good As It Gets" and Robin Williams from "Good Will Hunting."

James Cameron, the driving force behind the $200 million "Titanic," received two nominations _ as producer of the film for best picture, and as the film's director. He was not nominated for the film's script.

Cameron will face for the directing Oscar, Peter Cattaneo for "The Full Monty," Gus Van Sant for "Good Will Hunting," Curtis Hanson for "L.A. Confidential" and Atom Egoyan for "The Sweet Hearafter."

Among those missing from the Academy Award nominations were Steven Spielberg, whose "Amistad" was not selected for best picture and who did not receive a best director bid. The critically acclaimed "The Ice Storm" also did not receive any nominations.

"Titanic's" other nominations came for art direction, cinematography, costume design, editing, makeup, score, song ("My Heart Will Go On"), sound, sound effects editing and visual effects.

Stuart, a star in the '30s who had all but retired from films a half-century ago, becomes the oldest performer nominated for an acting award, the Academy said.

Two of 1997's highest-grossing films failed to collect any top nominations. "Men in Black" and "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" combined for four minor selections.

The foreign-language films honored were Germany's "Beyond Silence," Holland's "Character," Brazil's "Four Days in September," Spain's "Secrets of the Heart" and Russia's "The Thief."

The script by actors Damon and Ben Affleck for "Good Will Hunting" was named in the original screenplay competition. The other nominees were scripts for "As Good As It Gets," "Boogie Nights," "The Full Monty" and Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry."

The adapted screenplay nominees were "Donnie Brasco," "L.A. Confidential," "The Sweet Hearafter," "The Wings of the Dove" and "Wag the Dog," the timely story about a presidential sex scandal.

With his nomination for "As Good As It Gets," Nicholson passed Laurence Olivier for the most nominations, 11, for a male performer. Allen's writing nomination, his 13th, put him past Billy Wilder for the most screenplay nominations.

Already on pace to become history's highest-grossing movie, "Titanic" may have relatively little to gain from the publicity of the Academy Awards. Not so for "L.A. Confidential."

The box-office behemoth and the underachieving darling of the critics have different things to gain from the Oscars.

"Titanic" has been the nation's most popular film for two months, earning $337.5 million in North America alone. In part because of today's high ticket prices, only three films in history have ever grossed more.

"L.A. Confidential" grossed $41.6 million, not bad for a period drama with an ensemble cast but not a breakout hit despite its accolades. The story of 1950s Los Angeles police won best-picture awards from the National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review.

Warner Bros. will expand the national release of "L.A. Confidential" on Friday from fewer than 300 theaters to more than 800. New advertising will emphasize the anticipated Oscar nominations and play up the film's rich characters.

"The consensus is our original marketing campaign was a mistake," said Curtis Hanson, the film's director and co-writer. "It emphasized cops and guns and action."

He said he hoped women and infrequent moviegoers who wait for Oscar endorsements now will trek to the theaters. Academy voters generally frown upon box-office smashes; many Oscar winners _ such as "Schindler's List" _ make most of their money after the nominations and winners are announced.

"Forrest Gump" is a recent exception. "Star Wars" and "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" _ Nos. 1 and 2 on the all-time box-office lists _ also were nominated for best picture but neither film won the top prize.

The 70th annual Academy Awards show will be held at the Shrine Auditorium on March 23.

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