TOP 10: LOOKING FOR OSCAR GLORY AFTER 1991
By Sam Coffey – Apr 4, 20180
ACCA 1991: As voting continues in ACCA 1991, Awards Circuit celebrates the many great films of 1991, perhaps one of the most historic years in Oscar history. A number of talented performers, directors, writers, and craftsmen were nominated (or won!) for their great achievements but have somehow not found their way back to the Dolby Theatre. Mercifully, some actors who remained on this barren list for ages eventually found Oscar glory again, with Robert De Niro landing his first nomination since “Cape Fear” with “Silver Linings Playbook” and Laura Dern doing the same in 2014 with “Wild” following up her first nomination for “Rambling Rose.” Unfortunately, too many winners and nominees from 1991 have passed away, failing to get back to Oscar since this year, including Jessica Tandy, Jack Palance, cinematographer Adrian Biddle, and shockingly Jonathan Demme.
10. ALLEN DAVIAU – 1991 film – “Bugsy”
The only craftsman to make the list, cinematography Allen Daviau may not be a name that you know by heart, but you should, having shot “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “The Color Purple,” and “Empire of the Sun“. He was an often Steven Spielberg collaborator before he began working with Levinson. The 5-time Oscar nominee landed his nods in less than a decade and was never invited back. A shame, considering how many iconic images he placed on the screen.
9. KEVIN COSTNER – 1991 film – “JFK”
Hot of the heels of his double Oscar win the year prior, Kevin Costner‘s lack of a Best Actor nomination for “JFK” seems surprising, especially considering the film was the most nominated picture of 1991. Costner is a true star, and one of the last vanguard of the old A-List of the 80s and early 90s. He’s been in Oscar-adjacent films in recent years with “Hidden Figures” and “Molly’s Game,” but hasn’t been invited back. Perhaps he’ll just have to settle for winning Emmys.
8. LAWRENCE KASDAN – 1991 film – “Grand Canyon”
Four-time Oscar nominee Lawrence Kasdan might be most famous for scripting “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Return of the Jedi,” but his Oscar love came from the seminal hit of 1983, “The Big Chill” and from the Geena Davis Oscar vehicle, “TheAccidental Tourist.” Kasdan is penning the upcoming “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” but hasn’t done much non-Star Wars material since 2012’s “Darling Companion.” He has nothing upcoming.
7. BARRY LEVINSON – 1991 film – “Bugsy”
Barry Levinson has more Oscar nominations than you think (6!!), and a win for “Rain Man.” Despite that, he hasn’t been back to the Oscars since his 1991 film “Bugsy” was nominated. While Levinson is currently the king of HBO biopics starring 1970s stars, it would be nice to see him return to form on the big screen.
6. OLIVER STONE – 1991 film – “JFK”
Okay, another slight fudging here. While 3-time Oscar champ Oliver Stone might have been nominated for his writing on 1995’s “Nixon,” he has never been back with a big prestige picture nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, a category he won twice. While his politics used to be his weapon of choice, that weapon has become dull and rusty in his hands. Perhaps a feat of non-hagiography (“Snowdon“) or blunt political mockery (“W.“) would do wonders for him. He’s currently focused on TV.
5. GEENA DAVIS – 1991 film – “Thelma & Louise”
Hard to believe that Oscar winner Genna Davis hasn’t been back since 1991, after her iconic role in “Thelma & Louise” and considering her co-star went on to three more nods in just 4 years. Perhaps more shocking in that Davis wasn’t invited back the following year for “A League of Their Own.” Davis has been doing to TV recently, picking up a Golden Globe a decade ago for “Commander-in-Chief.”
Okay, okay, okay FINAL fudge, I promise. While, yes, Barbra Streisand has technicallybeen nominated after 1991 (a measly song nominated in 1996 for the last feature film she directed, “The Mirror Has Two Faces“), she has not been back for WHY she is Babs: Acting, Producing, and especially Directing. While Babs is no doubt a star actress, her place in the history of woman directors is unquestionable: the first to win a Golden Globe, two hugely historic Oscar snubs in the category, etc. She was the first actress to use her star power for making her way into the director’s chair, and succeed with flying colors. Here’s hoping she finds her way back.
3. JOHN SINGLETON – 1991 film – “Boyz n the Hood”
In 1991, John Singleton made history as the first black man to be nominated for BestDirector at the Oscars (he also become the second nomination for Best OriginalScreenplay). But his film career since the historic moment has left a lot to be desired. While Singleton has tripped the light fantastic on the TV side (2 Emmy nominations in as many years), it would be wonderful to see the trial blazer back at the Dolby.
2. WARREN BEATTY – 1991 film – “Bugsy”
Okay, this is a bit of a fudge, considering Warren Beatty WAS invited back in the late 90s for “Bullworth” for screenwriting, but he’s never been back as an actor. Beatty has been back in the limelight recently with “EnvelopeGate” and his box office bomb “Rules Don’t Apply,” but it would be nice to see one of the last living greats of the 1960s,the 1970s get a sunset Oscar nomination for acting, as “Bugsy” is his last acting impression at the Oscars.
1. BETTE MIDLER – 1991 film – “For the Boys”
The Divine Miss M is the reigning Tony champ for Best Actress in a Musical for her much-lauded performance in the revival of “Hello, Dolly!” She has a few Emmys (including one for her famous appearance on Johnny Carson‘s last episode of “The Tonight Show“). She has a handful of Grammys, too. Bette Midler is an Oscar away from an EGOT and she’s one of the last certified stars out there. How has she not been back to the Academy Awards since 1991 especially considering her work in “Hocus Pocus” and “The First Wives Club“?
1. MERCEDES RUEHL – 1991 film – “The Fisher King”
Frankly, it’s very disheartening that following her Oscar win in 1991, Mercades Ruehl could not get arrested in a good part in Hollywood. The Tony winner numerous iconic film roles, ranging from “Big” to “Married to the Mob,” but it seems it all petered out after her Oscar win. Come on, we can do better by her! Following her Oscar win, she found more success on stage, earning Tony nominations for her lead role in Edward Albee‘s “The Goat: or Who is Sylvia?” and “The Shadow Box.” This fall, she plays Michael Urie‘s mother in the first Broadway revival of Harvey Fierstein‘s masterpiece, “Torch Song Trilogy.”