Suppose they held an Academy Awards and nobody came? Well, fewer than expected. That seemed to be the case with several of the winners 30 years ago at the Oscars.
Even though Paul Newman was favored to win the best actor race for “The Color of Money,” in which he reprised his role of “Fast” Eddie Felson from “The Hustler” (1961), he decided to skip the awards. “I’ve been there six times and lost,” Newman said. “Maybe if I stay away, I’ll win.” The strategy worked. (Newman, incidentally, had received an honorary Oscar for his body of work the previous year.)
Another no-show was Woody Allen, who was up for writing and directing “Hannah and Her Sisters.” (He won for his screenplay.) The reason for his absence: Allen had his weekly Monday night gig playing the clarinet at Michael’s Pub in Manhattan.
Michael Caine also wasn’t on hand to accept his supporting actor Oscar for “Hannah and Her Sisters” because he was stuck in the Bahamas due to filming delays on the very un-Oscar-worthy “Jaws: The Revenge.”
Caine’s “Hannah” co-star Dianne Wiest, though, was in the audience when her name was announced as the supporting actress winner. “Children of a Lesser God” star Marlee Matlin was also there to accept her best actress Oscar, the only time a deaf performer has won the award. The statuette was presented by her co-star William Hurt, who had won the best actor Oscar the preceding year for “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” Marlin delivered her acceptance speech in sign language.
The big winner of the night, however, was Oliver Stone’s Vietnam War saga “Platoon,” which won four awards including best picture over “Children of a Lesser God,” “Hannah and Her Sisters,” “The Mission” and “A Room With a View.” Stone’s Oscar-nominated screenplay was based on his own experiences during the war. Accepting his best director award, Stone thanked the academy by saying “I think, through this award, you’re really acknowledging that for the first time you really understand what happened over there. And I think what you’re saying is that it should never in our lifetime happen again.”