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'Titanic,' 'L.A. Confidential' early Oscar favorites

Recent critical acclaim has made "Titanic" a strong Oscar contender  

In this story:

January 6, 1998
Web posted at: 12:00 a.m. EST (0500 GMT)

From Correspondent Sherri Sylvester

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Could the most expensive picture ever made take home the Oscar gold? "Titanic" has more Golden Globe nominations than any other film, and critical opinion seems to have changed its course.

"In the mid-summer Oscar roundup, the film was not even mentioned," says its director, James Cameron. "It was considered to be a disaster movie and so on, and now I think that people are realizing that there is significant acting work in this picture.

CNN's Sherri Sylvester previews some of the movies being considered for Oscars
icon 3 min. VXtreme video

The competition includes "L.A. Confidential," which was named best picture by New York film critics, Los Angeles film critics, the National Board of Review and the National Society of Film Critics.

"If you talk to people around town, just about everybody talks about 'Titanic' and 'L.A. Confidential,'" says Peter Bart of Daily Variety. "It's unusual that the dialogue is limited to only two pictures at this time."

"L.A. Confidential" is viewed by some to be "Titanic's" only competition  

Cameron and "L.A. Confidential" director Curtis Hanson should also make the best director's cut.

A trio of past Oscar winners may also see their new films nominated. Steven Spielberg offers "Amistad," while Barry Levinson has "Wag the Dog" and James L. Brooks' entry is "As Good As It Gets."

Best actress: Julie Christie?

Brooks still remembers his acceptance speech for "Terms of Endearment."

"I was overwhelmed and I said I feel like I've been beaten up," Brooks says. "It's the strangest damn thing to say at a moment that should be one of sublime happiness."

Bonham Carter in "The Wings of the Dove"  

Julie Christie will be accepting best actress honors from the National Society of Film Critics for "Afterglow." Others have applauded Kate Winslet's work in "Titanic" and Judi Dench as "Mrs. Brown."

And Helena Bonham Carter has won best actress honors from the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles and Boston film critics for "The Wings of the Dove."

"My character could be seen as a manipulative bitch, really," Bonham Carter says. "She's most definitely an unobvious heroine. A bit of an anti-heroine."

"In the best actor category, of course, you go back to the old pros," says Bart. "To Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson and so forth."

Nicholson in "As Good As it Gets"  

Pacino for "Donnie Brasco," Hoffman for "Wag the Dog" and Nicholson for "As Good As It Gets." Veteran Robert Duvall has won a pair of pre-Oscar honors for "The Apostle," and Peter Fonda has been cited for his comeback in "Ulee's Gold."

Ballots go out Friday

Oscar voters love a dark horse, and the long shots include the men fronting "The Full Monty" and the newcomers who created "Good Will Hunting," Ben Afleck and Matt Damon.

Oscar ballots go out Friday. Nominees will be announced February 10.


Related sites:

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  • Internet Movie Database
  • Oscar.Com - Official 1997 Academy Awards Site - news, event info and history, behind-the-scenes scoops and a complete list of all the nominees.

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