The main surprise in the Best Film category was the inclusion of the competent but lightweight thriller The Fugitive at the expense of The Age of Innocence, critically lauded as Martin Scorsese's finest film for years, and Robert Altman's Short Cuts which, I am convinced, will come to be seen as a major film of the early Nineties (although Altman has netted a Best Director nomination).
There is, once again, a remarkably strong British presence given the state of our film industry, although Holly Hunter is, on the strength of critics' awards so far, a certainty to beat Emma Thompson for Best Actress. And Tom Hanks is likely to attract the sympathy vote in the Best Actor category for his role of an Aids-afflicted lawyer in Philadelphia.
The better British bets are in other categories: Orlando is a serious contender for costume and production design. And it was good to see Brits dominating (as always) the animation category: four candidates out of five, including the ubiquitous Nick (Creature Comforts) Park for The Wrong Trousers.
A dark horse for Best Foreign Film was the Welsh-language picture Hedd Wyn. Produced by S4C, it's the story of a First World War poet who dies in the trenches and is awarded a posthumous Eisteddfod chair. I'm one of the handful of people who have seen it and confess I found it rather dull, though it has a certain Chariots of Fire flavour of nationalist nostalgia.
The Oscar awards will be presented on the 21 March.
Picture: The Fugitive, In the Name of the Father, The Piano, The Remains of the Day, Schindler's List.
Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis in In the Name of the Father; Laurence Fishburne in What's Love Got to Do With It; Tom Hanks in Philadelphia; Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day; Liam Neeson in Schindler's List.
Actress: Angela Bassett in What's Love Got to Do With It; Stockard Channing in Six Degrees of Separation; Holly Hunter in The Piano; Emma Thompson in The Remains of the Day; Debra Winger in Shadowlands.
Supporting Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape; Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List; Tommy Lee Jones, The Fugitive; John Malkovich in In the Line of Fire; Pete Postlethwaite in In the Name of the Father.
Supporting Actress: Holly Hunter in The Firm; Anna Paquin in The Piano; Rosie Perez in Fearless; Winona Ryder in The Age of Innocence; Emma Thompson in In the Name of the Father.
Director: Jim Sheridan for In the Name of the Father; Jane Campion for The Piano; James Ivory for The Remains of the Day; Steven Spielberg for Schindler's List; Robert Altman for Short Cuts.
Original Screenplay: Gary Ross for Dave; Jeff Maguire for In the Line of Fire; Ron Nyswaner for Philadelphia; Jane Campion for The Piano; the triumvirate of Nora Ephron, David S Ward and Jeff Arch for Sleepless in Seattle.
Adapted Screenplay: Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese for The Age of Innocence; Terry George and Jim Sheridan for In the Name of the Father; Ruth Prawer Jhabvala for The Remains of the Day; Steven Zaillian for Schindler's List; William Nicholson for Shadowlands.
Foreign Film: Belle Epoque (Spain); Farewell My Concubine (HK); Hedd Wyn (UK); The Scent of Green Papaya (Vietnam); The Wedding Banquet (Taiwan).
Art Direction: Addams Family Values, The Age of Innocence, Orlando, The Remains of the Day, Schindler's List.
Cinematography: Farewell My Concubine, The Fugitive, The Piano, Schindler's List, Searching for Bobby Fischer.
Costume Design: The Age of Innocence, Orlando, The Piano, The Remains of the Day, Schindler's List.
Documentary Feature: The Broadcast Tapes of Dr Peter, Children of Fate, For Better or For Worse, I am a Promise, The War Room.
Documentary Short Subject: Blood Ties, Chicks in White Satin, Defending Our Lives.
Film Editing: The Fugitive, In the Line of Fire, In the Name of the Father, The Piano, Schindler's List.
Make-Up: Mrs Doubtfire, Philadelphia, Schindler's List.
Original Score: Elmer Bernstein for The Age of Innocence; Dave Grusin for The Firm; James Newton Howard for The Fugitive; Richard Robbins for The Remains of the Day; John Williams for Schindler's List.
Original Song: 'Again' in Poetic Justice; 'The Day I Fall in Love' in Beethoven's 2nd; 'Philadelphia' and 'Streets of Philadelphia' in Philadelphia; 'A Wink and a Smile' in Sleepless in Seattle.
Animated Short Film: Blindscape, The Mighty River, Small Talk, The Village, The Wrong Trousers.
Live Action Short Film: Black Rider, Down on the Waterfront, The Dutch Master, Partners, The Screw (La Vis).
Sound: Cliffhanger, The Fugitive, Geronimo: An American Legend, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List.
Sound Effects Editing: Cliffhanger, The Fugitive, Jurassic Park.
Visual Effects: Cliffhanger, Jurassic Park, The Nightmare Before Christmas.
WILLIAM HILL'S ODDS: Film: 2/7 Schindler's List; 4/1 The Piano; 8/1 The Remains of the Day; 10/1 In the Name of the Father; 16/1 The Fugitive. Actress: 1/5 Holly Hunter; 7/1 Emma Thompson; 7/1 Angela Bassett; 8/1 Debra Winger; 25/1 Stockard Channing. Actor: Evens Tom Hanks; 13/8 Anthony Hopkins; 10/3 Daniel Day Lewis; 10/1 Liam Neeson; 25/1 Larry Fishburne.
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