Film 94 – Academy Awards 1994 – California Suite – tape 1670

I always enjoy coming across Film XX tapes, as I always like watching them, but this one is an extra treat, as there were two other programmes on it that I didn’t have logged in my database.

But first, Film 94, in which Barry Norman reviews the following films.

There’s a report on the art of the projectionist.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 14th March 1994 – 23:55

Next, an extra programme, as Barry Norman is in Los Angeles for the 66th Academy Awards.

Sadly, this is the cut down highlights package, rather than a live broadcast.

Whoopi Goldberg hosts. “Jurassic Park shows us what happens when you build an amusement park and everything goes wrong. The original title was Eurodisney.”

Veteran Actor Elijah Wood presents the award for Best Visual Effects. His delivery is a million times better than most of the older presenters.

Joining him on stage is the star of Jurassic Park, which might give you a clue as to who the winner is.

How could it be anything else? Jurassic Park redefined what was possible for Visual Effects.

Jeff Bridges introduces the first of the Best Film nominees, The Fugitive.

Marisa Tomei presents Best Supporting Actor

The winner is Tommy Lee Jones for The Fugitive.

Janet Jackson performs one of the nominated songs. These were the bits I always thought were a waste of airtime.

Liam Neeson presents Sound Effects Editing.

Another win for Jurassic Park, Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Glenn Close presents an honorary Oscar to Deborah Kerr.

“I’ve never been more frightened in all my life.”

Richard Dreyfuss presents the next Best Film nominee, Schindler’s List.

Gene Hackman presents Best Supporting Actress.

Surprise winner was Anna Pacquin for The Piano.

Johnny Depp presents another Best Song nominee.

It’s Neil Young, singing his song from Philadelphia.

Rosie O’Donnell presents Best Animated Short Film.

The winner, obviously, is The Wrong Trousers by Nick Park.

Alec Baldwin presents another Best Film nominee, The Remains of the Day.

Goldie Hawn introduces a dance medley of the nominated Best Scores.

It’s slightly weird to see the Holocaust portrayed through the medium of interpretive dance.

The winner, for Best Score is, naturally, John Williams for Schindler’s List.

Kirk Douglas presents Best Cinematography.

The winner is Janusz Kaminski, one of the worst cinematographers of the modern age. Don’t @ me.

Madeleine Stowe presents the next Best Picture nominee, The Piano. One of the worst films nominated that year. Don’t @ me.

Tom Cruise, with his beard, although Nicole Kidman wasn’t presenting with him.

He’s presenting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Paul Newman.

Anthony Hopkins presents Best Foreign Language Film

The winner is Belle Epoque, whose director says “I don’t believe in God, so I can’t thank him. I only believe in Billy Wilder.”

Antonio Banderas introduces the next Best Song nominee.

It’s Bruce Springsteen, singing Streets of Philadelphia.

Jeremy Irons presents Best Original Screenplay.

Winner is Jane Campion.

Best adapted screenplay goes to Steven Zallian for Schindler’s List.

Emma Thompson presents the Best Actor award.

The winner is Tom Hanks, who gets a standing ovation. This was the speech where he accidentally outs his high school drama teacher, which was the inspiration for the Kevin Kline film In & Out.

Donald Sutherland introduces In The Name of the Father.

Al Pacino presents Best Actress

Holly Hunter wins, for The Piano. She didn’t even have to learn any lines. It’s a travesty. (I love Holly Hunter, but not as much as I love another nominee, Emma Thompson). Also, yuckk to the gushing thanks for Harvey Weinstein.

Clint Eastwood presents Best Director.

Steven Spielberg wins for Schindler’s List. Taking nothing away from his achievement – That year, he not only made Schindler’s List, he also made Jurassic Park, a feat which may remain unsurpassed – I’ve always found it puzzling why Spielberg was always so desperate to win an Oscar, right back to Jaws. He’s so obviously the greatest film director there has ever been, but clearly just as wracked with imposter syndrome as the rest of us that he needs the recognition of the Academy.

He starts tearing up towards the end of the speech when he talks about those killed in the Holocaust, and as he’s walking off stage accompanied by Eastwood, he’s wiping his eyes.

Then they cut to Spielberg’s mother in the audience.

The final award of the night is Best Picture, presented by Harrison Ford.

So when Schindler’s List wins, Spielberg is already in the wings, and comes out to hug Harrison Ford. I’m sorry, but I’m crying now.

And I’m crying even more when co-producer Branko Lustig starts his speech with his concentration camp number, as a survivor of Auschwitz.

To wrap up the show, Barry Norman and Tom Brook talk about the results, and do various vox pops at all the parties

BBC Genome: BBC One – 22nd March 1994 – 21:30

After this, there’s a trailer for Stepping Out.

Then, another extra item, Neil Simon’s California Suite. A comedy I remember fondly when it was in cinemas, but which I don’t think I’ve revisited since.

It follows four different groups of people who are all staying in the same hotel in California.

Jane Fonda is a divorced woman from New York, in California to collect her teenage daughter from her ex husband.

Alan Alda is her ex, who tells her that her daughter wants to stay with him for a year.

Maggie Smith is the great British actress who has been nominated for an Oscar in a light comedy. Michael Caine is her sardonic husband

Richard Prior and Bill Cosby are in town on holiday with their wives. But things are not going well, as the hotel only has one of their reservations

Walter Matthau plays a man whose brother arranges a hooker for him after a night on the town.

His wife is played by Elaine May, director of Ishtar.

It’s very acerbic. The standout sequence is definitely Caine and Smith – Maggie Smith ironically won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role, possibly the most meta the Oscars have ever got.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 22nd March 1994 – 23:30

The tape ends just as the end credits for the film start.




  1. Do you think Michael Nyman’s gotten over being snubbed for “The Piano” by now? Probably not… Also, none of the nominated scores that year really lend themselves to dance numbers (especially the winner and “The Fugitive,” to epic fail on the part on the show producers).

    1. Yes, I thought the dance number wasn’t the greatest idea, but they had a famous choreographer (Debbie Allen) on the show, and by god, they were going to make use of her.

      I wouldn’t blame Nyman for being upset, though. His music was the best thing in the film by a very long way.

  2. I remember seeing that award for Deborah Kerr and feeling really sorry for her, she looked positively bewildered. They might at least have had someone to accompany her.

    Cheering to see how sceptical everyone is about The Piano these days. Jane Campion has made far better films, and it just doesn’t make sense other than as an unsubtle allegory about the subjugation of women (and even then). Plus the music wasn’t that great. Sally Hawkins was nominated for a silent role this year and was far more effective than Holly Hunter.

    Being shallow, I do prefer Jurassic Park to Schindler’s List, but its success at the Oscars was moving. When I saw the film in the cinema, someone let out a huge sob when the end credits began. Always remember that.

    1. I cried for some time after I saw it. I don’t think I’ve ever rewatched it because it’s so draining, but at some point I want my kids to see it. Now, more than ever, it’s important to see what people are capable of, good and bad.

      1. Yeah, it’s more turning Schindler into a saintly figure that bothered me when I thought he would have been more human as someone overcoming their flaws to do enormous good. But I don’t have a problem with a popular film sustaining the subject in the public consciousness for decades after it was made. Maybe we should be sad it’s still so relevant, but even if it wasn’t, it’s worth its enduring.

        Interesting that both JP and SL are stories of humanity surviving against terrible odds. “Life will find a way.”

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