LOOK FOR "Dances With Wolves" to take most of the Oscars when the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences holds its 63rd annual awards ceremony tonight in Los Angeles.
"Dances With Wolves" should take the best picture, best actor (Kevin Costner), best director (Costner), best supporting actor (Graham Greene) and best adapted screenplay awards. The film has been nominated in other, lesser, categories, but at the moment, we're only concerned with the top 10, and "Dances" will take at least five of those categories.
If "Dances With Wolves" wins both the best actor and the best director awards, it will be the first time that one man has won both these awards for the same film.
"Dances With Wolves" also won Mary McDonnell the best supporting actress nomination. She has a chance, a good one, but the award will go to Whoopi Goldberg for her work in "Ghost."
The best actress award will go to Kathy Bates for her work in "Misery,' the Rob Reiner film in which Bates plays a crazy woman who holds a best-selling author (James Caan) prisoner in her home. Bates is this year's dark horse.
Huston, Streep and Woodward have already won Academy Awards, which means very little, because Katharine Hepburn, remember, has won four. Bates, however, may have the lead here. She is relatively new, and the Academy members have been known to favor the new personality.
Woodward is the sentimental favorite, but you can't always count on sentiment, not this time, because Woodward won her award 33 years ago (in 1957), and not that many Academy members are likely to remember.
Costner's competition in the best actor category is Robert De Niro ("Awakenings"), Gerard Depardieu ("Cyrano de Bergerac"), Richard Harris ("The Field") and Jeremy Irons ("Reversal of Fortune").
If Costner doesn't get this one, it will very likely go to Depardieu, because he is French, and this would be the first time a French actor has won this award for work he has done in a French-language film. That sort of thing appeals to the members of the Academy, who, at last count, were close to 6,000.
Greene will win best supporting actor for his role as the holy man Kicking Bird in "Dances With Wolves" because he is the real thing, an American Indian, and that should weigh heavily in his favor. The Academy members, having forgotten Marlon Brando's behavior when he won in 1972 for "The Godfather," may now be eager to demonstrate their support for the American Indian.
Brando, remember, had an Indian starlet speak for him and voice his disapproval of the way Hollywood had been treating the Indians on screen.
Goldberg will take the best supporting actress award for "Ghost," first, because she helps make the movie the fun it is, and second, she is the only black nominee in the top 10 categories.
If she doesn't get it, the award will go to McDonnell, which would give "Dances With Wolves" six of the top 10 honors.
Costner's chief competition for the best director award is Martin Scorsese ("GoodFellas"). Scorsese deserves this citation as much as any of the contenders, perhaps more, but he's already been cited as best director of the year by a number of critics' groups, and Academy members have a way of saying, through their voting, that they don't need to be told who should win, particularly by critics.
The best adapted screenplay will go to Michael Blake, who did the script for "Dances With Wolves." If Blake doesn't get it, it should go to Nicholas Pileggi and Scorsese for "GoodFellas." This, too, would be compensation -- for not awarding Scorsese the best director prize.
The best original screenplay will go to Barry Levinson for "Avalon," which was shot here in Baltimore. Levinson has already won this citation from the Writers Guild, and their choices have agreed with the Academy selections 80 percent of the time since 1949. If Levinson doesn't get this award, it should go to Bruce Joel Rubin for "Ghost." The Academy members, recognizing that the film has been a terrific money maker, may give it this much.
The best foreign film award should go to "Ju Dou," from the People's Republic of China. The film has gotten enormous press because Chinese leaders have denounced the film. They will not allow the director to attend the Hollywood ceremonies.
If "Ju Dou" doesn't get it, "Cyrano de Bergerac" will.
The best original song? "I'm Checkin' Out" from "Postcards From the Edge." That's the number Streep sings at the close of the film. This may be the Academy's way of saying we didn't give you best actress, but we will allow you best song.
And that's it for this year. We'll know how many we got right when the ceremonies have ended, tonight, around midnight. They begin at 9 p.m. on Channel 13.