1982 Best Picture nominees

1982 Academy Awards® Winners and History

1982
The winner is listed first, in CAPITAL letters.

Actor:
BEN KINGSLEY in "Gandhi", Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie", Jack Lemmon in "Missing", Paul Newman in "The Verdict", Peter O'Toole in "My Favorite Year"
Actress:
MERYL STREEP in "Sophie's Choice", Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria", Jessica Lange in "Frances", Sissy Spacek in "Missing", Debra Winger in "An Officer and a Gentleman"
Supporting Actor:
LOUIS GOSSETT, JR. in "An Officer and a Gentleman", Charles Durning in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas", John Lithgow in "The World According to Garp", James Mason in "The Verdict", Robert Preston in "Victor/Victoria"
Supporting Actress:
JESSICA LANGE in "Tootsie", Glenn Close in "The World According to Garp", Teri Garr in "Tootsie", Kim Stanley in "Frances", Lesley Ann Warren in "Victor/Victoria"
Director:
RICHARD ATTENBOROUGH for "Gandhi", Sidney Lumet for "The Verdict", Wolfgang Petersen for "Das Boot", Sydney Pollack for "Tootsie", Steven Spielberg for "E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial"

1982 became known as the year with many cross-dressing, gender-reversed, transvestite performances and roles with confused sexual identities: Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, Julie Andrews and Robert Preston in Victor/Victoria, and John Lithgow in The World According to Garp. It must be noted that these four acting nominees all lost their bids. And it was known as the year that one of the most successful contenders, the box-office blockbuster E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial, lost the top Oscar award.

Many of the major awards among 1982 films were swept by director Sir Richard Attenborough's earnest, conventional three-hour long, costume epic biography/story of the life of the great, noble and venerable Indian leader, the Mahatma Gandhi (with eleven nominations and eight wins). It won the largest number of awards for any British film up to that time - although the film was financed by Columbia Studios. (The year before, the British film Chariots of Fire was also honored with many accolades - seven nominations and four wins.)

The film's eight awards were for Best Actor (Ben Kingsley in a debut lead performance), Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art/Set Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design - and director Attenborough won two Oscars - for Best Picture (as producer), and Best Director.

Two of the Best Picture nominees might have won instead, since they were also very-accomplished films:

  • director Steven Spielberg's extremely-popular and entertaining, block-buster science-fiction film E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (with nine nominations and four wins for technical achievements, for Best Sound, Original Score for John Williams - his fourth Oscar, Visual Effects, and Sound Effects Editing)
  • Sydney Pollack's witty gender comedy Tootsie (with ten nominations and only one win, for Best Supporting Actress), the story of an out-of-work actor Michael Dorsey (Hoffman) whose female disguises help him get a job and become a female star on a daytime television soap opera. (Although the Academy awarded a Best Picture Oscar to Annie Hall (1977) five years earlier, a rare occurrence for a comedy, it was not likely to occur at such regular intervals.)

The other two Best Picture contenders were:

  • Greek director Constantin Costa-Gavras' first American film, the South American political thriller Missing (with four nominations and one win - Best Screenplay Adaptation) that suggested CIA involvement in the overthrow of Chile's dictator Salvador Allende
  • Sidney Lumet's dramatic courtroom drama The Verdict (with five nominations and no wins), about an alcoholic Boston lawyer named Frank Galvin (Paul Newman) and with a screenplay by David Mamet

The only Best Picture-nominated director who wasn't nominated for Best Director was Costa-Gavras. Instead, German director Wolfgang Petersen was nominated for Das Boot (The Boat) (with six nominations and no wins), a tense and claustrophobic tale of a 1941 Nazi U-boat during World War II. [The film was awarded more Oscar nominations than any previous foreign language films in history - until this record was tied in the next year by Fanny and Alexander (1983) (with six nominations and four wins). Both films would be surpassed by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), which earned ten nominations and four wins including Best Foreign Language Film, including a rare Best Picture nomination.] The Verdict brought director Sidney Lumet his fourth - and last unsuccessful Best Director Oscar nomination. (A fifth nomination was as co-writer of the Adapted Screenplay for Prince of the City (1981).)

Ben Kingsley deservedly won the Best Actor Oscar (with his first nomination and first Oscar) for his intelligent, sensitive, and realistic portrayal of Mohandas Gandhi's life and his doctrine of non-violent civil disobedience in Gandhi. With his half-Indian (birth name Krishna Bhanji) and half-English descent, Kingsley became the first South Asian performer to achieve such a feat.

All of newcomer Kingsley's Best Actor competitors were veteran actors - the two strongest were:

  • Dustin Hoffman (with his fifth nomination) as Michael Dorsey/'Dorothy' Michaels, who impersonated a feminist woman and fooled his/her co-actors in order to acquire a daytime soap-TV starring role, in Tootsie
  • Paul Newman (with his sixth unsuccessful career nomination) as alcoholic, ambulance-chasing, Boston trial lawyer Frank P. Galvin involved in a medical malpractice case in The Verdict

The other two Best Actor nominees were:

  • Jack Lemmon (with his eighth and last nomination, a two-time Oscar winner) as father Ed Horman searching for his missing writer/son Charles in violence-torn Central America in Missing
  • Peter O'Toole (with his seventh of eight career nominations, tying him with Richard Burton for the same number of losing nominations) as a former, alcoholic, Hollywood swashbuckler actor named Alan Swann in director Richard Benjamin's My Favorite Year (the film's sole nomination)

The Best Actress winner was Meryl Streep (with her fourth nomination and second Oscar win) as tormented Polish refugee Sophie Zawistowska in New York, the survivor of the Nazi concentration camps (following her fateful 'choice' between which of her two children would die), who has an unstable relationship with a driven Brooklynite (Kevin Kline) in director/screenwriter Alan J. Pakula's melodramatic film Sophie's Choice (the film's sole Oscar win out of five nominations).

[Streep's win prevented Jessica Lange from winning both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Oscars this year. This was Streep's first Best Actress Oscar following her supporting win in 1979. She was nominated consecutively from 1981-1983 as Best Actress.]

The other Best Actress nominees included:

  • 1964 Oscar-winner Julie Andrews (with her third nomination) in the title role of Victoria ("a woman impersonating a man impersonating a woman"), a British singer/transvestite in a drag bar, in Blake Edwards' Victor/Victoria
  • 1980 Oscar-winner Sissy Spacek (with her third nomination) as Jack Lemmon's (as Ed Horman) daughter-in-law Beth Horman - a wife whose husband Charles Horman (John Shea) went 'missing and who seeks the truth in Chile in Missing
  • Debra Winger (with her first nomination) as Paula Pokrifki, a local millworker (who falls in love with officer candidate Richard Gere)...
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