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No Sure Winners Seen In 57th Annual Academy Awards

March 24, 1985 GMT

HOLLYWOOD (AP) _ The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a night of suspense for an estimated 1 billion television viewers Monday as the 57th annual Academy Awards opens without a clear favorite to sweep the show.

While in the two previous years ″Terms of Endearment″ and ″Gandhi″ predictably took the top honors, the movies and performances of 1984 leave open the chance that none will emerge dominant - even though ″Amadeus″ tops the nominations with 11.

Those include best picture and best director, and F. Murray Abraham and co- star Tom Hulce are nominated for best actor. But multiple nominations from the same movie in the same category tend to split votes, making it difficult to assure three top wins by ″Amadeus.″

The show will be broadcast live across the country on ABC-TV beginning at 9 p.m. EST. It also will be broadcast either live or on tape to an estimated audience of 1 billion in 77 countries, including first-time viewers in China and Poland.

Besides the suspense of announcing the winners, there is the challenge of streamlining 1984′s three-hour, 45-minute show into a sleek production that delivers entertainment as well as acceptance speeches.

There are four producers for this year’s show instead of one. A flashing red warning light at the podium awaits overlong acceptance speakers, and the orchestra has been ordered to play music if the winner talks longer than 45 seconds.

The show’s host this year will be Jack Lemmon, a response to movie industry criticism for using in past years Johnny Carson, a television personality.

Co-hosts and presenters, about 40 in all, will be mass-introduced at the beginning of the show to save time, and show producers including actor Gregory Peck, writer-producer Larry Gelbart, director Robert Wise and Academy President Gene Allen have decided to spread the big awards throughout the show.

Most major nominees have told the academy they will attend the show, but the death last week of Sir Michael Redgrave removed two from the list: his daughter, Vanessa, nominated for best actress in ″The Bostonians,″ and longtime friend Dame Peggy Ashcroft, nominated for best supporting actress in ″A Passage to India.″ Both will attend Redgrave’s funeral Tuesday in London.

Woody Allen, nominated for best director, was a predictable no-show. Allen chose to play his clarinet in a New York City jazz club in 1978 while ″Annie Hall″ won best picture, actress (Diane Keaton) and director (Allen).

The enigmatic Prince, nominated for best original score, also will not attend, said academy spokesman Bob Werden.

Among the uninvited is New York City media hoaxer Alan Abel, who has said he plans to somehow infiltrate the show and cause at least a subtle ruckus. Abel recently organized a mass-fainting of seven people, including himself, during a live broadcast of the ″Phil Donahue Show″ in New York City.

Jerry Moon, who heads security for the Academy Awards, says his forces are experienced with all sorts of hoaxers and impostors, and will be taking ″a lot of extra special caution″ to prevent any surprises.

Singer Phil Collins thought he had a right to be on stage, to sing the best original song nomination ″Against All Odds,″ which he performed for the movie of the same name.

But singer Anne Reinking was selected instead to sing the tune in a dance number. The academy explained it wanted a person more identified with the movies to perform the number.

The five films nominated for best picture are ″Amadeus,″ ″The Killing Fields,″ ″A Passage To India,″ ″Places In the Heart,″ and ″A Soldiers Story.″ None was a top box-office hit in 1984.

Besides Abraham and Hulce of ″Amadeus,″ nominees for best actor include Albert Finney of ″Under the Volcano,″ Sam Waterston of ″The Killing Fields,″ and Jeff Bridges, for ″Starman.″

Besides Miss Redgrave, nominees for best actress include Sally Field for ″Places in the Heart,″ Jessica Lange of ″Country,″ Sissy Spacek of ″The River,″ and Judy Davis of ″A Passage to India.″

The race for best direction includes David Lean for ″A Passage to India,″ Milos Forman, ″Amadeus″; Roland Joffe, ″The Killing Fields″; Robert Benton, ″Places in the Heart″; and Allen for ″Broadway Danny Rose.″