'Reds' & 'Tootsie': Communists & Tranvestites in Love

Reds Warren Beatty Jack Nicholson Diane Keaton
Reds with Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, and Warren Beatty.

Warren Beatty's Reds, the best of the five 1981 Academy Award nominees for best picture, will be screened as the next feature of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Great To Be Nominated” series. Based on the life of Communist American journalist and Russian Revolution historian John Reed, Reds will screen on Monday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Actor Nicolas Coster, film editor Dede Allen, and casting directors Nancy Foy and Jane Jenkins will participate in a post-screening discussion.

Warren Beatty followed his fluffy Heaven Can Wait (screened as part of the “Great To Be Nominated” series a couple of weeks ago) with the gritty Reds, quite probably not only the best film of Beatty's forty-year career but also one of two or three films in which the actor does more than just pose for the camera. Others in the cast fare even better. As the feminist Louise Bryant – John Reed's love interest – Diane Keaton, for one, delivers one the best performances of her career.

As a director-co-screenwriter (with Trevor Griffiths) Beatty succeeds where nearly everyone else (including David Lean in the bloated Doctor Zhivago) have failed. As an intimate (political) epic, Reds never reduces its characters to mere cogs in the machinery of history. By the same token, the film never reduces history to a mere background to its characters' personal travails. In Reds – as in life – the personal and the political are so intertwined they're just about one and the same.

Reds took home Oscars for Actress in a Supporting Role (Maureen Stapleton), Cinematography (Vittorio Storaro) and Directing (Warren Beatty). The film received nine additional nominations: Best Picture (Beatty, producer), Actor in a Leading Role (Beatty), Actor in a Supporting Role (Jack Nicholson), Actress in a Leading Role (Diane Keaton), Art Direction (Richard Sylbert; Set Decoration: Michael Seirton), Costume Design (Shirley Russell), Film Editing (Dede Allen, Craig McKay), Sound (Dick Vorisek, Tom Fleischman, Simon Kaye), and Writing - Screenplay written directly for the screen (Beatty, Trevor Griffiths).

Janet Perlman's Oscar-nominated animated short The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, will be screened prior to the feature.

Passes for the remaining screenings in part four of “Great To Be Nominated” are $30 for the general public and $25 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. A $5 discount is available for those who wish to renew their passes from parts one, two or three of the series. Individual tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Passes and tickets may be purchased by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. Curtain time for all features is 7:30 p.m., and pre-show elements will begin at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.

'Tootsie': Dustin Hoffman Showcase Screening

Sydney Pollack's 1982 Best Picture nominee Tootsie, one of the funniest comedies of the 1980s, is the next feature in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Great To Be Nominated” series. The comedy about an unemployed actor who goes to gender-bending lengths to land a role, will screen on Monday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Actor Dabney Coleman, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Owen Roizman, casting director Lynn Stalmaster, and costume supervisor Bernie Pollack will participate in a post-screening discussion.

Tootsie stars Dustin Hoffman as Michael Dorsey, an unemployed actor with a reputation for being difficult who disguises himself as a (staggeringly ugly) woman to land an acting job. Not in a feature film, mind you – then as now, good female roles in Hollywood productions were about as rare as good Hollywood movies. Michael, dressed in the snazziest Woolworth's garbs money can buy, nabs a role in a soap opera.

Jessica Lange won her first Oscar for her (officially) supporting performance – she's actually the female lead – as Julie Nichols. (Had Lange been pushed in the best actress category, she'd have had to compete against herself for her much showier star turn in Frances, for which she did get a nomination.)

Tootsie received a total of ten nominations, for Best Picture (Sydney Pollack and Dick Richards, producers); Actor in a Leading Role (Hoffman); Actress in a Supporting Role (Lange, Teri Garr); Cinematography (Roizman); Directing (Pollack); Film Editing (Fredric Steinkamp, William Steinkamp); Original Song - “It Might Be You” (Music by Dave Grusin; Lyric by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman); Sound (Arthur Piantadosi, Les Fresholtz, Dick Alexander, Les Lazarowitz); and Writing - Screenplay written directly for the screen (Screenplay by Larry Gelbart, Murray Schisgal; Story by Don McGuire, Gelbart).

Also in the cast are Bill Murray – for once, he's quite funny – and, in a small role, a very young Geena Davis.

The Oscar-nominated animated short The Great Cognito will be screened prior to the feature. Filmmaker Will Vinton will be present for a short Q and A before the feature.

Passes for the remaining screenings in part four of “Great To Be Nominated” are $30 for the general public and $25 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. A $5 discount is available for those who wish to renew their passes from parts one, two or three of the series. Individual tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Passes and tickets may be purchased by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m.

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