Playing It Safe

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LOS ANGELES: After winning Iowa last night, Bob Dole scored in Hollywood today, as the Academy Award nominations were announced, revealing a very strong tilt toward sentimental family films. TIME film critic Richard Schickel calls today's Academy Award nominations "puzzling and enigmatic," focused firmly on uplifting or romantic stories to the exclusion of some very strong, if disturbing films. The best picture nominations: "Apollo 13," "Babe," "Braveheart," "The Postman (Il Postino)" and "Sense and Sensibility." The excellent "Dead Man Walking" and the somber "Leaving Las Vegas" were, well, left out. "Perhaps the Academy is sending a message to the industry that it appreciates old fashioned virtue and sentimentality," Schickel concludes. "They admire and respect a serious dark movie, like 'Leaving Las Vegas' which is why Nicholas Cage and Mike Figgis are nominated for Best Actor and Best Director, but the Academy just does not really like the film." Either that, or the members thought Senator Dole wouldn't.