Several prominent theatre names are among the nominees for the 70th annual Academy Awards, recognizing excellence in film, which will be given Mar. 23.
* Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay (along with credited co-author Hilary Henkin) for Wag the Dog.
* Ahrens & Flaherty will compete with multiple Oscar winner Alan Menken in the category of Best Original Song. Ahrens & Flaherty's "Journey to the Past" from Anastasia will compete with "Go the Distance" from Hercules, which was written by Menken and City of Angels lyricist David Zippel. "Go the Distance" is sung in the film by Roger Bart, who appeared this season in Triumph of Love. However, Hercules was not nominated in the Best Score category, one that Menken often has dominated.
"Journey To The Past", is sung in the film by Broadway's own Liz Callaway, who provides the singing voice of Anastasia in that film. (Meg Ryan the speaking voice). Composer Flaherty told Playbill On-Line, "Liz did an amazing job singing the songs in the picture. Her last note in 'Journey' deserved a nomination all its own." As for his own nomination, Flaherty said, "I'm thrilled. We've basically been theatre writers, so to be recognized in this way for our first time out writing for a new medium is just a thrill."
Talking about the different between writing for the stage and film, Flaherty said, "Film is about action, about visuals. On stage, we could have a character like Mother [Marin Mazzie's character in Ragtime] who can sing a wonderful four-mintue song that's about emotions and ideas. In film, you constantly must think about, what's the action, what's the visuals, what the audience is seeing. Also, for an animated film that's for younger audiences, you have to make your point much more quickly. A song in Ragtime can run nine minutes; most of Anastasia's are two or three [minutes]."
Also nominated Feb. 10:
* Dame Judi Dench, veteran of the London stage, nominated for Best Actress for playing Queen Victoria in (Her Majesty) Mrs. Brown.
* Philip Glass (Einstein on the Beach) was nominated in the Best Original Dramatic Score category for Kundun.
* Dustin Hoffman, who began his career Off-Broadway and on, and who appeared on Broadway in Death of a Salesman was nominated as Best Actor for Wag the Dog.
* Anthony Hopkins, who acted on stage extensively, including in the original Broadway cast of Equus, was nominated as Best Supporting Actor for `Amistad, as was Robin Williams, who co-starred Off-Broadway in Waiting for Godot.
* Woody Allen, whose Don't Drink the Water, Play It Again, Sam and Floating Light Bulb were produced on Broadway, was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for Deconstructing Harry.
-- By Robert Viagas