A long shot pays for her own ads in a bid for an Oscar nomination

January 24, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD -- For Your Consideration, Best Supporting Actress: Patrika Darbo!


Darbo easily qualifies -- so far -- as the most obscure performer trying to generate support for an Academy Award nomination.

The determined actress is paying for a series of trade paper ads out of her own pocket, plugging her supporting work as Beau Bridges' put-upon wife in MGM's little-seen "Daddy's Dyin' . . . Who's Got the Will?"

Her initial ad -- a full, black-and-white page in Daily Variety costing $2,250 -- includes favorable critic's blurbs from the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, North Texas Daily and Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal.

Darbo's publicist, Stan Rosenfield, says that she mounted the campaign because MGM didn't.

"It's pretentious for anyone to campaign for an Oscar, if that's their only intent," Rosenfield says. "But when you have a body of work and a small picture the studio doesn't get behind, you have very little choice."

A credit manager until 1984, Darbo has amassed a solid list of stage, film and TV credits, and -- thanks to "Daddy's Dyin' " -- is now under contract to ABC.

"I'm investing in myself," she says of her Oscar push. "I feel I have as good a chance as anybody else. Look at last year -- who would have thought [Brenda Fricker] would win? Of course, she had a studio behind her."

With nominations to be announced Feb. 10, Darbo is hardly alone in vying for the attention of Academy voters.

Leading the hopefuls -- with 19 full pages of ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter -- is "The Russia House." Along with plugging the film for best picture, there have been four pages each hyping Sean Connery as best actor and Michelle Pfeiffer as best actress.

Other big advertisers include:

"Home Alone" (17 pages); "Edward Scissorhands" (15); "Dances With Wolves" and "Dick Tracy" (14 each); "Green Card" and "White Hunter, Black Heart" (13 each, with an especially strong push for Clint Eastwood as best actor-director for "White Hunter"); "Come See the Paradise" and "Miller's Crossing" (12 each); "GoodFellas" (11) and, with 10 pages each, "Avalon," "Mermaids" and "Presumed Innocent."

Among the longer-shots -- with two pages each are the box-office disappointments "Bonfire of the Vanities" (touting both Bruce Willis and Tom Hanks as best actor), "Havana" and "Rocky V."

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