Fred Gwynne -- a '60s pop-culture icon thanks to his TV roles as Officer Muldoon on "Car 54, Where Are You?" and patriarch Herman Munster on "The Munsters" -- has never really disappeared from view.
Mr. Gwynne made his film debut in Marlon Brando's "On the Waterfront," and more recently has been seen in "Fatal Attraction," "Pet Sematary" and "The Secret of My Success."
But the veteran character actor is positively ubiquitous right now, what with a pair of films that have opened just a week apart. He's the formidable Southern judge who spars with Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny," and he's one of the multitude of actors Woody Allen assembled for "Shadows and Fog," his shadowy, foggy homage to German expressionism.
It's "Beauty and the Beast" or "Bugsy" as best picture. Nick Nolte's a shoo-in for best actor. And Jodie Foster takes the best-actress prize running away.
At least that's the prediction of Film Comment, the bi-monthly movie magazine whose "Oscar Predix" appear in the March/April issue. Ten critics and industry reporters -- including David Ansen of Newsweek, Richard Schickel of Time and Stephen Schiff of Vanity Fair -- contributed their prognostications. And while a majority concurred on several categories, no single category was agreed upon unanimously.
Other Academy Award forecasts from the Film Comment gang: Jack Palance ("City Slickers") for supporting actor, Mercedes Ruehl ("The Fisher King") for supporting actress, Oliver Stone ("JFK") and Jonathan Demme ("Silence of the Lambs") neck-and-neck for director, James Toback ("Bugsy") for original screenplay, Pat Conroy and Becky Johnstone ("Prince of Tides") for screenplay adaptation, and Robert Richardson ("JFK") for cinematography.
Dutch director George Sluizer's arty, acclaimed 1991 suspenser, "The Vanishing," is getting the English-language treatment -- with Sluizer handling the remake. The taut mystery-thriller, about a woman who disappears on a road trip with her husband, gets going next month in Seattle.
Nancy Travis ("Three Men and a Little Lady," "Internal Affairs") co-stars with Kiefer Sutherland and Jeff Bridges.