1993 Oscar Nominations: When Marisa Tomei and Clint Eastwood Were More Surprising Than 'The Crying Game'

Every year, the Oscars nominate and award the best of each year’s given films. Looking back at past years’ Oscar nominees provides a time capsule of Hollywood in a given era, whether the films won or not. So, let’s take a look back at 1993’s Oscar nominations, just for fun. These reflect the year when Clint Eastwood became acclaimed, Marisa Tomei broke through, and more. 

Oscar nominations 1993: Clint Eastwood’s triumph

When Clint Eastwood directed and starred in 1992’s Unforgiven, its box office success and critical acclaim already represented a transition in his career. The film’s several nominations, including Best Picture and Eastwood for Best Director, only solidified this transition.

It’s hard to imagine, but before 1992, Eastwood was sort of a popcorn entertainment star. His Dirty Harry movies were subversive, but ultimately a Hollywood franchise, especially towards the end of the ’80s. He also had the crowd pleasers Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can with Clyde the orangutan.

Eastwood cut his teeth on westerns, with the TV series Rawhide and Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name trilogy. Eastwood continued with many American westerns. You should seek out Two Mules for Sister Sara. His chemistry with Shirley MacLaine is outstanding. But Unforgiven took a look at the legacy of those westerns and questioned the outlaw violence. It remains Eastwood’s last word on westerns.

He had directed many before Unforgiven too, but after his Oscar win, Eastwood directing a movie became a sign of pedigree. Mystic River, Letters from Iwo Jima and American Sniper also earned him directing and picture nominations, and Million Dollar Baby won him another pair. 

Oscar nominations 1993: Marisa Tomei

In 1993, Maria Tomei won Best Supporting Actress for My Cousin Vinny. She had been working since 1984 and did a year on the soap opera As the World Turns and the sitcom A Different World. She played Stallone’s daughter in the comedy bomb Oscar, but My Cousin Vinny was her breakthrough.

Tomei played Vinny (Joe Pesci)s girlfriend Mona Lisa, who plays a pivotal role in his case. Pesci probably should have been nominated too for the memorable comedy. However, on the heat of Vinny and the Oscar, Tomei did a string of romantic comedies and dramas. She became such an icon that Seinfeld devoted an episode to her. She continues to take interesting roles today, and she’s Tom Holland’s Spider-Man’s Aunt May. 

The Crying Game was another 1992 phenom. It was nominated for Best Picture. Actors Stephen Rea and Jaye Davidson also earned nominations for Best Actor and Supporting Actor, the latter of which is a spoiler for the movie. However, Unforgiven overpowered them. Both great movies though.

Other 1993 nominees

Al Pacino won his only Oscar for Scent of a Woman in 1993. He’d secured prior nominations for The Godfather, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, …and Justice for All and Dick Tracy. He even had a supporting nomination the same year for Glengarry Glen Ross but it was the Hoo-ah that won.

Worth noting that Robert Downey, Jr. was nominated for playing Charlie Chaplin that year, one of his greatest roles. Denzel Washington also had a nomination for playing Malcolm X. Gene Hackman won Best Supporting Actor as part of Unforgiven’s sweep. Emma Thompson would win for Howard’s End.

The 1993 films nominated in 1994

The films released in 1993 would get Oscar nominations the following year. That was a big year for Schinder’s List, finally earning Spielberg’s first Oscar. It was also Tom Hanks first of two Oscar wins in a row, for Phildadelphia before Forrest Gump.

Leonardo DiCaprio earned his first nomination for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which he should have won, but Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive was more popular. It was a tough year for supporting actors, with John Malkovich for In the Line of Fire and Ralph Fiennes for Schindler’s List in the category. 

Holly Hunter in The Piano would beat Angela Bassett as Tina Turner and last year’s winner Thompson for The Remains of the Day. Anna Paquin became the youngest Oscar winner for The Piano

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