Nevada's Award Winning Movies

While both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes have favored many projects set in Nevada with prizes and nominations, the state fares quite well with the Golden Raspberry Awards for worst achievements.

Among the thousands of films made in the state since its first project in 1897, only three have won the Academy Award as Best Picture: The Godfather (1973), The Godfather Part II (1975) and Rain Man (1989). For that matter, only two others have been nominated: Prizzi's Honor (1986) and Bugsy (1993). The list of positives can be expanded with the Golden Globe Awards, whose comedy category nominated Harry and Tonto (1975), Melvin & Howard (1981), Midnight Run (1989), Honeymoon in Vegas (1993), Sister Act (1993), and Get Shorty (1996). The Globes also nominated Leaving Las Vegas (1996) as best drama and gave a best drama award to Bugsy.

Many of these films include key acting awards, though neither Marlon Brando nor Robert DeNiro had Godfather scenes filmed in Nevada. However, Dustin Hoffman spent time in the state at Caesars Palace and in Pahrump during his winning turn as Rain Man.

Other acting statues have gone to Art Carney as best actor in Harry and Tonto (1974), Mary Steenburgen as supporting actress for Melvin and Howard (1980), Anjelica Huston as supporting actress in Prizzi's Honor (1985), Kathy Bates as best actress in Misery (1991) and Nicolas Cage as best actor in Leaving Las Vegas (1995). Hilary Swank earned her second Oscar for her role Million Dollar Baby (2004), which includes a key fight set in Las Vegas (but filmed in Los Angeles). The Globes presented the same awards to all but Anjelica Huston, who lost to Prizzi co-star Kathleen Turner. The Globes also presented trophies to Sharon Stone as best dramatic actress for Casino, John Travolta as best comic actor for Get Shorty (1995) and Nicolas Cage as best comic actor for Honeymoon in Vegas (1992).

Meanwhile, the Razzie team first acknowledged Nevada with Butterfly (1983), a drama in which worst-actress winner Pia Zadora takes a steamy bath with the man playing her father, Stacy Keach. He somehow managed to miss being nominated, possibly because the film was so thoroughly represented in such categories as worst new star (Zadora won), worst picture, worst director (Matt Cimber), worst screenplay, worst musical score (even though it's by Ennio Morricone), worst song ("It's Wrong for Me to Love You"—for dad) and worst supporting actress (Lois Nettleton). Worst supporting actor Ed McMahon managed to beat co-star Orson Welles. Nine nominations (and three wins) stood as a record until 1996, when Showgirls won half of its twelve nominations.

The strongest contender in Razzie history has been Sylvester Stallone, whose Nevada projects Rocky IV (1986), Over the Top (1988), and Rambo III (1989) have done quite well (by "worst" standards, that is), earning Golden Raspberry Awards in directing and acting for the star. It was with a sense of shock in 2007 when the Razzie Awards left Nevada and Stallone's Rocky Balboa (2006) off the list, with founder John Wilson specifically mentioning the film and admitting it was much better than predicted.

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