1987 may go down as the greatest year in the career of pop culture icon Cher. After finishing two movies back to back, the comedy fantasy “The Witches of Eastwick” (released in June) and the crime thriller “Suspect” (released in October), Cher was tired and had no interest in making a third picture. She was also releasing a self-titled album, her first in five years, which would have big hit singles “I Found Someone” and “We All Sleep Alone.”
Early in the year, when she was offered the script for a simple romantic comedy about a New York Italian family, she declined at first. She was resistant to except the debut screenplay of a little known off-Broadway playwright (John Patrick Shanley), and thought she could never be convincing as an Italian-American bookkeeper. After much persuasion from director/producer Norman Jewison and with the opportunity to work with young Nicolas Cage, Cher hesitantly accepted the role of Loretta Castorini. The movie was “Moonstruck,” which became her third film of the calendar year in December, one of the most critical and commercially successful films of the 1980s. The film brought Cher an Academy Award for Best Actress (watch her acceptance speech above) 30 years ago at the ceremony on April 11.
Cher had already previously received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for “Silkwood” in 1983, losing to Linda Hunt’s gender bending performance in “The Year of Living Dangerously.” That followed a victory at the Golden Globes weeks earlier
With “Moonstruck” Cher faced solid competition in the Best Actress category at the Academy Awards: Glenn Close for “Fatal Attraction,” Holly Hunter for “Broadcast News,” Sally Kirkland for “Anna,” and Meryl Streep for “Ironweed.” The film was also a contender in several categories that year:
Best Picture (lost to “The Last Emperor,”)
Best Actress – Cher (winner)
Best Director – Norman Jewison (lost to Bernardo Bertolucci, “The Last Emperor”)
Best Original Screenplay – John Patrick Shanley (winner)
Best Supporting Actress – Olympia Dukakis (winner)
Best Supporting Actor – Vincent Gardenia (lost to Sean Connery, “The Untouchables”)
The Oscar was Cher’s first major award, after a more than two decade career in music and television. It wasn’t until 2000, however, that Cher earned her first Grammy Award for “Best Dance Recording” for the multi-platinum single “Believe.” Three years later, Cher added an Emmy to her mantel for her TV special “Cher: The Farewell Tour.” With these three victories, Cher remains only a Tony Award away from the coveted title of EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony). Only 12 entertainers have claimed that achievement so far.
It was announced in September that a new Broadway musical was in the works about Cher’s life and career. A Tony Award might be next on her hit list.
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