Fish Called Wanda, A (1988): Charles Crichton’s Comdy, Starring Kevin Kline in Oscar Winning Performance

MGM (Michael Shamberg-Prominent Features)

In this funny and enjoyable farce, based on an original screenplay by John Cleese and Charles Crichton, Kevin Kline, who won the supporting Oscar, steals every scene he is in due to comic timing and impressively physical performance.

Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis (for a change cast in a good role), and Michael Palin pull off a tricky robbery, but they still need the assistance of a rigid and stuffy barrister (John Cleese) to make their successful gate away.

The film was a good reminder of the admired Monty Python TV series, in which Cleese ad Palin (among others) began their careers.

Oscar Nominations: 3

Director: Charles Crichton

Screenplay (Original): John Cleese

Supporting Actor: Kevin Kline


Oscar Awards: 1

Supporting Actor

Oscar Context

The most nominated film in 1988, “Rain Man,” received four Oscars out of its 8 nods, including Picture, Director, and Actor.  The other Best Picture nominees represented a mixed bag in genre and quality:
“Dangerous Liaisons” and “Mississippi Burning,” each with 8 nominations, Mike Nichols’s comedic fable “Working Girl,” with 6, and Kasdan’s literary adaptation “The Accidental Tourist,” with 4.

This was Kevin Kline’s first and only nomination in a category that included vet Alec Guinness in “Little Dorrit,” Martin Landau in “Rucker: the Man and His Dream,” River Phoenix in “Running on Empty,” and Dean Stockwell in “Married to the Mob.”