LOS ANGELES, March 16, 1999 (Reuters) – Americans think “Saving Private Ryan” is a shoo-in to win the Oscar for best picture on Sunday, and they believe John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn are the greatest film stars of the century, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Tuesday.
The poll of 1,181 Americans also found that Tom Hanks, the star of “Private Ryan,” was the overwhelming favorite to win the Academy Award for best actor. Meryl Streep was the choice to win the best actress award for her role as the dying mother in “One True Thing.”
“Saving Private Ryan” was favored for best picture by 36.7 percent of the respondents, the poll found. “Shakespeare in Love” was the runner-up with 10.2 percent.
The survey was conducted between March 5 and 7 by Zogby International, an independent firm that polls for Reuters on a regular basis.
Critics have called “Ryan” the front-runner to win the Academy Award, but few have predicted that either Hanks or Streep will add a new Oscar to their shelves. Each has already won twice before.
Of those surveyed, 50.3 percent said they favored Hanks for the best actor Oscar. Nick Nolte, the star of “Affliction,” trailed with 8.3 percent support.
Streep led the best actress category, with 33.2 percent of the respondents saying they favored her to win the Academy Award. Gwyneth Paltrow, who stars in “Shakespeare in Love,” was in second place, with 15.3 percent support.
John Wayne led the list of the century’s best male actors thanks to his portrayal of tough, brave characters, the poll said.
He was the choice of 10 percent of respondents. James Stewart was in second place with 5.9 percent and Paul Newman followed in third with 4.5 percent.