Mike Nichols certainly knew how to charm actors! Check out the cast of his Golden Globe award-winning comedy, Working Girl: Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Alec Baldwin, Joan Cusack, Philip Bosco, Oliver Platt, Kevin Spacey, Olympia Dukakis, David Duchovny, and Ricki Lake. 1988 was a particularly good year for comedies and it was anyone’s guess which film would win the Golden Globe until, at the last moment, Working Girl showed up. Nobody expected much of this late December release, considering it was the work of Kevin Wade who previously had written the humorless Meet Joe Black. But with Nichols at the helm, it sparkled.
The story concerned a Staten Island-raised secretary (Melanie Griffith), working in the mergers and acquisitions department of a Wall Street investment bank. When her boss (Sigourney Weaver) breaks her leg skiing, it enables her to put forward her own ideas for a merger deal. It was essentially a women’s picture, but Harrison Ford good-naturedly provided his boyish charm and his box-office clout to make it a hit. The film was a huge success (grossing over a hundred million dollars) and was rewarded with numerous acting accolades, not the least four Golden Globes wins and three Oscar nominations. It gave Melanie Griffith credibility as an actress, and it showcased Sigourney Weaver’s seldom seen comic genius.
Another friend of Mike’s, Carly Simon contributed the song “Let the River Run” which went on to top the charts and win the trifecta Golden Globe, the Oscar and the Grammy for best original song. It was used in the memorable opening sequence, which followed Manhattan-bound commuters on the Staten Island Ferry. Nichols had his first hit in a long time - in fact, it had been ten years since he first burst on the scene with his only mega-hit The Graduate.
Other nominees for Best Comedy or Musical that year were Big, A Fish Called Wanda, Midnight Run, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The Best Actor nominees for Musical or Comedy were Tom Hanks for Big, Michael Caine for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, John Cleese for A Fish Called Wanda, Robert DeNiro for MidnightRun, and Bob Hoskins for Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Hanks ended up the winner.
Melanie Griffith won Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. Her competition, Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda), Amy Irving (Crossing Delancey) Michelle Pfeiffer (Married to the Mob) and Susan Sarandon (Bull Durham). Sigourney Weaver, Working Girl’s only Best Supporting nominee, won that Golden Globe. Big Shocker: neither Tim Robbins nor Kevin Costner were nominated for Bull Durham. And neither was Michael Keaton for Beetlejuice.