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Jack Nicholson Back for 3rd Oscar

March 24, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ He-e-e-re’s Jack, back in a familiar spot: in a tuxedo at the Academy Awards lectern, accepting an Oscar.

Jack Nicholson picked up his third statuette for playing a hilarious, obsessive-compulsive bigot who breaks out of his routine to help his gay neighbor and fall in love with a single mother in ``As Good As It Gets.″

The gravelly voice star doffed his ever-present sunglasses when he arose from a seat beside co-star and best actress winner Helen Hunt to accept the award.

``We’re very proud of the picture,″ he said, rambling into a joke about the story of the night, ``Titanic.″ ``We had, like, I don’t know, I’ve had a sinking feeling all night right up till here. Something about it.″

It was his 11th Academy Award nomination and third win: He won a supporting actor prize for the 1983 movie ``Terms of Endearment,″ and was named best actor for playing another character of dubious sanity, in the 1975 film ``One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.″

Nicholson, 60, beat out popular underdog Matt Damon of ``Good Will Hunting,″ and three fellow Hollywood veterans, Robert Duvall from ``The Apostle,″ Dustin Hoffman of ``Wag the Dog″ and Peter Fonda from ``Ulee’s Gold.″

The ceremony was a reunion of sorts for Nicholson and Fonda. In 1969, Nicholson earned his first Oscar nomination as supporting actor in the landmark biker movie ``Easy Rider.″ Fonda produced the film and was nominated as co-writer.

He recognized the other nominees _ ``Some of them are very good friends of mine and I’m honored to be on my list with you: Bobby, Dusty, and you and your father, Mr. Damon, and my old bike pal, Fonda.″

Nicholson’s other nominations were for leading roles in ``Five Easy Pieces,″ ``The Last Detail,″ ``Chinatown,″ ``Prizzi’s Honor″ and ``Ironweed,″ and for supporting roles in ``Reds,″ and ``A Few Good Men.″

Nicholson offered a final thanks to ``everybody here tonight who’s lookin’ so good,″ and dedicated his Oscar to Miles Davis, Robert Mitchum, Shorty Smith, Joe Vitrano, Ray Kramer, Rupert Cross, J.T. Walsh and Luane Anders.

``They’re not here anymore, but they’re in my heart,″ he said.

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