61st Academy Awards
|61st Academy Awards|
|Date||Wednesday, March 29, 1989|
Los Angeles, California
|Best Picture||Rain Man|
|Most awards||Rain Man (4)|
|Most nominations||Rain Man (8)|
|TV in the United States|
|Duration||3 hours, 19 minutes|
The 61st Academy Awards were presented on Wednesday, March 29, 1989 at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles. The date had been moved from its usual Monday telecast due to Easter, which was on March 26. For this show, there was no "official" host, as the show opened with a stage-show featuring Merv Griffin, Eileen Bowman as Snow White and Rob Lowe. Another innovation was that the producers changed the traditional line "And the winner is..." to "And the Oscar goes to...", a change that has remained in place since. This broadcast is also noted for being the final public appearance of actress Lucille Ball, who died less than one month later.
Winners are listed first and highlighted in boldface.1
These films received multiple nominations:
The following films received multiple awards:
The producers of the ceremony attempted to change established Oscar traditions for this year's show. One noticeable difference was that instead of an award presenter saying, "and the winner is.." they'd say, "and the Oscar goes to...". Many, however, continued announcing winners with the traditional line.
In addition, there was no official host for the ceremony that year. Producer Allan Carr, who had wanted to bring more showmanship to the ceremony, constructed an opening number based on the long-running San Francisco musical revue Beach Blanket Babylon, of which he had been a longtime fan, and hired its creator, Steve Silver, to co-create the act.2 The act consisted of an elaborate stage-show centered around the character Snow White (portrayed by actress Eileen Bowman), who comes to Hollywood and is entranced by its glamour. This borrowed directly from Beach Blanket Babylon, where Snow White is the main character, who travels the world in search of love. Like Beach Blanket Babylon, the opening act also featured dancers wearing giant, elaborate hats.2
Merv Griffin sang the song "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" (of which he had had a hit recording in 1949), surrounded by legendary Hollywood actors such as Doris Day and Cyd Charisse in a simulation of the Cocoanut Grove nightclub. This was followed by Bowman (as Snow White) and actor Rob Lowe singing a rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary", with lyrics rewritten to refer to the film industry.3
Another act, halfway through the ceremony, was a song called "I Wanna Be an Oscar Winner", featuring 20 young actors billed as "stars of tomorrow", including Corey Feldman, Christian Slater, Patrick Dempsey and Ricki Lake.2
The response to the opening act was overwhelmingly negative. Actors such as Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, and Julie Andrews, and director Billy Wilder, signed an open letter deriding the telecast as "an embarrassment to both the Academy and the entire motion picture industry."4 The Los Angeles Times described it in 2005 as "by consensus, the Worst Oscars Show Ever."2 Bowman claimed later that she was made to sign a gag order the next day prohibiting her from speaking to the press about her performance for the next 13 years. She finally spoke about it publicly in a 2013 interview, in which she described the performance as looking "like a gay bar mitzvah".4
The Walt Disney Company filed suit for copyright infringement for use of the likeness of Snow White,5 but dropped the suit two weeks later after the academy formally apologized for the copyright violation at a press conference.2
The production was said to have killed Allan Carr's career; he never had a film job again before his death in 1999.4 The results convinced Academy Awards producers to rely more on film clips than live production numbers,2 and future ceremonies would not open again with a lavish "Broadway-style" opening number until 2002.
This was the last public appearance for Lucille Ball, who died less than one month later. Ball introduced a musical number along with her long-time friend and frequent co-star Bob Hope. Future Oscar winners Alan Menken and Howard Ashman wrote a song called "The Nightmare" which references all the eligible films of that year, but was never used.6
Right before Cher was to present the award for Best Picture, she had an anxiety attack. Jack Nicholson was brought backstage to help calm her down and almost had to present the award with her.citation needed
Best Actor winner Dustin Hoffman, upon realizing that he had forgotten to thank his Rain Man co-star Tom Cruise and the film's director Barry Levinson in his acceptance speech, asked Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (who were presenting next) to thank them for him before presenting their award, which Russell did. Then, when Hoffman and Cruise took the stage later in the show to present the Best Actress award, Hoffman said "In my nervousness, I left out the director's name, and I left out Tom's name. Tom, thank you very much. I love you very much."
- Anne Archer (Presenter: Dangerous Liaisons Film Clip)
- Lucille Ball and Bob Hope (Presenters: "I Wanna Be an Oscar Winner" Musical Number)
- Candice Bergen, Jacqueline Bisset, and Jack Valenti (Presenters: Best Foreign Language Film)
- Beau Bridges, Jeff Bridges, and Lloyd Bridges (Presenters: Best Visual Effects)
- Michael Caine, Sean Connery, and Roger Moore (Presenters: Best Supporting Actor)
- Cher (Presenter: Best Picture)
- Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman (Presenters: Best Actress)
- Billy Crystal (Presenter: Tap Dancing Montage)
- Willem Dafoe and Gene Hackman (Presenters: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration)
- Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum (Presenters: Best Documentary Short)
- Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines (Presenters: Best Original Song)
- Angie Dickinson (Presenter: Scientific & Technical Achievement Awards)
- Bo Derek and Dudley Moore (Presenters: Best Costume Design)
- Michael Douglas (Presenter: Best Actor)
- Robert Downey Jr. and Cybill Shepherd (Presenters: Best Makeup)
- Richard Dreyfuss and Amy Irving (Presenters: Best Original Screenplay)
- Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal (Presenters: Best Film Editing)
- Jane Fonda (Presenter: Rain Man Film Clip)
- Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson (Presenters: Best Supporting Actress)
- Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell (Presenters: Best Director)
- Carrie Fisher and Martin Short (Presenters: Best Live Action and Animated Short Film)
- Charles Fleischer and Robin Williams (Presenters: Honorary Award to Richard Williams)
- Barbara Hershey (Presenter: The Accidental Tourist Film Clip)
- Anjelica Huston (Presenter: Mississippi Burning Film Clip)
- Ali MacGraw (Presenter: Working Girl Film Clip)
- Walter Matthau (Presenter: Introduction of Lucille Ball and Bob Hope)
- Demi Moore and Bruce Willis (Presenters: Best Cinematography)
- Olivia Newton-John (Presenter: Introduction of Donald and Kiefer Sutherland)
- Kim Novak and James Stewart (Presenters: Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing)
- Edward James Olmos and Max von Sydow (Presenters: Best Documentary Feature)
- Michelle Pfeiffer and Dennis Quaid (Presenters: Best Adapted Screenplay)
- Donald Sutherland and Kiefer Sutherland (Presenters: Honorary Award to National Film Board of Canada)
- Patrick Swayze (Presenter: Best Original Score)
- Keith Coogan, Patrick Dempsey, Corey Feldman, Joely Fisher, Tricia Leigh Fisher, Savion Glover, Carrie Hamilton, Melora Hardin, Ricki Lake, Matt Lattanzi, Chad Lowe, Tracy Nelson, Patrick O'Neal, Corey Parker, Tyrone Power, Jr., Holly Robinson Peete, Christian Slater, and Blair Underwood ("I Wanna Be an Oscar Winner")
- Army Archerd, Eileen Bowman, Coral Browne, Cyd Charisse, Dale Evans, Alice Faye, Merv Griffin, Dorothy Lamour, Rob Lowe, Tony Martin, Vincent Price, Buddy Rogers, Roy Rogers, and Lily Tomlin ("I Only Have Eyes for You"/"You Are My Lucky Star"/"I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts"/"Proud Mary"/Hooray for Hollywood")
- Academy Award
- Academy Honorary Award
- 46th Golden Globe Awards
- 9th Golden Raspberry Awards
- 1988 in film
- List of Academy Awards ceremonies
- Submissions for the 61st Academy Award for Best Foreign Film
- 31st Grammy Awards
- 40th Primetime Emmy Awards
- 41st Primetime Emmy Awards
- 42nd British Academy Film Awards
- 43rd Tony Awards
- Governors Awards
- "The 61st Academy Awards (1989) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- Pond, Steve (February 27, 2005). "And the loser is...". The Los Angeles Times, "The Envelope".
- Finke, Nikki. "Rob Lowe Explains His Infamous 1989 Oscars Opening Number With Snow White". Deadline.
- Abramovitch, Seth. "'I Was Rob Lowe's Snow White': The Untold Story of Oscar's Nightmare Opening". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Easton, Nina (March 31, 1989). "Disney Sues Over Use of Snow White at Oscars". Los Angeles Times.
- Gillespie, Sarah Ashman. "An Oscar Nightmare - Da Doo - Blog". Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- "The Official Academy Awards Database". awardsdatabase.oscars.org. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
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