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61st Academy Awards

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61st Academy Awards
File:61st Academy Awards.jpg
Official poster
Date March 29, 1989
Site Shrine Auditorium
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Host none
Producer Allan Carr
Director Jeff Margolis
Best Picture Rain Man
Most awards Rain Man and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (4)
Most nominations Rain Man (8)
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Duration 3 hours, 19 minutes
Ratings 42.68 million
29.81% (Nielsen ratings)
 < 60th Academy Awards 62nd > 

The 61st Academy Awards ceremony, organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 1988 and took place on Wednesday March 29, 1989, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, beginning at 6:00 p.m. PST/ 9:00 p.m. EST.[1] During the ceremony, AMPAS presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 23 categories. The ceremony, televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Allan Carr and directed by Jeff Margolis.[1] Ten days earlier, in a ceremony held at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by host Angie Dickinson.[2]

Rain Man won four awards, including Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman, Best Director for Barry Levinson, and Best Picture.[3] Other winners included Who Framed Roger Rabbit, with four awards; Dangerous Liaisons, with three awards; and The Accused, The Accidental Tourist, A Fish Called Wanda, The Appointments of Dennis Jennings, Beetlejuice, Bird, Hôtel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie, The Milagro Beanfield War, Mississippi Burning, Pelle the Conqueror, Tin Toy, Working Girl, and You Don't Have to Die with one each. The telecast garnered almost 43 million viewers in the United States.

Winner and nominations

The nominees for the 61st Academy Awards were announced on February 15, 1989, at 5:38 a.m. PST (13:38 UTC), at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, by Richard Kahn, president of the Academy, and the actress Anne Archer.[4] Rain Man led all nominees, with eight nominations; Dangerous Liaisons, Mississippi Burning, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit tied for second with seven apiece.[5]

The winners were announced at the award ceremony on March 29, 1989.[6] Best Actor winner Dustin Hoffman was the fifth person to win the aforementioned category twice.[7] Sigourney Weaver became the fifth performer to receive two acting nominations in the same year.[8] However, she also became the first nominee to unsuccessfully win in either category after receiving these nominations.[9]


Kevin Kline, Best Supporting Actor winner
File:Geena Davis 2013 (cropped).jpg
Geena Davis, Best Supporting Actress winner
John Lasseter, Best Animated Short winner
File:Carly Simon - 1978.jpg
Carly Simon, Best Original Song winner

Winners are listed first and indicated with double dagger (File:Double-dagger-14-plain.png)[10]

Box office performance of nominees

At the time of the nominations announcement on February 15, the combined gross of the five Best Picture nominees at the US box office was $188 million, with an average of $37.7 million per film.[11] Rain Man was the highest earner among the Best Picture nominees, with $97 million in domestic box office receipts.[11] The film was followed by Working Girl ($42.1 million), The Accidental Tourist ($24.2 million), Mississippi Burning ($18.6 million), and finally Dangerous Liaisons ($6.69 million).[11]

Of the top 50 grossing movies of the year, 52 nominations went to 13 films. Only Big (3rd), Rain Man (5th), Working Girl (21st), The Accused (32nd), The Accidental Tourist (38th), Gorillas in the Mist (40th), Mississippi Burning (45th), and Tucker: The Man and His Dream (50th) were nominated for Best Picture, directing, acting, or screenwriting. The other top 50 box office hits that earned nominations were Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1st), Coming to America (2nd), Die Hard (7th), Beetlejuice (9th), and Willow (12th).

Academy Honorary Awards

Special Achievement Award

Films with multiple nominations and wins

Presenters and performers

The following individuals (listed in order of appearance) presented awards or performed musical numbers.[15]

Presenters (in order of appearance)

Name(s) Role
O'Donnell, CharlieCharlie O'Donnell Announcer for the 61st annual Academy Awards
Kahn, RichardRichard Kahn (AMPAS president) Gave opening remarks welcoming guests to the awards ceremony
Selleck, TomTom Selleck Introducers of presenters Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson
Griffith, MelanieMelanie Griffith
Don Johnson
Presenters of the award for Best Supporting Actress
Fonda, JaneJane Fonda Presenter of the film Rain Man on the Best Picture segment
Novak, KimKim Novak
James Stewart
Presenters of the awards for Best Sound and Best Sound Editing
Downey, Jr., RobertRobert Downey, Jr.
Cybill Shepherd
Presenters of the award for Best Makeup
Swayze, PatrickPatrick Swayze Presenter of film tribute to 1950s movie musicals
Swayze, PatrickPatrick Swayze Presenters of the award for Best Original Score
Newton-John, OliviaOlivia Newton-John Introducer of presenters Donald Sutherland and Kiefer Sutherland
Sutherland, DonaldDonald Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland
Presenters of the Academy Honorary Award to the National Film Board of Canada
Huston, AnjelicaAnjelica Huston Presenter of the film Mississippi Burning on the Best Picture segment
Dafoe, WillemWillem Dafoe
Gene Hackman
Presenters of the award for Best Art Direction
Derek, BoBo Derek
Dudley Moore
Presenters of the award for Best Costume Design
Crystal, BillyBilly Crystal Presenter of the movie tap dancers and Best Original Song performances montage
Davis, Jr., SammySammy Davis, Jr.
Gregory Hines
Presenters of the award for Best Original Song
Bergen, CandiceCandice Bergen
Jacqueline Bisset
Jack Valenti
Presenters of the award for Best Foreign Language Film
Hershey, BarbaraBarbara Hershey Presenter of the film The Accidental Tourist on the Best Picture segment
Caine, MichaelMichael Caine
Sean Connery
Roger Moore
Presenters of the award for Best Supporting Actor
Bridges, BeauBeau Bridges
Jeff Bridges
Lloyd Bridges
Presenters of the award Best Visual Effects
Matthau, WalterWalter Matthau Introducer of presenters of Lucille Ball and Bob Hope
Ball, LucilleLucille Ball
Bob Hope
Introducers of the performance of the "I Wanna Be an Oscar Winner" musical number
Davis, GeenaGeena Davis
Jeff Goldblum
Presenters of the award for Best Documentary Short
Olmos, Edward JamesEdward James Olmos
Max von Sydow
Presenters of the award for Best Documentary Feature
Archer, AnneAnne Archer Presenter of the film Dangerous Liaisons on the Best Picture segment
Fleischer, CharlesCharles Fleischer
Robin Williams
Presenters of the Special Achievement Academy Award to Richard Williams
Moore, DemiDemi Moore
Bruce Willis
Presenter of the award for Best Cinematography
Fisher, CarrieCarrie Fisher
Martin Short
Presenters of the awards for Best Live Action Short Film and Best Animated Short Film
Douglas, MichaelMichael Douglas Presenter of the award for Best Actor
MacGraw, AliAli MacGraw Presenter of the film Working Girl on the Best Picture segment
Fawcett, FarrahFarrah Fawcett
Ryan O'Neal
Presenters of the award for Best Film Editing
Dickinson, AngieAngie Dickinson Presenter of the segment of the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement and Gordon E. Sawyer Award
Dreyfuss, RichardRichard Dreyfuss
Amy Irving
Presenters of the award Best Original Screenplay
Pfeiffer, MichelleMichelle Pfeiffer
Dennis Quaid
Presenters of the award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Hawn, GoldieGoldie Hawn
Kurt Russell
Presenters of the award for Best Director
Cruise, TomTom Cruise
Dustin Hoffman
Presenters of the award for Best Actress
Cher, Cher Presenter of the award for Best Picture

Performers (in order of appearance)

Name(s) Role Performed
Hamlisch, MarvinMarvin Hamlisch Musical Arranger Orchestral
Archerd, ArmyArmy 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
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"

Coogan, KeithKeith 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
Blair Underwood
Performers "I Wanna Be an Oscar Winner"

The ceremony

File:Allan Carr at 1989 Academy Awards.jpg
Allan Carr served as producer for the 61st Academy Awards

In an attempt to attract viewers to the telecast and increase interest in the festivities, the Academy hired film producer and veteran Oscar ceremony executive talent coordinator Allan Carr to produce the 1989 ceremony.[16][17] In interviews with various media outlets, he expressed that it was a dream come true to produce the Oscars.[18]

Notable changes were introduced in the production of the telecast. For the first time, presenters announced each winner with the phrase "And the Oscar goes to..." rather than "And the winner is..."[19] The green room where Oscar presenters, performers, and winners gathered backstage was transformed into a luxurious suite complete with furniture, pictures, refreshments, and other amenities called "Club Oscar."[20] Instead of hiring a host for the proceedings, Carr heavily relied on presenters often grouped in pairs that had some connection, either through family or the film industry.[21][22][23]

Several other people were involved in the production of the ceremony. Jeff Margolis served as director of the telecast.[24] Lyricist and composer Marvin Hamlisch was hired as musical supervisor of the festivities.[25] Comedian and writer Bruce Vilanch was hired as a writer for the broadcast, a role he has had ever since.[26] Carr had also rounded up eighteen young stars, including Patrick Dempsey, Corey Feldman, Ricki Lake, and Blair Underwood, to perform in a musical number entitled "I Wanna Be an Oscar Winner."[19] Unlike in most Oscar ceremonies, however, Carr announced that none of the three songs nominated for Best Original Song would be performed live.[22]

The telecast was also remembered for being the final public appearance of actress and comedienne Lucille Ball, where she and co-presenter Bob Hope were given a standing ovation.[27] On April 26, almost a month after the ceremony, she died from a dissecting aortic aneurysm at age 77.[28]

Opening number

In an effort to showcase more glamour and showmanship in the ceremony, producer Carr hired playwright Steve Silver to co-produce an opening number inspired by Silver's long-running musical revue Beach Blanket Babylon.[29] The segment consisted of an elaborate stage-show centered around actress Eileen Bowman dressed as Snow White from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, who comes to Hollywood and is entranced by its glamour.[29] Like Beach Blanket Babylon, the opening act also featured dancers wearing giant, elaborate hats.[29] In a setting designed to resemble the Cocoanut Grove nightclub, Hollywood dignitaries such as actresses Doris Day and Cyd Charisse were prominently featured, while singer and television producer Merv Griffin sang a rendition of the song "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" (of which he had had a hit recording in 1949). Bowman and actor Rob Lowe then sang a reworked version of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary", with lyrics rewritten to refer to the film industry; it is this song for which the act is infamously remembered.[29]

Critical reviews and public reaction

The show received a negative reception from most media publications. Los Angeles Times television critic Howard Rosenberg lamented,"the Academy Awards telecast on ABC was surprisingly devoid of magic. It was on the musty side, and compared with last month's Grammycast, absolutely moribund."[30] Film critic Janet Maslin chastised the opening number, saying it "deserves a permanent place in the annals of Oscar embarrassments." She also bemoaned that the "I Wanna Be an Oscar Winner" number "was confusingly shot and inspired no confidence in Hollywood's future."[31] Television editor Tony Scott of Variety complained, "The 61st Annual Academy Awards extravaganza—seen in 91 different countries including, for the first time, the Soviet Union—turned out to be a TV nyet" He also observed that the "Break-Out Superstars number" looked like they were "cavorting around a giant Oscar as if it were the golden calf."[32]

The telecast also received a mixed reception from professionals within the showbusiness industry. Talent agent Michael Ovitz praised Carr saying that he had "brought show business back to the movie business." Actress Jennifer Jones thanked Carr in a written letter to the producer, which read "You delivered."[33] On the other hand, seventeen people, including actors Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, and Julie Andrews, and directors Billy Wilder and Joseph Mankiewicz, signed an open letter deriding the telecast as "an embarrassment to both the Academy and the entire motion picture industry."[34]

In addition, The Walt Disney Company filed suit against AMPAS for use of the likeness of Snow White.[35] The lawsuit demanded unspecified damages for "copyright infringement, unfair competition, and dilution of business reputation."[36] Academy president Richard Kahn immediately issued an apology to the studio, and the lawsuit was subsequently dropped.[37]

Ratings and aftermath

Despite the criticism regarding the production of the ceremony, the American telecast on ABC drew in an average of 42.68 million people over its length, which was a 1% increase from the previous year's ceremony.[38][39] The show also drew higher Nielsen ratings compared to the previous ceremony, with 29.81% of households watching over a 50.41 share.[38] It was the highest rated Oscar broadcast since the 56th ceremony held in 1984.[36]

Nevertheless, AMPAS created an Awards Presentation Review Committee to evaluate and determine why the telecast earned such a negative reaction from the media and the entertainment industry.[36] The committee later determined that Carr's biggest mistake was allowing the questionable opening number to run for 12 minutes. Producer and former Directors Guild of America president Gilbert Cates, who headed the committee, said that Carr would have not received such harsh criticism if the number had been much shorter.[36] Cates was subsequently hired as producer of the succeeding year's telecast.[40]

According to various showbiz insiders and reporters, the criticism and backlash from the ceremony resulted in Carr never again producing a film or theatrical show. He died from complications resulting from liver cancer on June 29, 1999, at the age of 62.[29][36]

Bowman has claimed 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".[41]

See also

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  1. ^ a b Osborne 2008, p. 296
  2. ^ "Past Scientific & Technical Awards Ceremonies". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Archived from the original on February 13, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ Rickey, Carrie (March 30, 1989). "The Oscars Dustin Hoffman And His Film, 'Rain Man,' Win The Top Awards Ads by Google". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia Media Network). Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  4. ^ Williams, Jeannie (February 16, 1989). "Michael's high-profile feast". USA Today (Gannett Company). p. 2D. 
  5. ^ Cieply, Michael (February 16, 1989). "'Rain Man' Given 8 Oscar Nominations; Sigourney 2 : Hoffman Wins 6th Acting Nod". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  6. ^ Kehr, Dave (March 30, 1989). "`Rain Man` The Big Winner, But Upsets Put Zip In Oscars". Chicago Tribune (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  7. ^ Rosen, Christopher (February 24, 2013). "Daniel Day-Lewis Oscar: Best Actor At Academy Awards Announced". The Huffington Post (AOL). Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  8. ^ Levy 2003, p. 83
  9. ^ Levy 2003, p. 283
  10. ^ "The 61st Academy Awards (1989) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. AMPAS. Retrieved October 27, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c "1988 Academy Award Nominations and Winner for Best Picture". Box Office Mojo ( Retrieved October 5, 2013. 
  12. ^ Solomon, Charles (March 24, 2000). "Drawing Attention to Canada, Winning Oscars in the Process". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ "About the Governors Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. AMPAS. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  15. ^ Mull, Marrison (March 26, 1989). "Calendar Goes to The Oscars : The Oscar Telecast : Live from the Shrine Auditorium, Wednesday, 6 P.M., ABC-TV (7, 3, 10, 42)". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  16. ^ Williams, Jeannie (October 11, 1988). "Twiggy's happy ending". USA Today (Gannett Company). p. 2D. 
  17. ^ Volland, John (October 11, 1988). "TV & Video". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  18. ^ Culhane, John (March 26, 1989). "For Oscar's Producer, the Key Is C". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Pond 2005, p. 11
  20. ^ Uricchio, Marylynn (March 29, 1989). "Awards show producer is putting posh on Oscar". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Crain Communications). p. 12. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  21. ^ Pond 2005, p. 5
  22. ^ a b Siskel, Gene (March 26, 1989). "One Man`s War Against The Dullest Night On Television". Chicago Tribune (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved October 5, 2013. 
  23. ^ Romero, Frances (March 1, 2011). "No Hosts - Top 10 Worst Awards-Show Hosts". Time (Time Warner). Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Credits". Jeff Margolis Productions. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  25. ^ Voland, John (October 27, 1988). "Movies". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  26. ^ Vary, Adam B. (February 5, 2010). "An Oscar Insider Tells All". Entertainment Weekly (Time Warner). Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Coemdian Lucille Ball suffers a heart attack". The Spokesman-Review (Cowles Publishing Company). April 19, 1989. Retrieved October 5, 2013. 
  28. ^ Flint, Peter B. (April 27, 1989). "Lucille Ball, Spirited Doyenne of TV Comedies, Dies at 77". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved October 5, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b c d e Pond, Steve (February 27, 2005). "And the loser is...". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. 
  30. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (March 30, 1989). "Overcast for Allan Carr's Oscarcast". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  31. ^ Maslin, Janet (March 31, 1989). "Review/Television; The Oscars as Home Entertainment". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  32. ^ Hofler 2010, p. 416
  33. ^ Champlin, Charles (April 4, 1989). "Allan Carr: 'We Won the Town'". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved October 5, 2013. 
  34. ^ Speers, W. (April 29, 1989). "Judge Orders James Brown's Autograph". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia Media Network). Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  35. ^ Easton, Nina (March 31, 1989). "Disney Sues Over Use of Snow White at Oscars". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  36. ^ a b c d e Hofler, Robert (March 1, 2010). "Snow Job". Los Angeles (Emmis Communications). Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  37. ^ Vaughan, Vicki (April 7, 1989). "Disney Accepts Apology, Drops Academy Suit". Orlando Sentinel (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved October 5, 2013. 
  38. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (February 17, 2009). "Academy Awards Show Ratings". TV by the Numbers (Tribune Media). Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  39. ^ Johnson, Greg (March 18, 1999). "Call It the Glamour Bowl". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  40. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 768
  41. ^ Abramovitch, Seth (February 20, 2013). "'I Was Rob Lowe's Snow White': The Untold Story of Oscar's Nightmare Opening". The Hollywood Reporter (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved June 7, 2013. 



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