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61st Academy Awards
61st Academy Awards.jpg
Date March 29, 1989
Site Shrine Auditorium
Los Angeles, California
Host None
Producer Allan Carr
Director Jeff Margolis
Best Picture Rain Man
Duration 3 hours, 19 minutes
Viewership 42.77 million
 < 60th Academy Awards 62nd > 

The 61st Academy Awards were presented on March 29, 1989 at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles. The date had been avoid coinciding with usual Monday telecast due to Western 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, Snow White and Rob Lowe. Another change was that the producers attempted to change the traditional line "And the winner is..." to "And the Oscar goes to...". This broadcast is also noted for being the final public appearance of actress Lucille Ball, who died less than one month later.


Production background

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 this year. The show's opening number consisted of an elaborate stage-show featuring Merv Griffin, Snow White (portrayed by actress Eileen Bowman) and Rob Lowe - the latter two singing an unpopular rendition of the song "Proud Mary".[1]

The Walt Disney Company considered suing for defamation of character for use of the likeness of Snow White, but later dropped the suit. This debacle, in addition to the changes made by the producers, led to the television broadcast receiving a disastrous reception. Consequently, producer Allan Carr would not return to produce the ceremony again, and future ceremonies would not open with a lavish "Broadway-style" opening number for the next 13 years.


Award Winner Nominee(s)
Best Actor in a Leading Role Dustin HoffmanRain Man
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Kevin KlineA Fish Called Wanda
Best Actress in a Leading Role Jodie FosterThe Accused
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Geena DavisThe Accidental Tourist
Best Art Direction Dangerous Liaisons – Art Direction: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Gerard James
Best Cinematography Mississippi BurningPeter Biziou
Best Costume Design Dangerous LiaisonsJames Acheson
Best Director Barry LevinsonRain Man
Best Documentary (Feature) Hôtel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus BarbieMarcel Ophuls, Producer
Best Documentary (Short Subject) "You Don't Have to Die" – William Guttentag and Malcolm Clarke, Producers
Best Film Editing Who Framed Roger RabbitArthur Schmidt
Best Foreign Language Film Pelle the Conqueror – Denmark
Best Makeup Beetlejuice – Ve Neill, Steve LaPorte and Robert Short
Best Music (Original Score) The Milagro Beanfield WarDave Grusin
Best Music (Original Song) "Let the River Run" from Working Girl – Music and Lyric by Carly Simon
Best Picture Rain ManMark Johnson, Producer
Best Short Film (Animated) "Tin Toy" – John Lasseter, William Reeves, Producers
Best Short Film (Dramatic Live Action) "The Appointments of Dennis Jennings" – Dean Parisot, Steven Wright, Producers
  • "Cadillac Dreams" – Matia Karrell, Abbee Goldstein, Producers
  • "Gullah Tales" – George deGolian, Gary Moss, Producers
Best Sound Bird – Les Fresholtz, Rick Alexander, Vern Poorend Willie D. Burton
Best Visual Effects Who Framed Roger RabbitKen Ralston, Richard Williams, Ed Jones and George Gibbs
Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium) Dangerous LiaisonsChristopher Hampton
Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) Rain ManRonald Bass and Barry Morrow

Out of competition

Additional notes

Lucille Ball at her last public appearance, at the Awards.

This was the last public appearance for Lucille Ball, who died less than one month later. Ball presented an Oscar along with her long-time friend Bob Hope.

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.

The Best Actor Winner Dustin Hoffman, upon realizing that he'd forgotten to thank Tom Cruise and the director Barry Levinson in his acceptance speech, asked Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (who were presenting next) to please thank them for him before presenting their award, which Mr. 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."


External links

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