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The 61st Annual Academy Awards (1989)

Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »




Credited cast:
James Acheson ...
Himself - Winner
Himself (Memorial Tribute) (archive footage)
Herself - Presenter
Himself - Performer
Himself (Memorial Tribute) (archive footage)
Himself - Winner
Herself - Presenter
Herself (Memorial Tribute) (archive footage)
Ronald Bass ...
Himself - Winner
Herself - Presenter
Herself - Presenter
Peter Biziou ...
Himself - Winner
Himself - Presenter


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Release Date:

29 March 1989 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although producer Allan Carr received much of the blame for the infamous Rob Lowe/Snow White duet, the opening musical number was actually planned and staged by Steve Silver, creator of the long-running San Francisco musical revue, "Beach Blanket Babylon." According to the book, "The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards," by Steve Pond, Allan Carr asked Steve Silver to create an opening number for the Oscar show, but didn't give him any guidance on what the number should include or how long it should be. Silver planned and rehearsed the opening number with his "Babylon" cast in San Francisco, while Carr concentrated on renovating the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Silver conceived the number as "Beach Blanket Babylon Goes Hollywood." (In the "Babylon" stage show, a Disney-like Snow White is the main character. Also, the show features elaborate costumes, wigs, and headdresses, and satirical songs like the "Proud Mary" parody sung by Rob Lowe and Snow White.) On the day before the Oscar broadcast, Silver and his "Babylon" cast staged the opening number for the first time at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The original version was 26 minutes long. Carr then informed Silver that the number was too long, and needed to be cut down. Silver cut it down to 14 minutes, but it still remains the longest opening number in Oscar history. (Those who saw the 26-minute version said it was better than the shorter version.) On the night of the Oscar broadcast, the opening number famously bombed. Silver later said he thought it flopped because the Oscar audiences weren't familiar with his "Babylon" show, and didn't realize the number was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. See more »


Follows The 27th Annual Academy Awards (1955) See more »


Mona Lisa
Written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston
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User Reviews

Eileen Bowman!
26 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

Yes, this was the diabolical Academy Awards ceremony when Rob Lowe would dance with a young woman made up to look like Snow White and insulted Disney to the point where they considered suing for defamation of their character. Not that Disney owns the fairy tale character, but they do have a claim to the visual likeness; bobbed black hair, the puffy yellow sleeves, etc.

I remember this show well. And even if Disney hadn't felt they needed to take legal action (they started to, but eventually let it drop. I think the Academy apologized), there was still embarrassment at the opening number.

It was just corny.

Lily Tomlin would appear at the end of the number and even she knew it was ridiculous. A dancer had lost his shoe and it was setting on the steps she had just descended.

And what do we see behind her? A young man slowly crawling down the stairs to get THAT shoe! Now, we wouldn't have noticed the shoe actually, but there was no way we could miss this grown figure of a person! And what does he do with it? Hurls it forward off the stage! Tomlin tried to catch it, but no luck.

Things spiraled, not necessarily downward, after that.

Fortunately Geena Davis was wearing a very fetching outfit.

Kim Basinger was wearing that totally odd half-sleeved, half gloved, half collar get-up. She looked terrified too.

Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith would do a 'cute' little presentation where he proposed to her just before they presented the award.

Awww! Applause.

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn would do a similar presentation.

"Are you proposing to me?" Goldie would ask Kurt as Melanie had asked Don.

"Oh," Kurt would say suddenly "they want us to hurry up and present the award." Leaving Goldie looking like that deer in the headlights. Kurt couldn't quit laughing.

One very amusing bit was the presentation of best animated short, delivered by Carrie Fisher and Martin Short.

In the same outfit.

Carrie emerged from one side, smiling broadly, and Martin appeared from the other side, doing the same, wearing the same.

"Martin, you knew I wanted to wear this." That they both had the same short dark hair made them almost look like twins, but once they got together, Martin clearly towered over Carrie.

And yes, it was the final appearance of Lucille Ball, who presented an award with Bob Hope.

By the time Cher presented the award for Best Picture, it was beyond time for this thing to be over with.

Dustin Hoffman would win Best Actor for Rain Man and forgot to thank both the director and Tom Cruise.

As Dustin left the stage, the camera catches him pausing behind the panel-wall and he seems to be gasping for breath.

Jodie Foster would win for The Accused when Melanie Griffith was the clear favorite.

And Kevin Kline would win the Oscar for A Fish Called Wanda, clearly seeming to be a pay off to Uncle Gil Cates to take over production of the Academy Awards ceremonies. Maybe? Maybe not. Who knows? Tho this may have been the first season of "And the Oscar goes to. . . " I think Bruce Willis made a mistake and when he opened the envelope, he still said "And the Winner is . . . . " Not that any of it mattered.

"This is astonishing," Kline would say when he got his 'acting' award.

Yea, it was astonishing, alright, but in more ways than one.

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