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The 61st Annual Academy Awards (1989) Poster

(1989 TV Special)

Trivia

Lucille Ball's last television appearance. She died three weeks later.
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There was no official host for the Oscars this year.
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The first Oscar telecast where the line, "And the Oscar goes to..." replaced "And the winner is..." Producer Allan Carr introduced the change in an attempt to revolutionize the Academy Awards. During the show, several presenters paid it no mind, and said, "And the winner is..." Carr made a list of their names, and said that they would never be on the show again. Oddly enough, due to the show's disastrous reception, it was Carr who would not return.
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The violent clip from Mississippi Burning (1988) shown during the reading the nominations for best actor in a leading role startled and disturbed Gene Hackman and made him think long and hard about the portrayal of violence in his films, especially if scenes are shown out of context. As a direct result he passed on directing and starring in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
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Show producer Allan Carr decided that because his lavish opening number (the Snow White/Rob Lowe debacle) was so long he decided not to allow performances of the nominated songs.
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Eileen Bowman, who played Snow White, admitted that she had never seen the Academy Awards before being hired to perform on the show.
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Of the 19 actors nominated that year, Alec Guinness was the only one not in attendance.
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Considered one of the most infamous Oscar presentations of all time with its extravagant long musical numbers (which prevented the songs nominated to be performed live), the Snow White number which not only was panned by critics but the Academy was sued by Disney for its use of a trademark character without their permission. The only praise the show got later on was it use of the line "And the Oscar goes to..." instead of the "And the winner is...", since most guilds were very objective of the term "loser" to be used during a great event. The term is used to the date (except at the 2009's Oscar which went back with the old line). This was the first time the show was produced by Allan Carr, and due to the poor criticism and the low ratings, he was never asked to produce the Oscars or anything else in Hollywood.
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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.
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