I came across this website featuring dozens of screen-grabs of Academy Award ceremonies of yesteryear. Seeing as how tonight is Oscar night, it might be worth looking at some odd, old images of past ceremonies. To keep things sort of brief, we’ll stick to pics from the 1977 awards and some from the 1980s but there are far more than this on the site where I found them. I encourage you to go over there if you want more.
The 50th Academy Awards, held in April 1978, seems to be the year Star Wars invaded to stink up the joint. Star Wars was even nominated for Best Picture!
Kirk Douglas and Raquel Welch were on hand to present Best Documentary.
William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck presented the award for sound mixing to the Star Wars crew.
Farrah Fawcett and Marcello Mastroianni presented an editing award to the Star Wars crew (also nominated: Smokey and the Bandit). Click here to marvel at how Farrah managed to stay in her dress. It’s inspiring stuff.
Annie Hall won Best Picture and Best Director but Woody Allen famously didn’t attend the ceremony due to a prior commitment.
The 53rd Academy Awards, held in March 1981, featured a red carpet special that witnessed Diana Ross and her close personal friend Michael Jackson arrive together.
That year’s awards kicked off with a video introduction by President Reagan who had been shot the day before. Obviously his remarks were pre-recorded.
The Star Wars team were on hand to collect a special award for visual effects for Empire Strikes Back.
Thelma Schoonmaker won Best Editing for Raging Bull.
George Cukor and King Vidor were both still alive and presented the award for Best Director to Robert Redford. Martin Scorsese didn’t win for Raging Bull that evening and wouldn’t get his directing Oscar until more than 20 years later when he won for The Departed.
Speaking of pity Oscars, Henry Fonda was presented with one of those Honorary Awards that they give to people of talent who were snubbed in their prime. Fonda would actually win a competitive award the following year for On Golden Pond.
The hosts of the 55th Academy Awards were Walter Matthau, Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore and Richard Pryor. I guess that somehow made sense in 1983. Among the presenters that year were
Brooke Shields Elizabeth McGovern and Eddie Murphy. One can imagine that their banter went something along the lines of, “You were in The Blue Lagoon, and I’m a blue haired goon…”
Meanwhile, Michael Keaton and Nastassja Kinski presented the award for Best Cinematography to Billy Williams and Ronnie Taylor for Gandhi.
The 60th Academy Awards took place in April 1988, opening with a pretty amazing lasers and dancing Oscars production number.
Retiring Police Sgt. Roger Murtaugh and his loose cannon partner Martin Riggs presented an award to Vittorio Storaro for his work on The Last Emperor.
David Byrne and his collaborators on the score for The Last Emperor, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Cong Su, picked up the Award for Best Score.
Also on hand were Tom Selleck and his close personal friend, Mickey Mouse.
I learned a couple of things from the image above: That song Shakedown was in fact by Bob Seger. Shakedown was from the soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop II. Shakedown was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. And Shakedown was performed for the broadcast by Little Richard.
The song didn’t stand a chance against (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.
We’ll end here: Robin Williams and his mid-80s moustache presenting the Award for Best Director to Bertolucci for The Last Emperor. It seems like the good guys won that year.