It’s been 30 years since the Academy Awards did not have a host.
Do you remember it? That was the year Rain Man won Best Picture in a walk, leading all nominations with eight and wins with four. There were innovations and wrinkles at the 61st Oscars: Presenters began to say “And the Oscar goes to …” rather than the standard “And the winner is …” Comic writer Bruce Vilanch, a longtime Oscars staple, was hired to pen bits for the ceremony for the first time by show producer Allan Carr. Lucille Ball made her final public appearance.
Throughout the night, real-life Hollywood couples like Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal, Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum, and Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell presented awards. Beau, Jeff, and Lloyd Bridges appeared together, as did Vertigo stars Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart. Composer and three-time Oscar winner Marvin Hamlisch served as musical arranger for the show.
It was the year of Big, Working Girl, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Dangerous Liaisons, The Last Temptation of Christ, Bull Durham, A Fish Called Wanda, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and Married to the Mob, all of which were nominated in some form. It was a wonderful movie year. To celebrate it, the Oscars decided to open the show with this:
Please watch all of this, if you can spare the time. It is the nadir of awards shows, no easy title to claim.
This clip cannot be found on the Academy’s official YouTube page. It is described by its astute uploader as “The 11 minutes that ruined Hollywood producer Allan Carr’s career forever.” That seems grand, but it’s true. Carr was a hugely successful manager and producer for decades, notably staging La Cage Aux Folles on Broadway and producing Grease. He was a no-brainer choice for the Oscars, an over-the-top showman expected to bring razzle-dazzle to a ceremony that had handed nine awards to Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor the year before. Read more