56th Annual Academy Awards Results and Commentary (1984)

  • Date of Ceremony: Monday, April 9, 1984
  • For films released in: 1983
  • Host(s): Johnny Carson (video)
Other years:

< 55th

57th >

The 56th Annual Academy Awards were once again hosted by Johnny Carson and presented on Monday, April 9th, 1984.

Clocking in at almost four hours, the telecast was a long one, causing Carson to quip at one pont, “You people, uh, who just tuned in at home, this is the Academy Awards. Warning: contents may cause drowsiness; do not drive or operate heavy machinery.”

Terms of Endearment took home five of it’s eleven nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Adapted Screenplay for James L. Brooks, Best Actress for Shirley MacLaine and Best Supporting Actor for Jack Nicholson, who said, “I was gonna say a lot about how much Shirley and Debra inspired me, but I understand they’re planning an interpretive dance number later, right after the Best Actress award, explain everything about life.”.

MacLaine who said that “I’m gonna cry because this show has been as long as my career” went on to talk about the power of determination.

Films and life are like clay waiting for us to mold it. And when you trust your own insides, and that becomes achievement, it’s a kind of a principle that seems to me is at work with everyone. God bless that principle. God bless that potential that we all have for making anything possible if we think we deserve it. I deserve this. Thank you.” – Shirley MacLaine

Robert Duvall won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in Tender Mercies. Duvall said he was honored to be signled out in such great company.

I’m very excited, very happy, very moved, very everything tonight, to be up here, to be singled out from among all these very talented people. I sometimes come to the Academy Awards and watch them year after year, and I get caught up in the spectacle of it, in the event, in the very complex type of entertainment and I guess, I know I forget, that what we’re really here for is to single out who we think is the best for that given year. And if that’s what I am to be this year then I appreciate it. I accept it with an honor and I’m very moved because of that.” – Robert Duvall

The Best Supporting Actress went to Linda Hunt, who played a man in The Year of Living Dangerously, making her the first person to win playing someone of the opposite gender.


Best Picture

  • Terms of Endearment
    James L. Brooks [Producer]

Best Directing

  • Terms of Endearment
    James L. Brooks

Best Actor in a Leading Role

  • Tender Mercies
    Robert Duvall

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Terms of Endearment
    Shirley MacLaine

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Terms of Endearment
    Jack Nicholson

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • The Year of Living Dangerously
    Linda Hunt

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Fanny & Alexander

Best Art Direction

  • Fanny & Alexander
    Anna Asp

Best Cinematography

  • Fanny & Alexander
    Sven Nykvist

Best Costume Design

  • Fanny & Alexander
    Marik Vos

Best Documentary (Feature)

  • He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin'
    Emile Ardolino

Best Documentary (Short Subject)

  • Flamenco at 5:15
    Cynthia Scott and Adam Symansky

Best Film Editing

  • The Right Stuff
    Glenn Farr, Lisa Fruchtman, Stephen A. Rotter, Douglas Stewart and Tom Rolf

Best Music (Original Score)

  • The Right Stuff
    Bill Conti

Best Music (Original Song Score or Adaptation Score)

  • Yentl
    Michael Legrand [Song Score by], Alan Bergman [Song Score by] and Marilyn Bergman [Song Score by]

Best Music (Original Song)

  • Flashdance "Flashdance...What a Feeling"
    Giorgio Moroder [Music by], Keith Forsey [Lyric by] and Irene Cara [Lyric by]

Best Short Film (Animated)

  • Sundae in New York
    Jimmy Picker

Best Short Film (Live Action)

  • Boys and Girls
    Janice L. Platt

Best Sound

  • The Right Stuff
    Mark Berger, Tom Scott, Randy Thom and David R. B. MacMillan

Best Sound Effects Editing

  • The Right Stuff
    Jay Boekelheide

Best Writing (Screenplay - based on material from another medium)

  • Terms of Endearment
    James L. Brooks

Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen)

  • Tender Mercies
    Horton Foote

Special Achievement Award (Visual Effects)

  • Return of the Jedi
    Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, Ken Ralston and Phil Tippett

Honorary Award

  • Hal Roach
    Note: …in recognition of his unparalleled record of distinguished contributions to the motion picture art form.

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

  • M.J. Frankovich

Gordon E. Sawyer Award

  • John G. Frayne

Scientific or Technical Award (Academy Award of Merit)

  • Dr. Kurt Larche [of Osram GmbH]
    Note: …for the research and development of xenon short-arc discharge lamps for motion picture projection.

Scientific or Technical Award (Scientific and Engineering Award)

  • Jonathan Erland [of Apogee Incorporated] and Roger Dorney [of Apogee Incorporated]
    Note: …for the engineering and development of a reverse bluescreen traveling matte process for special effects photography.
  • Gerald L. Turpin [of Lightflex International Limited]
    Note: …for the design, engineering and development of an on-camera device providing contrast control, sourceless fill light and special effects for motion picture photography.
  • Gunnar P. Michelson
    Note: …for the engineering and development of an improved, electronic, high-speed, precision light valve for use in motion picture printing machines.

Scientific or Technical Award (Technical Achievement Award)

  • William G. Krokaugger [of Mole-Richardson Company]
    Note: …for the design and engineering of a portable, 12,000 watt, lighting-control dimmer for use in motion picture production.
  • Charles J. Watson, Larry L. Langrehr and John H. Steiner
    Note: …for the development of the BHP (electro-mechanical) fader for use on continuous motion picture contact printers.
  • Elizabeth D. De La Mare [of De La Mare Engineering, Incorporated]
    Note: …for the progressive development and continuous research of special effects pyrotechnics originally designed by Glenn W. De La Mare for motion picture production.
  • Douglas Fries, John Lacey and Michael Sigrist
    Note: …for the design and engineering of a 35mm reflex conversion camera system for special effects photography.
  • Jack Cashin [of Ultra-Stereo Labs, Incorporated]
    Note: …for the engineering and development of a 4-channel, stereophonic, decoding system for optical motion picture sound track reproduction.
  • David Degenkolb
    Note: …for the design and development of an automated device used in the silver recovery process in motion picture laboratories.
ACADEMY AWARDS®, OSCAR(S)®, OSCAR NIGHT™ and OSCAR® design mark are the trademarks and service marks, and the OSCAR© statuette the copyrighted property, of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
This site is neither endorsed by nor affiliated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Academy Awards Nominations List Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.