60th Annual Academy Awards Results and Commentary (1988)

  • Date of Ceremony: Monday, April 11, 1988
  • For films released in: 1987
  • Host(s): Chevy Chase (video)
Other years:

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The 60th Annual Academy Awards were hosted by Chevy Chase on Monday, April 11th, 1988.

Hollywood was in the midst of a strike by the Writers Guild of America and the union watched closely to make sure that no new material had been written between the date the strike was called, March 7th, and the telecast. Chase quipped that, “My entire monologue was generously donated by five Teamsters.”

The 60th edition had also moved to the larger Shrine Auditorium for the first time in forty years. A Monday afternoon traffic jam had nominees and guests scrambling to make it to the ceremony on time, with some gown and tuxedo-clad guests abandoning their limos nearby to make a mad dash to the Shrine.

The Last Emperor dominated the evening, winning all nine of its nominated categories including Best Picture and a Best Director for Bernardo Bertolucci.

As an Italian, as a European, the Academy Awards has always seemed to me like a distant ceremony. Something fascinating, very remote. Something I really didn’t belong to. Then one day “The Last Emperor” got nine nomination and everything change immediately. I became immediately a kind of Oscar victim. I started to learn the rule of the game and to take, to check the odds, started the colitis, and the beta blockers, the Inderal, all these things. I mean, I became a kind of Oscar victim.” – Bernardo Bertolucci

Best Actor went to Wall Street’s Michael Douglas. Douglas dedicated the award to his family and “…in particular to my father, who I don’t think ever missed one of my college productions, for his continued support and for helping a son step out of his shadow. I’ll be eternally grateful to you, Dad, for that.”

Cher took home Best Actress for Moonstruck.

When I was little my mother said, “I want you to be something.” And I guess this represents twenty-three or twenty-four years of my work, and I’ve never won anything before from my peers. I’m really, really happy.” – Cher

Olympia Dukakis, Cher’s co-star and cousin to Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, won Best Supporting Actress while Sean Connery’s role in The Untouchables earned him Best Supporting Actor.

I don’t think there is anyone aware — or unaware, rather — in Hollywood or the rest of the world tonight that this is the 60th anniversary of these Academy Awards. And I just realized myself the other day that my first, one and only attendance was thirty years ago. Patience truly is a virtue.” – Sean Connery

One of the greatest stories of the night didn’t need writers. It belonged to Billy Wilder who was receiving the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. Wilder, whose mother, grandmother, and stepfather all later perished at the Auschwitz concentration camp, was working in Hollywood in 1934 after Hitler’s rise to power. His visa expired and to get an immigration visa he went to the U.S. consul’s office in Mexicali, Mexico. He didn’t have many papers on him because he had fled quickly from Germany after receiving a tip the Nazis were coming for him. Wilder told the Oscar audience he wanted to thank the U.S. immigration official who let him in.

So we just sat there and stared at each other, the consul and I, in total silence. Finally he asked me, ‘What do you do? I mean professionally?’ And I said, ‘I write movies.’ And he said, ‘That so?’ He got up and started pacing, kind of behind me, but I felt that he was measuring me. Then he came back to the desk, picked up my passport, opened it, and took a rubber stamp and went [thumps twice on the podium], handed me back the passport and he said, ‘Write some good ones.’ That was fifty-four years ago. I’ve tried ever since. I certainly did not want to disappoint that dear man in Mexicali.” – Billy Wilder


Best Picture

  • The Last Emperor
    Jeremy Thomas [Producer]

Best Directing

  • The Last Emperor
    Bernardo Bertolucci

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Moonstruck

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Moonstruck
    Olympia Dukakis

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Babette's Feast

Best Art Direction

  • The Last Emperor
    Ferdinando Scarfiotti [Art Direction], Bruno Cesari [Set Decoration] and Osvaldo Desideri [Set Decoration]

Best Cinematography

  • The Last Emperor
    Vittorio Storaro

Best Costume Design

  • The Last Emperor
    James Acheson

Best Documentary (Feature)

  • The Ten-Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table
    Aviva Slesin [Producer]

Best Documentary (Short Subject)

  • Young at Heart
    Sue Marx [Producer] and Pamela Conn [Producer]

Best Film Editing

  • The Last Emperor
    Gabriella Cristiani

Best Makeup

  • Harry and the Hendersons
    Rick Baker

Best Music (Original Score)

  • The Last Emperor
    Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne and Cong Su

Best Music (Original Song)

  • Dirty Dancing "(I've Had) The Time of My Life"
    Franke Previte [Music and Lyric by], John DeNicola [Music by] and Donald Markowitz [Music by]

Best Short Film (Animated)

  • The Man Who Planted Trees
    Frédéric Back

Best Short Film (Live Action)

  • Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance Hall
    Jonathan Sanger [Producer] and Jana Sue Memel [Producer]

Best Sound

  • The Last Emperor
    Bill Rowe and Ivan Sharrock

Best Visual Effects

  • Innerspace
    Dennis Muren, William George, Harley Jessup and Kenneth Smith

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

  • The Last Emperor
    Mark Peploe and Bernardo Bertolucci

Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen)

  • Moonstruck
    John Patrick Shanley

Special Achievement Award (Sound Effects Editing)

  • RoboCop
    Stephen H. Flick and John Pospisil

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

  • Billy Wilder

Gordon E. Sawyer Award

  • Fred Hynes

Scientific or Technical Award (Academy Award of Merit)

  • Dr. Bernard Kühl, Werner Block and Osram GmbH Research and Development Department
    Note: …for the invention and the continuing improvement of the OSRAM HMI light source for motion picture photography.

Scientific or Technical Award (Scientific and Engineering Award)

  • Willi Burth and Kinotone Corporation
    Note: …for the invention and development of the Non-rewind Platter System for motion picture presentations.
  • Montage Group Ltd., Ronald C. Barker and Chester L. Schuler
    Note: To Montage Group Ltd. for the development, and to Ronald C. Barker and Chester L. Schuler for the invention, of the Montage Picture Processor electronic film editing system.
  • Colin F. Mossman and Rank Film Laboratories' Development Group
    Note: …for creating a fully-automated, film handling system for improving productivity of high speed film processing.
  • Eastman Kodak Company
    Note: …for the development of Eastman Color High Speed Daylight Negative Film 5297/7297.
  • Eastman Kodak Company
    Note: …for the development of Eastman Color High Speed SA Negative Film 5295 for blue-screen traveling matte photography.
  • Fritz Gabriel Bauer
    Note: …for the invention and development of the improved features of the Moviecam Camera System.
  • Zoran Perisic [of Courier Films Ltd]
    Note: …for the Zoptic dual-zoom front projection system for visual effects photography.
  • Carl Zeiss Company
    Note: …for the design and development of a series of super-speed lenses for motion picture photography.

Scientific or Technical Award (Technical Achievement Award)

  • Ioan Allen [of Dolby Laboratories, Inc.]
    Note: …for the Cat. 43 playback-only noise reduction unit and its practical application to motion picture sound recordings.
  • John Eppolito, Wally Gentleman, William Mesa, Les Paul Robley and Geoffrey H. Williamson
    Note: …for refinements to a dual screen, front projection, image-compositing system.
  • Jan Jacobsen
    Note: …for the application of a dual screen, front projection system to motion picture special effects photography.
  • Thaine Morris and David Pier
    Note: …for the development of DSC Spark Devices for motion picture special effects.
  • Tadeuz Krzanowski [of Industrial Light and Magic Incorporated]
    Note: …for the development of a Wire Rig Model Support Mechanism used to control the movements of miniatures in special effects.
  • Dan C. Norris [of Norris Film Products] and Tim Cook [of Norris Film Products]
    Note: …for the development of a single-frame exposure system for motion picture photography.
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