31st Annual Academy Awards Results and Commentary (1959)

  • Date of Ceremony: Monday, April 6, 1959
  • For films released in: 1958
  • Host(s): Jerry Lewis (video), Mort Sahl, Tony Randall, Bob Hope (video), David Niven and Laurence Olivier
Other years:

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The 31st Academy Awards took place at the RKO Pantages Theatre on Monday, April 6, 1959 and were hosted by Jerry Lewis, Mort Sahl, Tony Randall, Bob Hope, David Niven and Laurence Olivier.

Best Picture Gigi broke the previous record of most wins taking home nine Oscars out of nine nominations. Interestingly enough, none of the nominations it received were in the acting categories.

Fearing the show would run long, the producers began cutting musical numbers from the show. Unfortunately, they cut too much and the evening’s last host, Jerry Lewis, was left trying to fill the remaining twenty minutes of the presentation. After a while, NBC cut away to a sports show.


Best Motion Picture

  • Gigi
    Arthur Freed [Producer]

Best Directing

  • Gigi
    Vincente Minnelli

Best Actor

  • Separate Tables
    David Niven

Best Actress

  • I Want to Live!
    Susan Hayward

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

  • The Big Country
    Burl Ives

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Separate Tables
    Wendy Hiller

Best Foreign Language Film

  • My Uncle

Best Art Direction

  • Gigi
    William A. Horning [Art Direction], Preston Ames [Art Direction], Henry Grace [Set Decoration] and Keogh Gleason [Set Decoration]

Best Cinematography (Black-and-White)

  • The Defiant Ones
    Sam Leavitt

Best Cinematography (Color)

  • Gigi
    Joseph Ruttenberg

Best Costume Design

  • Gigi
    Cecil Beaton

Best Documentary (Feature)

  • White Wilderness
    Ben Sharpsteen

Best Documentary (Short Subject)

  • Ama Girls
    Ben Sharpsteen

Best Film Editing

  • Gigi
    Adrienne Fazan

Best Music (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture)

  • The Old Man and the Sea
    Dimitri Tiomkin

Best Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture)

  • Gigi
    Andre Previn

Best Music (Song)

  • Gigi "Gigi"
    Frederick Loewe [Music by] and Alan Jay Lerner [Lyrics by]

Best Short Subject (Cartoon)

  • Knighty Knight Bugs
    John W. Burton

Best Short Subject (Live Action)

  • Grand Canyon
    Walt Disney

Best Sound

  • South Pacific
    Todd-AO Sound Department and Fred Hynes [Sound Director]

Best Special Effects

  • tom thumb
    Tom Howard [Visual Effects by]

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

  • Gigi
    Alan Jay Lerner

Best Writing (Story and Screenplay - written directly for the screen)

  • The Defiant Ones
    Nedrick Young and Harold Jacob Smith

Honorary Award

  • Maurice Chevalier
    Note: …for his contributions to the world of entertainment for more than half a century.

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

  • Jack L. Warner

Scientific or Technical Award (Class II)

  • Don W. Prideaux, Leroy G. Leighton and Lamp Division of General Electric Co.
    Note: …for the development and production of an improved 10 kilowatt lamp for motion picture set lighting.
  • Panavision Inc.
    Note: …for the design and development of the Auto Panatar anamorphic photographic lens for 35mm CinemaScope photography.

Scientific or Technical Award (Class III)

  • Willy Borberg [of the General Precision Laboratory, Inc.]
    Note: …for the development of a high speed intermittent movement for 35mm motion picture theatre projection equipment.
  • Fred Ponedel [of the Warner Bros. Special Effects Department], George Brown [of the Warner Bros. Special Effects Department] and Conrad Boye [of the Warner Bros. Special Effects Department]
    Note: …for the design and fabrication of a new rapid fire marble gun.
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