68th Annual Academy Awards Results and Commentary (1996)

  • Date of Ceremony: Monday, March 25, 1996
  • For films released in: 1995
  • Host(s): Whoopi Goldberg (video)
Other years:

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69th >

The 68th Annual Academy Awards were presented at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Monday, March 25th, 1996. Host Whoopi Goldberg presided over the telecast, which was produced by Quincy Jones and David Salzman.

Braveheart, which had topped the nominations list with ten nods, went home with five of them, including Best Picture and Best Director for Mel Gibson.

And now that I’m a bona fide director with a golden boy, I uh, well, like most directors I suppose what I really want to do is act. Is that right? Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is a truly wonderful evening for me.” – Mel Gibson

The acting Oscar all went to first-timers. Nicolas Cage took home Best Actor for his portrayal of a suicidal alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas.

Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Three and a half million dollar budget, some 16mm film stock thrown in, and I’m holding one of these. I have got to thank the members of the Academy for this, for including me in this group of super talents and for helping me blur the line between art and commerce with this award. I know it’s not hip to say it, but I just love acting, and I hope that there’ll be more encouragement for alternative movies where we can experiment and fast forward into the future of acting.” – Nicolas Cage

Susan Sarandon’s portrayal of a nun who counsels a death row inmate in Dead Man Walking earned her the Best Actress. She was the first actress to win playing a nun. Ironically, several Oscars had gone to actresses portraying prostitutes.

to my partner in crime and in all things of the heart, the writer, the producer, the director, the spirit, Tim Robbins. You kept us on track, you fought so hard. Thank God for your stubbornness. Thank God for everything about you. We would not have anything without you. This is yours as much as mine. Thank God we live together.” – Susan Sarandon

Speaking of actresses winning for prostitutes, Mira Sorvino took home Best Supporting Actress for Mighty Aphrodite, the second year in a row that the category had gone to an actress in a Woody Allen film. When Sorvino accepted her award, her father, actor Paul Sorvino, sat in the audience as one big, loving, emotional mess. A great moment.

And when you give me this award you honor my father Paul Sorvino, who has taught me everything I know about acting. I love you very much, Dad. I always looked at great performances and was so moved by how much other people’s hearts made me feel as a child. And I wanted to be an actor who could move other people and make other people see something about the human spirit, and you’ve made me feel that I’ve made a small step towards that.” – Mira Sorvino

The final newcomer in the acting quartet was Kevin Spacey, who won for his role in The Usual Suspects. Spacey conclude his speech by saying “Thank you so much, Mom, for driving me to those acting classes on Ventura Blvd. when I was sixteen. I told you they would pay off! And here’s the pudding.”

Actor Christopher Reeve, who had become partially paralyzed after a horse-riding accident nearly a year earlier, made a surprise appearance to introduce a selection of clips from films that dealt with social issues. His appearance sparked a standing ovation.

Another emotional moment came during the speech by Jon Blair, director of the Best Documentary Feature Anne Frank Remembered. He introduced the small, quiet lady next to him as Miep Gies, the last survivor of the group that had sheltered Anne and her family and the woman who and found and preserved Anne’s diaries. The audience rose to give her an thunderous ovation.

And yet another emotional moment came during Kirk Douglas’ acceptance of an Honorary Award. Douglas had recently suffered a stroke and his speech was affected. He pointed to his emotional sons in the audience and said, “I see my four sons. They are proud of the old man. And I am proud, too. Proud to be a part of Hollywood for fifty years.”

Luckily the night did have moments of high humor, like when Adapted Screenplay winner Emma Thompson said, “Before I came I went to visit Jane Austen’s grave in Winchester Cathedral to pay my respects, you know, and to tell her about the grosses. And I don’t know how she would react to an evening like this but I do hope, I do hope she knows how big she is in Uruguay.”


Best Picture

  • Braveheart
    Mel Gibson [Producer], Alan Ladd Jr. [Producer] and Bruce Davey [Producer]

Best Directing

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Dead Man Walking
    Susan Sarandon

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Mighty Aphrodite
    Mira Sorvino

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Antonia's Line

Best Art Direction

  • Restoration
    Eugenio Zanetti

Best Cinematography

  • Braveheart
    John Toll

Best Costume Design

  • Restoration
    James Acheson

Best Documentary (Feature)

  • Anne Frank Remembered
    Jon Blair

Best Documentary (Short Subject)

  • One Survivor Remembers
    Kary Antholis

Best Film Editing

  • Apollo 13
    Mike Hill and Dan Hanley

Best Makeup

  • Braveheart
    Peter Frampton, Paul Pattison and Lois Burwell

Best Music (Original Dramatic Score)

  • The Postman (Il Postino)
    Luis Enrique Bacalov

Best Music (Original Song)

  • Pocahontas "Colors of the Wind"
    Alan Menken [Music by] and Stephen Schwartz [Lyric by]

Best Short Film (Animated)

  • A Close Shave
    Nick Park

Best Short Film (Live Action)

  • Lieberman in Love
    Christine Lahti and Jana Sue Memel

Best Sound

  • Apollo 13
    Rick Dior, Steve Pederson, Scott Millan and David R. B. MacMillan

Best Sound Effects Editing

  • Braveheart
    Lon Bender and Per Halberg

Best Visual Effects

  • Babe
    Scott E. Anderson, Charles Gibson, Neal Scanlan and John Cox

Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published)

  • Sense and Sensibility
    Emma Thompson

Special Achievement Award

  • John Lasseter
    Note: …for his inspired leadership of the Pixar Toy Story team, resulting in the first feature-length computer-animated film.

Honorary Award

  • Kirk Douglas
    Note: …for fifty years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community.
  • Chuck Jones
    Note: …for the creation of classic cartoons which have brought worldwide joy for more than half a century.

Gordon E. Sawyer Award

  • Donald C. Rogers

Scientific or Technical Award (Scientific and Engineering Award)

  • Arnold and Richter Cine Technik
    Note: …for the development of the Arriflex 535 Series of Cameras for motion picture cinematography.
  • Digital Theater Systems
    Note: …for the design and development of the DTS Digital Sound System for motion picture exhibition.
  • Dolby Laboratories
    Note: …for the design and development of the SR-D Digital Sound System for motion picture exhibition.
  • Sony Corporation
    Note: …for the design and development of the SDDS Digital Sound System for motion picture exhibition.
  • Howard Flemming and Ronald Uhlig
    Note: …for their pioneering work leading to motion picture digital sound.
  • Ronald C. Goodman, Attila Szalay, Steven Sass and Spacecam Systems Inc.
    Note: …for the design of the SpaceCam gyroscopically stabilized Camera System.
  • Colin F. Mossman, Joe Wary, Hans Leisinger, Gerald Painter and Deluxe Laboratories Inc.
    Note: …for the design and development of the Deluxe Quad Format Digital Sound Printing Head.
  • David Gilmartin, Johannes Borggrebe, Jean-Pierre Gagnon, Frank Ricotta and Technicolor Inc.
    Note: …for the design and development of the Technicolor Contact Printer Sound Head.
  • Iain Neil, Rick Gelbard, Eric Dubberke and Panavision International L.P.
    Note: To Iain Neil for the optical design; Rick Gelbard for the mechanical design; Eric Dubberke for the engineering and Panavision International, L.P., for the development of the Primo 3:1 Zoom Lens.
  • Martin S. Mueller
    Note: …for the design and development of the MSM 9801 IMAX 65mm/15 perf production motion picture camera.
  • Alvy Ray Smith, Ed Catmull, Thomas Porter and Tom Duff
    Note: …for their pioneering inventions in Digital Image Compositing.

Scientific or Technical Award (Technical Achievement Award)

  • Pascal Chedeville
    Note: …for the design of the L.C. Concept Digital Sound System for motion picture exhibition.
  • James Deas [of the Warner Bros. Studio Facility]
    Note: …for the design and subsequent development of an Automated Patchbay and Metering System for motion picture sound transfer and dubbing operations.
  • Clay Davis [of Todd-AO Corporation] and John Carter [of Todd-AO Corporation]
    Note: …for their pioneering efforts in creating an Automated Patchbay System for motion picture sound transfer and dubbing operations.
  • Al Jensen [of CEI Technology], Chuck Headley [of CEI Technology], Jean Messner [of CEI Technology] and Hazem Nabulsi [of CEI Technology]
    Note: …for producing a self-contained, flicker-free Color Video-Assist Camera.
  • Peter Denz [of Präzisions-Entwicklung Denz]
    Note: …for developing a flicker-free Color Video-Assist Camera.
  • David Pringle and Yan Zhong Fang
    Note: …for the design and development of “Lightning Strikes,” a flexible, high-performance electronic lightning effect system.
  • BHP Inc
    Note: …for their pioneering efforts developing Digital Sound Printing Heads for motion pictures.
  • Joe Finnegan [(a.k.a. Joe Yrigoyen)]
    Note: …for his pioneering work in developing the Air Ram for motion picture stunt effects.
  • Gary Demos, David Ruhoff, Dan Cameron and Michelle Feraud
    Note: …for their pioneering efforts in the creation of the Digital Productions Digital Film Compositing System.
  • Doug Smythe, Lincoln Hu, Douglas S. Kay and Industrial Light and Magic Incorporated
    Note: …for their pioneering efforts in the creation of the ILM Digital Film Compositing System.
  • Computer Film Company
    Note: …for their pioneering efforts in the creation of the CFC Digital Film Compositing System.
  • Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, Kodak Pathe CTP CINE, Eclair Laboratories and Martineau Industries
    Note: To Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse for the concept; Kodak Pathe CTP CINE for the prototype; and Eclair Laboratories and Martineau Industries for the development and further implementation of the Toulouse Electrolytic Silver Recovery Cell.
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