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The 56th Academy Awards (1984)

Held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Monday, April 9, 1984,
honoring movies released in 1983.

Best Picture ("Terms of Endearment") winners Best Director James L. Brooks, Best Actress Shirley Maclaine and Best Supporting Actor Jack Nicholson.

James L. Brooks, winner for writing, directing and producing Best Picture winner “Terms of Endearment,” with the movie’s Best Actress winner Shirley MacLaine and Supporting Actor winner Jack Nicholson.

Best Picture

Gandhi Full Image

"Terms of Endearment"

James L. Brooks Production; Paramount.

Best Actor

Best Actor Robert Duvall  ("Tender Mercies") Full Image

Robert Duvall

Best Actor Robert Duvall ("Tender Mercies") with presenter Dolly Parton.

Best Screenplay

Best Screenplay winner Horton Foote ("Tender Mercies") with presenters Sissy Spacek and Mel Gibson. Full Image

Horton Foote

Best Screenplay winner Horton Foote ("Tender Mercies") with presenters Sissy Spacek and Mel Gibson.

The Year

  • Shirley MacLaine
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Best Picture: "Terms of Endearment"
    • "Terms of Endearment" also won Academy Awards for Best Actress (Shirley MacLaine), Best Supporting Actor (Jack Nicholson), Directing (James L. Brooks), and Writing – Screenplay based on material from another medium (James L. Brooks).
  • Linda Hunt won Best Supporting Actress for her performance as a male character in “The Year of Living Dangerously.” Her award marked the first time an actress was recognized for portraying a man.
  • Ingmar Bergman’s “Fanny & Alexander” was named Best Foreign Language Film. It won a total of four awards and became the most honored foreign language film to that date in Academy history. (View Image)
  • Shirley Temple Black, Mel Gibson, Frank Capra, Matthew Broderick, Rock Hudson, Joan Collins, Sylvester Stallone, and Dolly Parton were among the show’s participants.
  • Johnny Carson was the master of ceremonies.
  • In January 1983, 26-year-old tennis legend Bjorn Borg announced his retirement.
  • In January 1983, Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was arrested in Bolivia on a 10-year-old charge of defrauding the Bolivian state mining company. He was expelled from Bolivia, which had granted him citizienship in 1957, the following month and was tried in France in May 1987 on over 300 counts of crimes against humanity.
  • On February 28, 1983, the final episode of “M*A*S*H” aired and broke the record for the most watched single television program episode.
  • On April 15, 1983, Tokyo Disneyland opened.
  • On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space as an astronaut on the space shuttle Challenger.
  • On September 17, 1983, 20-year-old Vanessa Williams (Miss New York) became the first African American to win the Miss America crown.
  • On September 18, 1983, the rock group KISS appeared on live television without their signature makeup for the first time, on MTV, to support their new album, “Lick It Up.”
  • On October 25, 1983, U.S. troops invaded Grenada following a bloody coup on the Caribbean island and the assassination of its prime minister, Maurice Bishop.
  • In November 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill designating a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., to be observed on the third Monday of January.
  • In December 1983, Pope John Paul II visited his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, in prison to forgive him.

Special Achievement Award

To Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, Ken Ralston and Phil Tippett for Sound Effects Editing, “Return of the Jedi”

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

To M. J. Frankovich.

Honorary Award

To Hal Roach, in recognition of his unparalleled record of distinguished contributions to the motion picture art form.

See all Nominees and Winners

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