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The 61st Academy Awards (1989)

Held at the Shrine Civic Auditorium on Wednesday, March 29, 1989,
honoring movies released in 1988.

Tom Cruise and Best Actor Dustin Hoffman in a scene from "Rain Man."

Tom Cruise and Best Actor Dustin Hoffman in a scene from Best Picture "Rain Man."

Best Picture

The Last Emperor Full Image

"Rain Man"

Guber-Peters Company Production; United Artists.

Best Actress

Best Actress Jodie Foster ("The Accused"). Full Image

Jodie Foster

Best Actress Jodie Foster ("The Accused").

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actor Kevin Kline ("A Fish Called Wanda"). Full Image

Kevin Kline

Best Supporting Actor Kevin Kline ("A Fish Called Wanda").

The Year

  • Geena Davis
  • Kevin Kline
  • Barry Levinson
  • Best Picture: "Rain Man"
    • "Rain Man" also won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Directing (Barry Levinson), and Writing – Screenplay written directly for the screen (Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow). (View Image)
  • Sigourney Weaver was nominated for Best Actress (“Gorillas in the Mist”) and Best Supporting Actress (“Working Girl”), but did not win either. It was the first time a performer with nominations in two acting categories in the same year ended up without a win.
  • James Stewart, Kim Novak, Dudley Moore, Bo Derek, Sammy Davis Jr., Gregory Hines, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Donald and Kiefer Sutherland, Sean Connery, and Michael Caine were among the show’s participants.
  • Lucille Ball attended the show, and it turned out to be her last public appearance; she died less than a month later on April 26, 1989.
  • On January 25, 1988, Vice President George H. W. Bush and CBS News anchor Dan Rather clashed over Bush’s role in the Iran-Contra scandal during a contentious live television interview.
  • In April 1988, Sonny Bono was elected mayor of Palm Springs, California.
  • In April 1988, Celine Dion won the Eurovision Song Contest for Switzerland with the song “Ne partez pas sans moi.”
  • On June 5, 1988, the first National Cancer Survivors Day was held.
  • On September 24, 1988, Canadian runner Ben Johnson won the gold medal in the 100 meter sprint at the Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. He broke his own world record with a time of 9.79 seconds. Three days later, he was stripped of his medal by the International Olympics Committee after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
  • On November 8, 1988, Vice President George H. W. Bush defeated Michael Dukakis in the U.S. presidential election.
  • On December 2, 1988, Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.
  • On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103, bound for New York’s JFK International Airport from London, exploded and crashed in the town of Lockerbie, Scotland. The crash took place 38 minutes after take-off; 259 people aboard the plane and 11 individuals on the ground were killed.

Special Achievement Award

To Richard Williams for the animation direction of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”

Honorary Award

To the National Film Board of Canada in recognition of its 50th anniversary and its dedicated commitment to originate artistic, creative and technological activity and excellence in every area of film making.

See all Nominees and Winners