Best Picture: Ben-Hur
Ben-Hur also won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Charlton Heston), Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith), Color Art Direction-Set Decoration (William A. Horning, Edward Carfagno, and Hugh Hunt), Color Cinematography (Robert L. Surtees), Color Costume Design (Elizabeth Haffenden), Directing (William Wyler), Film Editing (Ralph E. Winters and John D. Dunning), Music – Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (Miklos Rozsa), Sound (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Sound Department), and Special Effects (A. Arnold Gillespie, Robert MacDonald, and Milo Lory).
Ben-Hur set a new Oscar record by winning 11 Academy Awards.
Bob Hope was the master of ceremonies.
On January 3, 1959, Alaska was admitted as the 49th U.S. state.
On January 8, 1959, Charles de Gaulle was inaugurated as the first president of the new Fifth Republic in France.
In January 1959, songwriter Berry Gordy launched the Tamla Record Company, which he renamed Motown Record Corporation a year later.
In January 1959, Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty was released. It earned a nomination for Music – Scoring of a Musical Picture.
In March 1959, the Barbie doll went on display at the American Toy Fair in New York City.
On August 21, 1959, Hawaii was admitted as the 50th U.S. state.
On October 2, 1959, The Twilight Zone premiered on CBS.
On October 21, 1959, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened to the public in New York City.
On November 15, 1959, the Clutter family was murdered in Holcomb, Kansas, inspiring Truman Capote's 1966 non-fiction novel In Cold Blood.
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
To Bob Hope.
To Lee De Forest for his pioneering inventions which brought sound to the motion picture.
To Buster Keaton for his unique talents which brought immortal comedies to the screen.