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The 59th Academy Awards Memorable Moments

59th Oscars

Best Picture: Platoon

Platoon also won Academy Awards for Directing (Oliver Stone), Film Editing (Claire Simpson), and Sound (John K. Wilkinson, Richard Rogers, Charles Bud Grenzbach, and Simon Kaye).

Paul Newman won his first competitive Academy Award, for Best Actor, in The Color of Money. Newman wasn’t at the ceremony to accept the award in person. He had previously said, “I’ve been there six times and lost. Maybe if I stay away, I’ll win.”

Oliver Stone was nominated for three awards, as director and screenwriter of Platoon and as screenwriter (with Richard Boyle) of Salvador.

He won for Directing, and said in his acceptance speech, “…I think that through this award you’re really acknowledging the Vietnam veteran. And I think what you’re saying is that for the first time, you really understand what happened over there. And I think what you’re saying is that it should never, ever in our lifetimes happen again.” 

Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, and Paul Hogan shared the hosting duties. Hogan was also a nominee in the Original Screenplay category.

Marlee Matlin, the first deaf actress to be nominated for an Academy Award, won for Best Actress in “Children of a Lesser God.” The role was her movie debut.

On January 20, 1986, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday was first observed as a federal holiday.

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after take-off, killing the five male and two female astronauts on board.

In February 1986, the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm, Ltd. was purchased by Steve Jobs for $10 million and established as an independent company called Pixar.

On April 8, 1986, Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel, California.

On April 26, 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident to date occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear plant near Kiev in the Ukraine. More than 340,000 people who lived in the 18-mile radius around Chernobyl were eventually relocated, although some chose to return to their homes.

On April 29, 1986, Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox became the first pitcher in Major League Baseball to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game.

On May 25, 1986, at least five million people participated in “Hands Across America” by forming a human chain from New York City to Long Beach, California, to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness.

In September 1986, Bishop Desmond Tutu became the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, two years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent opposition to apartheid in South Africa. As archbishop, he was the first black to head South Africa's Anglican Church.

Honorary Award

To Ralph Bellamy for his unique artistry and his distinguished service to the profession of acting.

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

To Steven Spielberg.