Best Picture: Dances With Wolves
Dances With Wolves also won Academy Awards for Cinematography (Dean Semler), Directing (Kevin Costner), Film Editing (Neil Travis), Music – Original Score (John Barry), Sound (Jeffrey Perkins, Bill W. Benton, Greg Watkins, and Russell Williams II), and Writing – Screenplay based on material from another medium (Michael Blake).
Dances With Wolves was the first Western to win Best Picture since Cimarron (1930/31).
Joe Pesci, who won Best Supporting Actor for Good Fellas, delivered one of the shortest Oscar acceptance speeches in recent years. His six words were, “It was my privilege. Thank you.”
Two highlights of the night came when awards were presented to two legendary leading ladies.
Longtime favorite Myrna Loy was seen receiving her Honorary Award via a live satellite hookup from her New York apartment.
Sophia Loren tearfully accepted her Honorary Award at the ceremony, and when she briefly mentioned her husband, Carlo Ponti, during her remarks, he stood up and took a bow.
Jon Bon Jovi, Harry Connick Jr., Reba McEntire, and Madonna were among those performing the year’s nominated songs.
Madonna channeled her inner Marilyn Monroe as she performed “Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)” from “Dick Tracy.” She was also the subject of pre- and post-show buzz because her date for the event was Michael Jackson.
Billy Crystal was the host. He made his initial entrance on stage on horseback – an obvious plug for his upcoming release, “City Slickers.”
In January 1990, the trial of Joseph Hazelwood, former captain of the Exxon Valdez, began. He was accused of negligence that resulted in the devastating oil spill. He received a sentence of 1,000 hours of community service and a $50,000 fine.
On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, was released from prison after more than 27 years.
In March 1990, Antonia Novello was sworn in as the Surgeon General of the United States. She was the first female and first Hispanic to serve in that position.
On March 15, 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev was sworn in as the first executive president of the Soviet Union.
On March 18, 1990, thirteen artworks – including paintings by Degas, Vermeer and Rembrandt – collectively worth between $100 and $300 million, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston by two thieves who posed as police officers.
In April 1990, the space shuttle Discovery placed the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit.
On May 16, 1990, Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets, died in New York City.
In June 1990, Universal Studios Florida opened to the public.
In July 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, designed to protect disabled Americans from discrimination and require public buildings to be made handicapped accessible.
On October 3, 1990, East Germany and West Germany reunified into a single Germany.
In October 1990, a Usenet database for movie buffs was launched. Five years later, it was named IMDb.
On October 14, 1990, Leonard Bernstein died in New York City.
In December 1990, Slobodan Milosevic became president of Serbia.
Special Acheivement Award
To Eric Brevig, Rob Bottin, Tim McGovern and Alex Funke for Visual Effects, “Total Recall.”
To Sophia Loren, one of the genuine treasures of world cinema who, in a career rich with memorable performances, has added permanent luster to our art form.
To Myrna Loy, in recognition of her extraordinary qualities both on screen and off, with appreciation for a lifetime’s worth of indelible performances.
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
To David Brown and Richard D. Zanuck.