|63rd Academy Awards|
|Date||March 25, 1991|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Hosted by||Billy Crystal|
|Produced by||Gil Cates|
|Directed by||Jeff Margolis|
|Best Picture||Dances with Wolves|
|Most awards||Dances with Wolves (7)|
|Most nominations||Dances with Wolves (12)|
|TV in the United States|
|Duration||3 hours, 30 minutes|
28.4% (Nielsen ratings)
The 63rd Academy Awards ceremony, organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), took place on March 25, 1991, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles beginning at 6:00 p.m. PST / 9:00 p.m. EST. During the ceremony, Academy Awards (commonly referred to as the Oscars) were presented in 23 categories. The ceremony, which was televised in the United States on ABC, was produced by Gil Cates and directed by Jeff Margolis. Actor Billy Crystal hosted for the second consecutive year. Three weeks earlier in a ceremony held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California on March 2, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by host Geena Davis.
Dances with Wolves won seven awards including Best Picture. Other winners included Dick Tracy with three awards, Ghost with two awards, and American Dream, Creature Comforts, Cyrano de Bergerac, Days of Waiting, Goodfellas, The Hunt for Red October, Journey of Hope, The Lunch Date, Misery, Reversal of Fortune, and Total Recall with one. The telecast garnered nearly 43 million viewers in the United States.
The nominees for the 63rd Academy Awards were announced on February 13, 1991, at 5:38 a.m. PST (13:38 UTC) at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, by Karl Malden, president of the Academy, and actor Denzel Washington. Dances with Wolves led the nominations with twelve total; Dick Tracy and The Godfather Part III tied for second with seven each.
The winners were announced during the awards ceremony on March 25, 1991. Kevin Costner became the fifth person to earn the Best Director Award for his directorial debut and to earn nominations for Best Actor and Best Director for the same film. Best Supporting Actress winner Whoopi Goldberg was the second African American woman to win an award. Hattie McDaniel previously won in the same aforementioned category for Gone With the Wind.
Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface and indicated with a double-dagger ().
The following 15 films had multiple nominations:
The following three films received multiple awards.
|Charlie O'Donnell||Announcer for the 63rd annual Academy Awards|
|Karl Malden (AMPAS President)||Gave opening remarks welcoming guests to the awards ceremony|
|Michael Caine||Presenter of the opening number|
|Denzel Washington||Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actress|
|Dianne Wiest||Presenter of the award for Best Sound|
|Jack Lemmon||Presenter of the film Ghost on the Best Picture segment|
|Anne Archer||Presenter of the award for Best Makeup|
|Brenda Fricker||Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actor|
|Presenters of the awards for Best Live Action Short Film|
|Woody Woodpecker||Presenter of the award for Best Animated Short Film|
|Anjelica Huston||Presenter of the Honorary Academy Award to Myrna Loy|
|Joe Pesci||Introducer of the performance of Best Original Song nominee "Somewhere in My Memory"|
|Annette Bening||Presenter of the award for Best Costume Design|
|Geena Davis||Presenter of the segment of the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement and the Gordon E. Sawyer Award|
|Danny Aiello||Presenter of the film Goodfellas on the Best Picture segment|
|Jack Valenti||Presenter of the award for Best Visual Effects|
|Michael Douglas||Presenter of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Awards to David Brown and Richard D. Zanuck|
|Introducers of the special dance number to the tune of the Best Original Score nominees and presenters of the award for Best Original Score|
|Presenters of the award for Best Film Editing|
|Presenters of the award for Best Art Direction|
|Bob Hope||Presenter of the "My First Movie" montage|
|Presenters of the awards for Best Documentary Short Subject and Best Documentary Feature|
|Robert De Niro||Presenter of the film Dances with Wolves on the Best Picture segment|
|Presenters of the awards for Best Sound Effects Editing|
|Christian Slater||Introducer of the performance of Best Original Song nominee "Blaze of Glory"|
|Glenn Close||Presenter of the award for Best Cinematography|
|Dustin Hoffman||Presenter of the award for Best Foreign Language Film|
|Presenters of the awards for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium|
|Debra Winger||Presenter of the film Awakenings on the Best Picture segment|
|Gregory Peck||Presenter of the Honorary Academy Award to Sophia Loren|
|Presenters of the award for Best Original Song|
|Daniel Day-Lewis||Presenter of the award for Best Actress|
|Jessica Tandy||Presenter of the award for Best Actor|
|Jeff Bridges||Presenter of the film The Godfather Part III on the Best Picture segment|
|Tom Cruise||Presenter of the award for Best Director|
|Barbra Streisand||Presenter of the award for Best Picture|
|Bill Conti||Musical arranger and conductor||Orchestral|
|Billy Crystal||Performer||Opening number: |
Goodfellas (to the tune of "Goody Goody"),
Dances With Wolves (to the tune of "Dancing in the Dark" from The Band Wagon),
Ghost (to the tune of "L-O-V-E"),
The Godfather Part III (to the tune of "Speak Softly Love" from The Godfather) and
Awakenings (to the tune of "All the Way")
|Madonna||Performer||"Sooner or Later" from Dick Tracy|
|Children's choir||Performers||"Somewhere in My Memory" from Home Alone|
|Reba McEntire||Performer||"I'm Checkin' Out" from Postcards from the Edge|
|Bon Jovi||Performers||"Blaze of Glory" from Young Guns II|
|Harry Connick Jr.||Performer||"Promise Me You'll Remember (Love Theme from The Godfather Part III)" from The Godfather Part III|
Riding on the critical praise from last year's ceremony, the Academy rehired former film producer and former Directors Guild of America president Gilbert Cates to oversee production of the Oscar ceremony for the second straight time. Two months before the awards gala, Cates selected actor and comedian Billy Crystal to host the show for the second consecutive year. In a statement released by AMPAS, Crystal joked, "It's a great honor, and I hope to bring the show in under nine hours."
As with the last year's theme of "Around the World in 3 1/2 Hours," Cates centered the show around a theme. He christened the ceremony with the theme "100 Years of Film" in celebration to the centennial of the development of both the kinetoscope by Thomas Edison and celluloid film by Eastman Kodak. In tandem with the theme, the show featured an ambitious opening segment. Actor Michael Caine introduced the segment live via satellite from the Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris, where the short film L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat made its debut in 1895. After a brief clip of the film, the show cut back to the Shrine Auditorium stage where actress Jasmine Guy and other dancers performed whilst a montage of film clips were projected in the background. Filmmaker Chuck Workman filmed a vignettes featuring actors such as Sally Field, Andy García, and Anjelica Huston discussing the first movie he or she watched.
Several other people participated in the production of the ceremony. Film composer and musician Bill Conti served as musical director for the ceremony. Dancer Debbie Allen choreographed a dancer number showcasing the Best Original Score nominees. Despite losing eight members of her band in a plane crash, a visibly emotional Reba McEntire performed the Best Original Song nominee "I'm Checkin' Out" from the film Postcards from the Edge. At the beginning of the ceremony, wrangler Lisa Brown escorted host Crystal, and Beechnut, a horse that was prominently featured in the upcoming film City Slickers.
This ceremony was the last year in which there were no official nominees for Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. Back to the Future Part III, Dick Tracy, Ghost and Total Recall advanced to a second stage of voting, but only Total Recall received a requisite average and it was given a special achievement Oscar.
At the time of the nominations announcement on February 12, the combined gross of the five Best Picture nominees at the US box office was $458.2 million with an average of $41 million per film. Ghost was the highest earner among the Best Picture nominees with $213.5 million in domestic box office receipts. The film was followed by Dances with Wolves ($104.3 million), The Godfather Part III ($62.5 million), Goodfellas ($41 million), and finally Awakenings ($36.7 million).
Of the top 50 highest-grossing films of the year, 51 nominations went to 12 films on the list. Only Ghost (2nd), Pretty Woman (3rd), Dances with Wolves (8th), Dick Tracy (9th), The Godfather Part III (17th), Goodfellas (30th), and Awakenings (34th) were nominated for Best Picture, directing, acting or screenwriting. The other top 50 box office hits that earned the nominations were Home Alone (1st), The Hunt for Red October (5th), Total Recall (6th), Days of Thunder (12th), and Edward Scissorhands (22nd).
The show received a mixed reception from media publications. Some media outlets were more critical of the show. Rick DuBrow of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "It was a long day's journey into night for Oscar, one of the most effective sleeping pills of the year." He also added that while host Crystal started out strong, his jokes fell flat as the night progressed. The Washington Post television critic Tom Shales noted that Crystal, "followed many gags by instantly rating the reaction of the audience, as if it were up to them to please him instead of the other way around." In addition, he commented, "The Oscars seemed more of a fizzle than usual this year." Columnist Dan Craft of The Pantagraph remarked, "The Oscar show has become innocuously hip and yuppified. Kitsch and nostalgia have given way to efficiency and upward mobility. Everyone is tiresomely well-behaved and, worse, well-dressed." He also commented that host Crystal's insider showbiz jokes fell flat and were confusing to television audiences.
Other media outlets received the broadcast more positively. Columnist Harold Schindler of The Salt Lake Tribune wrote, "Billy Crystal kept things moving Monday night in such a manner that the extra quarter-hour was scarcely noticeable." He also said of the telecast's theme of film history, "The Academy used its film library to excellent advantage." Film critic Leonard Maltin remarked, "Emotions ran high and they gave us all a chance to feel vicariously what it might be like to win this kind of award...good guys finishing first and the part of Hollywood we like best, a happy ending." Orlando Sentinel film critic Jay Boyar complimented Crystal for invigorating the gala noting that his "clever remarks at the academy's 63rd annual awards presentation struck an entertaining balance between inside-Hollywood quips and general-audience jests."
The American telecast on ABC drew in an average of 42.7 million people over its length, which was a 6% increase from the previous year's ceremony. An estimated 76 million total viewers watched all or part of the awards. The show also drew higher Nielsen ratings compared to the previous ceremony with 28.4% of households watching over a 48 share. It was the most watched Oscars telecast since the 56th ceremony held in 1984.
In July 1991, the ceremony presentation received nine nominations at the 43rd Primetime Emmys. The following month, the ceremony won three of those nominations for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Program (Gil Cates), Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program (Billy Crystal), and Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program (Hal Kanter, Buz Kohan, Billy Crystal, David Steinberg, Bruce Vilanch, and Robert Wuhl).