50th Academy Awards

50th Academy Awards
Date April 3, 1978
Site Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles
Hosted by Bob Hope
Produced by Howard W. Koch
Directed by Marty Pasetta
Best Picture Annie Hall
Most awards Star Wars (6)
Most nominations Julia and The Turning Point (11)
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Duration 3 hours, 30 minutes
Ratings 39.73 million
31.1% (Nielsen ratings)[1]

The 50th Academy Awards were held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California on April 3, 1978. The ceremonies were presided over by Bob Hope, who hosted the awards for the nineteenth and last time.

Two of the year's biggest winners were Star Wars, which swept the technical categories by winning 6 out of its 10 nominations and a Special Achievement for Sound Effects Editing, and Annie Hall, winning 4 out of 5 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Director. The awards show was also notable for a very politically charged acceptance speech by Vanessa Redgrave.

The Turning Point set the record for the most nominations without a win (11), previously held by Peyton Place and The Little Foxes, which each had 9 nominations with no wins. This record, later tied by The Color Purple, still stands as of 2016.

Annie Hall was the last Best Picture winner to be nominated for just five awards until The Departed 29 years later in 2006.

Jason Robards became the fourth actor to win back-to-back Oscars, following Luise Rainer, Spencer Tracy, and Katharine Hepburn.

For the first and only time to date, both Best Actor and Best Actress winners won for roles in two different romantic comedies.

The animated opening sequence, as well as promos for the Awards show, were designed by British graphic designer Harry Marks, who outsourced the animated sequences to Robert Abel and Associates. Marks also designed animated sequences for the top nominated categories, which weren't used for the final telecast.


Woody Allen, Best Director winner
Richard Dreyfuss, Best Actor winner
Diane Keaton, Best Actress winner
Jason Robards, Best Supporting Actor winner
Vanessa Redgrave, Best Supporting Actress winner

Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface and indicated with a double dagger (double-dagger).[2]

Best Picture Best Director
Best Actor Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor Best Supporting Actress
Best Original Screenplay Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Documentary Feature Best Documentary Short
Best Live Action Short Best Animated Short
Best Original Score Best Original Song Score or Adaptation Score
Best Original Song Best Costume Design
Best Sound Mixing Best Sound Editing
Best Art Direction Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing Best Visual Effects

Academy Honorary Awards

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award


Debby Boone's performance of You Light Up My Life was accompanied by schoolgirls described as "affiliated with the John Tracy Clinic for the Deaf" interpreting the lyrics in sign language. After complaints that their signing was incomprehensible, it was revealed the girls were not deaf and had been taught rudimentary signing specifically for the performance. This prompted protests from the Alliance for Deaf Artists.[3]

Redgrave speech

During the ceremony, Vanessa Redgrave won the Best Supporting Actress award for Julia, and, aware of members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) protesting outside, made the following comments:

My dear colleagues, I thank you very much for this tribute to my work. I think that Jane Fonda and I have done the best work of our lives, and I think this is in part due to our director, Fred Zinnemann. [Audience applause.]

And I also think it's in part because we believed and we believe in what we were expressing--two out of millions who gave their lives and were prepared to sacrifice everything in the fight against fascist and racist Nazi Germany.

And I salute you, and I pay tribute to you, and I think you should be very proud that in the last few weeks you've stood firm, and you have refused to be intimidated by the threats of a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums [gasps from the audience, followed by a smattering of boos and clapping] whose behavior-- [continuation of booing until it quieted down] whose behavior is an insult to the stature of Jews all over the world and their great and heroic record of struggle against fascism and oppression. [General applause]

And I salute that record and I salute all of you for having stood firm and dealt a final blow against that period when Nixon and McCarthy launched a worldwide witch-hunt against those who tried to express in their lives and their work the truth that they believe in. [some boos and hissing] I salute you and I thank you and I pledge to you that I will continue to fight against anti-Semitism and fascism.

Two hours later,[4] when it came his turn to announce the winners for the two Best Screenplay awards, Paddy Chayefsky, perturbed by what he perceived as "cracks about Jews"[4] at the Academy Awards, replied:

Before I get on to the writing awards, there's a little matter I'd like to tidy up--at least if I expect to live with myself tomorrow morning. I would like to say, personal opinion, of course, that I'm sick and tired of people exploiting the occasion of the Academy Awards [loud applause] for the propagation of their own personal political propaganda. [Loud applause]

I would like to suggest to Miss Redgrave that her winning an Academy Award is not a pivotal moment in history, does not require a proclamation, and a simple 'thank you' would have sufficed. [Loud applause]

Presenters and performers

The following individuals, listed in order of appearance, presented awards or performed musical numbers.


Name Role
Simms, HankHank Simms Announcer for the 50th annual Academy Awards
Koch, Howard W.Howard W. Koch (AMPAS President) Gave opening remarks welcoming guests to the awards ceremony
Davis, BetteBette Davis
Gregory Peck
Explained the voting rules to the public
Travolta, JohnJohn Travolta Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actress
Hamill, MarkMark Hamill
Presenters of the Special Achievement Award
Foster, JodieJodie Foster
Mickey Mouse
Paul Williams
Presenters of the Short Subjects Awards
Holden, WilliamWilliam Holden
Barbara Stanwyck
Presenters of the Sound Awards
Fontaine, JoanJoan Fontaine Presenter of the award for Best Visual Effects
Douglas, KirkKirk Douglas
Raquel Welch
Presenters of the Documentary Awards
Williams, Billy DeeBilly Dee Williams Presenter of the Scientific & Technical Awards
Garson, GreerGreer Garson
Henry Winkler
Presenters of the award of Best Art Direction
Saint, Eva MarieEva Marie Saint
Jack Valenti
Presenters of the award for Best Foreign Language Film
Caine, MichaelMichael Caine
Maggie Smith
Presenters of the award for Best Supporting Actor
Wood, NatalieNatalie Wood Presenter of the award for Best Costume Design
Green, JohnnyJohnny Green
Henry Mancini
Olivia Newton-John
Presenters of the award for Best Original Score
Hawn, GoldieGoldie Hawn
Jon Voight
Presenters of the award for Best Cinematography
Davis, BetteBette Davis Presenter of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Charlton Heston
de Havilland, OliviaOlivia de Havilland Presenter of the Honorary Award to Margaret Booth
Fawcett, FarrahFarrah Fawcett
Marcello Mastroianni
Presenters of the award for Best Film Editing
Astaire, FredFred Astaire Presenter of the award for Best Original Song
Tyson, CicelyCicely Tyson
King Vidor
Presenters of the award for Best Director
Chayefsky, PaddyPaddy Chayefsky Presenter of the awards for Best Original and Adapted Screenplay
Gaynor, JanetJanet Gaynor
Walter Matthau
Presenters of the award for Best Actress
Stallone, SylvesterSylvester Stallone Presenter of the award for Best Actor
Kramer, StanleyStanley Kramer Presenter of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to Walter Mirisch
Nicholson, JackJack Nicholson Presenter of the award for Best Picture


Performer Role Performed
Riddle, NelsonNelson Riddle Musical arranger
Reynolds, DebbieDebbie Reynolds Performer "Look How Far We've Come"
Boone, DebbyDebby Boone Performer "You Light Up My Life" from You Light Up My Life
Loring, GloriaGloria Loring Performer "Candle on the Water" from Pete's Dragon and "Someone's Waiting for You" from The Rescuers
Davis Jr., SammySammy Davis Jr.
Marvin Hamlisch
Performers "Come Light the Candles"
Franklin, ArethaAretha Franklin Performer "Nobody Does It Better" from The Spy Who Loved Me
Powell, JaneJane Powell Performer "The Slipper and the Rose Waltz (He Danced with Me)" from The Slipper and the Rose
Academy Awards Chorus, Academy Awards Chorus Performers "That's Entertainment"

Multiple nominations and awards

These films had multiple nominations:

  • 11 nominations: Julia, The Turning Point
  • 10 nominations: Star Wars
  • 8 nominations: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • 5 nominations: Annie Hall, The Goodbye Girl
  • 3 nominations: Equus, The Spy Who Loved Me
  • 2 nominations: Airport '77, A Little Night Music, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Pete's Dragon, The Slipper and the Rose, A Special Day, That Obscure Object of Desire

The following films received multiple awards.


Sammy Davis, Jr. and Marvin Hamlisch performed "Come Light the Candles" in tribute to:

See also


  1. Bialik, Carl (February 26, 2008). "And the Oscar Goes to… Fewer TV Viewers". The Wall Street Journal.
  2. "The 50th Academy Awards (1978) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  3. Crouse, Richard (2005-10-22). Reel Winners: Movie Award Trivia. Dundurn. pp. 138–139. ISBN 9781770701991. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  4. 1 2 John Bradey, "The craft of the screenwriter", 1981. Page 57

External links

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