69th Academy Awards

69th Academy Awards

Official poster
Date March 24, 1997
Site Shrine Auditorium
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Hosted by Billy Crystal
Produced by Gil Cates
Directed by Louis J. Horvitz
Best Picture The English Patient
Most awards The English Patient (9)
Most nominations The English Patient (12)
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Duration 3 hours, 35 minutes[1]
Ratings 40.08 million
27.49% (Nielsen ratings)

The 69th Academy Awards ceremony, organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) took place on March 24, 1997, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles beginning at 6:00 p.m. PST / 9:00 p.m. EST. During the ceremony, AMPAS presented the Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 categories honoring films released in 1996. The ceremony, televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Gil Cates and directed by Louis J. Horvitz.[2][3] Actor Billy Crystal hosted the show for the fifth time. He first presided over the 62nd ceremony held in 1990 and had last hosted the 65th ceremony held in 1993.[4] Three weeks earlier, in a ceremony held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California on March 1, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by host Helen Hunt.[5]

The English Patient won the most awards of the evening with nine including Best Picture.[6][7] Other winners included Fargo with two awards, and Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien, Dear Diary, Emma, Evita, The Ghost and the Darkness, Independence Day, Jerry Maguire, Kolya, The Nutty Professor, Quest, Shine, Sling Blade, and When We Were Kings with one.

Winners and nominees

The nominees for the 69th Academy Awards were announced on February 11, 1997 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, by Robert Rehme, president of the Academy, and actress Mira Sorvino.[8] The English Patient received the most nominations with twelve; Fargo and Shine came in second with seven apiece.[9][10]

The winners were announced during the awards ceremony on March 24, 1997.[11][12] Saul Zaentz became the third person to produce three Best Picture winners, having previously produced One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus.[13] He also became the seventh individual to receive an Oscar and the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in the same year.[14] Best Actress winner Frances McDormand was the first person to win for a role in a film directed by his or her spouse.[15] Best Original Musical or Comedy Score winner Rachel Portman became the first female winner for composing a musical score.[15]


Photo of Anthony Minghella in 2004.
Anthony Minghella, Best Director winner
Photo of Geoffrey Rush at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Geoffrey Rush, Best Actor winner
Photo of Frances McDormand at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Frances McDormand, Best Actress winner
Photo of Cuba Gooding, Jr. in April 2012.
Cuba Gooding Jr., Best Supporting Actor winner
Photo of Juliette Binoche at a press conference for Nobody Wants the Night in 2015.
Juliette Binoche, Best Supporting Actress winner
Photo of the Coen Brothers at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
Coen brothers, Best Original Screenplay winners
Photo of Billy Bob Thornton receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 6, 2012.
Billy Bob Thornton, Best Adapted Screenplay winner
Photo of Andrew Lloyd Webber meeting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2008.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Best Original Song co-winner
Black and white photo of Tim Rice in 1981.
Tim Rice, Best Original Song co-winner
Photo of David Frankel in 2011.
David Frankel, Best Live Action Short Film co-winner

Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface, and indicated with a double-dagger (double-dagger).[16]

Academy Honorary Award

Irving G. Thalberg Award

Multiple nominations and awards

The following seventeen films received multiple nominations:

Nominations Film
12 The English Patient
7 Fargo
5 Evita
Jerry Maguire
Secrets & Lies
4 Hamlet
2 The Crucible
Ghosts of Mississippi
Independence Day
Michael Collins
The Mirror Has Two Faces
The People vs. Larry Flynt
The Portrait of a Lady
Sling Blade

The following two films received multiple awards:

Awards Film
9 The English Patient
2 Fargo

Presenters and performers

The following individuals, in order of appearance, presented awards or performed musical numbers.[18]


Name(s) Role
Thomas, RandyRandy Thomas Announcer for the 69th annual Academy Awards
Hiller, ArthurArthur Hiller (AMPAS president) Gave opening remarks welcoming guests to the awards ceremony
Sorvino, MiraMira Sorvino Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actor
Bullock, SandraSandra Bullock Presenter of the award for Best Art Direction
Martin, SteveSteve Martin Presenter of the film Jerry Maguire on the Best Picture segment
Binoche, JulietteJuliette Binoche Presenter of the award for Best Costume Design
Beavis (voiced by Mike Judge)
Butt-Head (voiced by Judge)
Presenters of the award Best Sound Editing
Love, CourtneyCourtney Love Presenter of the award for Best Makeup
Ryder, WinonaWinona Ryder Presenter of the "Togetherness and the Movies" montage
Spacey, KevinKevin Spacey Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actress
Danes, ClaireClaire Danes Introducer of the performance of Best Song nominee "That Thing You Do"
Hunter, HollyHolly Hunter Presenter of the film Fargo on the Best Picture segment
Farley, ChrisChris Farley
David Spade
Presenters of the award for Best Live Action Short Film, and Best Animated Short Film
Andrews, JulieJulie Andrews Presenter of the Honorary Academy Award to Michael Kidd
Hunt, HelenHelen Hunt Presenter of the segment of the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement
Jones, Tommy LeeTommy Lee Jones
Will Smith
Presenters of the award Best Documentary Short Subject, and Best Documentary Feature
Carrey, JimJim Carrey Presenter of the award for Best Visual Effects
O'Donnell, ChrisChris O'Donnell Presenter of the award for Best Sound
Kidman, NicoleNicole Kidman Presenter of the Best Film editing montage and dance number
Presenter of the award for Best Film Editing
Reynolds, DebbieDebbie Reynolds Presenter of the awards for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score
Hines, GregoryGregory Hines Presenter of the award for Best Original Dramatic Score
Close, GlennGlenn Close Presenter of the film Shine on the Best Picture segment
Introducer of the musical performance by David Helfgott
Robbins, TimTim Robbins Presenter of the award for Best Cinematography
Hayek, SalmaSalma Hayek Introducer of the performance of Best Song nominee "For the First Time"
Douglas, MichaelMichael Douglas Presenter of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to Saul Zaentz
Weaver, SigourneySigourney Weaver Presenter of the film The English Patient on the Best Picture segment
Thomas, Kristin ScottKristin Scott Thomas
Jack Valenti
Presenter of the award Best Foreign Language Film
Lopez, JenniferJennifer Lopez Introducer of the performance of Best Song nominee "Because You Loved Me"
Bassett, AngelaAngela Bassett Presenter of the In Memoriam tribute
Hawn, GoldieGoldie Hawn
Diane Keaton
Bette Midler
Presenters of the award for Best Original Song
Branagh, KennethKenneth Branagh Presenter of the "Shakespeare and the Movies" montage
Foster, JodieJodie Foster Presenter of the award for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay
MacDowell, AndieAndie MacDowell Presenter of the film Secrets and Lies on the Best Picture segment
Cage, NicolasNicolas Cage Presenter of the award for Best Actress
Sarandon, SusanSusan Sarandon Presenter of the award for Best Actor
Gibson, MelMel Gibson Presenter of the award for Best Director
Pacino, AlAl Pacino Presenter of the award for Best Picture


Name(s) Role Performed
Conti, BillBill Conti Musical Arranger
Crystal, BillyBilly Crystal Host Opening number
Secrets & Lies (to the tune of The Brady Bunch theme song)
The English Patient (to the tune of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" from My Fair Lady)
Jerry Maguire (to the tune of "Victory March")
Shine (to the tune of "Flight of the Bumblebee")
Fargo (to the tune of "My Kind of Town" from Robin and the 7 Hoods)[19]
Madonna Madonna Performer "You Must Love Me" from Evita
Wonders, TheThe Wonders Performers "That Thing You Do" from That Thing You Do
Dion, CelineCeline Dion Performer "I Finally Found Someone" from The Mirror Has Two Faces
Flatley, MichaelMichael Flatley
Cast of Lord of the Dance
Performers Best Film Editing montage
Helfgott, DavidDavid Helfgott Performer "Flight of the Bumblebee" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Loggins, KennyKenny Loggins Performer "For the First Time" from One Fine Day
Dion, CelineCeline Dion Performer "Because You Loved Me" from Up Close & Personal

Ceremony information

A picture of a man in his early sixties who is wearing a navy blue blazer and an unbuttoned light blue shirt.
Billy Crystal hosted the 69th Academy Awards.

After taking a year off, Gil Cates was selected by AMPAS in November 1996 to oversee production of the ceremony for the seventh time.[20] Immediately, he chose actor and comedian Billy Crystal to host the 1997 telecast, stating, "Billy is quick and agile and bright, and he plays the unexpected events of the live telecast like a Stradivarius. He's become the standard against which all other hosting performances are measured."[21] Crystal expressed his excitement on hosting the ceremony for the fifth time joking, "Once Barry Scheck turned it down, I had a feeling they'd come to me."[22] Furthermore he set up a website with the address www.whyistheshowsolong.com asking the public to send in jokes that would eventually be used during the gala.[23]

As with previous ceremonies he produced, Cates centered the show around a theme. This year, he christened the show with the theme "Togetherness of Moviegoing" commenting, "The thing that's kind of wonderful about movies is that you watch them with other people. The only other areas where you do that, when you think about it, are religion and sports." He concluded by noting that the movie theater is "a wonderful place where you come together to laugh, to cry."[24] In tandem with the theme, actress Winona Ryder presented a montage featuring film clips from Matinee, Casablanca, and A Streetcar Named Desire depicting audiences inside a movie theater.[25]

Several other people and elements were also involved with the production of the ceremony. Documentary filmmaker Arnold Schwartzman designed the official ceremony poster featuring the titles of the previous 68 Best Picture winners superimposed in the shape of an Oscar statuette.[26] Film composer and musician Bill Conti served as musical director of the ceremony.[27] Choreographer Otis Sallid supervised the "That Thing You Do" musical number.[28] Michael Flatley and the cast of the musical Lord of the Dance performed a dance number during a montage saluting the art of Film Editors.[29] Pianist David Helfgott, whom Best Actor winner Geoffrey Rush portrayed in the film Shine, played a rendition of "Flight of the Bumblebee" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov during the telecast.[30]

Natalie Cole was initially scheduled to sing the nominated song "I Finally Found Someone" from The Mirror Has Two Faces on the show after its songwriter and original performer Barbra Streisand declined to do so.[31][32] However, after Cole contracted the flu, she withdrew for her performance duties and was eventually replaced by Celine Dion who also sang "Because You Loved Me" later in the broadcast.[33][34]

Box office performance of nominees

At the time of the nominations announcement on February 11, the combined gross of the five Best Picture nominees at the US box office was $209 million, with an average of $41.9 million per film.[35] Jerry Maguire was the highest earner among the Best Picture nominees with $121.5 million in domestic box office receipts. The film was followed by The English Patient ($42.3 million), Shine ($16.1 million), Fargo ($24 million), and finally Secrets & Lies ($5.9 million).[35]

Of the top 50 grossing movies of the year, 37 nominations went to 17 films on the list. Only Jerry Maguire (9th), Primal Fear (27th), and The English Patient (35th) were nominated for directing, acting, screenwriting, or Best Picture.[36] The other top 50 box office hits that earned nominations were Independence Day (1st), Twister (2nd), The Rock (4th), The Nutty Professor (7th), The Birdcage (8th), Eraser (13th), The Hunchback of Norte Dame (14th), Star Trek: First Contact (15th), Sleepers (29th), Dragonheart (30th), The Preacher's Wife (32nd), Evita (36th), The Ghost and the Darkness (39th), and Daylight (48th).[36]

Critical reviews

The show received a mixed reception from media publications. Some media outlets were more critical of the show. Television critic Joanne Ostrow of The Denver Post commented "Billy Crystal had a smashing first 10 minutes at the Oscars last night," but she later went on to say that inevitable sweep by The English Patient created a dull atmosphere that even sucked the energy out of Crystal's performance.[37] Columnist Brian Lowry wrote in Los Angeles Times, "This year the mystery far outweighed the magic, in a telecast that proved less compelling--indeed, during stretches more downright dull--than recent predecessors." He also quipped that even though Crystal was mildly entertaining, some of his jokes "felt a bit forced and stale."[38] The Star-Ledger's Alan Sepinwall noted, "Crystal was a bundle of energy, but his jokes had less zing than in the past." He also observed that the Film Editing dance number and "That Thing You Do" musical performance were hideously bloated.[39]

Other media outlets received the broadcast more positively. Film critic Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, "Crystal sparkled as the host of the annual awards at the Shrine Auditorium." She also noted, "The mood of the evening was elegant and gracious."[40] Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Johnson commented, "Billy Crystal returned as host of the Academy Awards on Monday night and proved that even if mainline Hollywood is nearly shut out in the trophy dispensing, one of its representatives can at least make a television broadcast entertaining."[41] Television critic Kinney Littlefield of the Orange County Register quipped, "In his fifth stint as host, Crystal served up the sense of inclusive, insider movie community that had been missing during his three-year absence." In addition, she observed, "For most of the evening, Oscar seemed newly energized, upbeat and full of splashy fun."[42]

Ratings and reception

The American telecast on ABC drew in an average of 40.08 million people over its length, which was a 9% decrease from the previous year's ceremony.[43] An estimated 73.83 million total viewers watched all or part of the awards.[44] The show also drew lower Nielsen ratings compared to the previous ceremony with 27.49% of households watching over a 46.31 share.[45] In addition, it also drew a lower 18–49 demo rating with a 16.55 rating over a 34.32 share among viewers in that demographic.[45] It was the least watched ceremony in a decade and the lowest rated telecast since the 58th awards gala held in 1986.[46]

In July 1997, the ceremony presentation received seven nominations at the 49th Primetime Emmys.[47] Two months later, the ceremony won one of those nominations for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety or Music Series or Special (Edward J. Greene, Tom Vicari, Robert Douglass).[48]

In Memoriam

The annual In Memoriam tribute, presented by actress Angela Bassett, honored the following people:[49]

See also


  1. Richmond, Ray (March 24, 1997). "Review: 'The 69th Annual Academy Awards'". Variety. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  2. Williams, Jeannie (November 19, 1996). "Crystal takes on role of Oscar host again". USA Today.
  3. Hindes, Andrew (December 19, 1996). "Horvitz set to direct Oscar telecast". Variety. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  4. Sinclair, Tom (November 29, 1996). "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  5. "Past Scientific & Technical Awards Ceremonies". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on February 13, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  6. Bates, James (March 25, 1997). "An 'English' Epic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  7. Dudek, Duane (March 25, 1997). "Oscar night belongs to 'English Patient'". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  8. "Oscar watch". Variety. February 4, 1997. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  9. Dudek, Duane (February 12, 1997). "Oscar Declares Independent's Day 'English Patient' benefits as academy turns the spotlight on outsiders with artistic integrity". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. 8.
  10. Bates, James; Puig, Claudia (February 12, 1997). "Independents Day for Oscars". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  11. Gray, Tim (March 25, 1996). "`English' Channels 9 Oscars". Variety. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  12. Van Gelder, Lawrence (March 25, 1997). "'English Patient' Dominates Oscars With Nine, Including Best Picture". The New York Times. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  13. Saperstein, Pat; Natale, Richard (January 3, 2014). "Oscar-Winning Producer Saul Zaentz Dies at 92". Variety. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  14. 1 2 Hindes, Andrew (January 15, 1997). "Thalberg honor goes to Zaentz". Variety. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  15. 1 2 Bona 2002, p. 393
  16. "The 69th Academy Awards (1997) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  17. Hindes, Andrew (January 16, 1997). "Academy to honor Kidd". Variety. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  18. Bona 2002, p. 102
  19. Bona 2002, p. 109
  20. Bona 2002, p. 89
  21. Marcus, Errico (November 18, 1996). "Billy Crystal to Host Oscars...Again". E!. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  22. "Billy Crystal Back At Helm Of Oscars". Chicago Tribune. November 19, 1996. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  23. Snead, Elisabeth. "Crystal out to Net jokes for Oscar show". USA Today. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  24. Bowles, Jennifer (March 21, 1997). "Oscar show to celebrate communion of moviegoing". Deseret News. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  25. Bona 2002, p. 111
  26. Hindes, Andrew (December 10, 1996). "Acad bows poster for 69th Oscars". Variety. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  27. "Oscar Watch". Variety. January 12, 1997. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  28. Pond 2005, p. 156
  29. Bona 2002, p. 113
  30. Bona 2002, p. 114
  31. Marcano, Tony (March 24, 1997). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  32. Bona 2002, p. 96
  33. Bona 2002, p. 112
  34. Pond 2005, p. 157
  35. 1 2 "1996 Academy Award Nominations and Winner for Best Picture". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  36. 1 2 "1996 Domestic Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  37. Ostrow, Joanne (March 25, 1997). "Even Crystal Runs Out of Steam". The Denver Post.
  38. Lowry, Brian (March 25, 1997). "Fine Crystal Competes With a Lot of Dull Sheen". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  39. Sepinwall, Alan (March 25, 1997). "It was no Crystal ball as host came up flat after 3-year hiatus". The Star-Ledger. p. 6.
  40. Riceky, Carey (March 25, 1997). "9 Oscars For `English Patient' It Captured Best Picture And Director. Acting Honors Went To Frances Mcdormand And Geoffrey Rush". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. A1.
  41. Johnson, Steve (March 25, 1997). "The Broadcast". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  42. Littlefield, Kinney (March 25, 1997). "Host Billy Crystal makes Oscar classy and sassy again". Orange County Register. p. F4.
  43. Johnson, Greg (March 18, 1999). "Call It the Glamour Bowl". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  44. Lowry, Brian (March 26, 1997). "Bright Oscar Lights Shine in Cities, Not Elsewhere". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  45. 1 2 "Academy Awards ratings" (PDF). Television Bureau of Advertising. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  46. Pond 2005, p. 159
  47. "Primetime Emmy Award database". Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  48. Lowry, Brian (September 9, 1997). "NBC Takes Home 15 Emmys in Early Award Presentations". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  49. Bona 2002, p. 115


  • Bona, Damien (2002), Inside Oscar 2, New York, United States: Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-345-44970-3 
  • Pond, Steve (2005), The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards, New York, United States: Faber and Faber, ISBN 0-571-21193-3 

External links

Official websites
Other resources

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