41st Academy Awards
DateApril 14, 1969
SiteDorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles
Produced byGower Champion
Directed byGower Champion
Best PictureOliver!
Most awardsOliver! (5)
Most nominationsOliver! (11)
TV in the United States

The 41st Academy Awards were presented on April 14, 1969, to honor the films of 1968. They were the first Oscars to be staged at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles,[1] and the first with no host since the 20th Academy Awards.[2]

Oliver! became the only Best Picture winner to have received a G-rating prior to winning, the ratings system having replaced the old Hays Code on November 1, 1968 (though a number of Best Picture winners have received the rating retroactively). It was the last British film to win Best Picture until Chariots of Fire in 1981, and the last musical to win until Chicago in 2002.

The year was notable for the first—and so far, only—tie for Best Actress: Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand shared the award, for their performances in The Lion in Winter and Funny Girl, respectively.[3] Hepburn became the second actress and third performer to win an acting Oscar two years in a row (having won for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner the previous year), after Luise Rainer in 1936 (The Great Ziegfeld) and 1937 (The Good Earth), and Spencer Tracy in 1937 (Captains Courageous) and 1938 (Boys Town). She also became the first to win three acting Oscars in lead categories (an achievement later matched by Daniel Day-Lewis and Frances McDormand).

Stanley Kubrick received his only career Oscar this year, for Best Visual Effects as special effects director and designer for 2001: A Space Odyssey.[4]

Cliff Robertson's performance in Charly, which had received a mixed-to-negative reception from critics and audiences, engendered controversy when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Less than two weeks after the ceremony, TIME mentioned the Academy's generalized concerns over "excessive and vulgar solicitation of votes" and said "many members agreed that Robertson's award was based more on promotion than on performance."[5]

A few people griped over the failure of Paul Newman to get an Academy Award nomination for his direction of the film Rachel, Rachel, despite him receiving a Best Director award from the New York Film Critics Circle.[6]

Also notable this year was the only instance to date of the Academy revoking an Oscar after the ceremony: Young Americans won the award for Best Documentary Feature Film, but on May 7, 1969, it was discovered that it had premiered in October 1967, thus making it ineligible. Journey into Self, the first runner-up, was awarded the Oscar the following day.[7][8]

A minor controversy was created when, in a sketch on The Tonight Show, which was recorded three hours before the awards ceremony, Johnny Carson and Buddy Hackett announced Oliver! as the winner for Best Picture and Jack Albertson as Best Supporting Actor.[9] Columnist Frances Drake claimed that most observers believed Carson and Hackett "were playing a huge practical joke or happened to make a lucky guess".[10] Referring to it as "The Great Carson Hoax", PricewaterhouseCoopers stated in a 2004 press release that it was "later proven that Carson and Hackett made a few lucky guesses for their routine, dispelling rumors of a security breach and keeping the integrity of the balloting process intact".[11] Carson would go on to host the ceremony five times.[2]

The televised ceremony

On the day after the broadcast, the live ABC television audience was estimated at 60 million in the United States.[12] It was the first Oscars to be widely telecast throughout the world – live in the United States, Canada and Mexico,[13] and licensed for delayed broadcast[a] in at least 30 other countries.[b][c]

The show opened outdoors at night in downtown Los Angeles. English actors Ron Moody and sixteen-year-old Jack Wild were in character as Fagin and the Artful Dodger, from Best Picture nominee Oliver!. Fagin assured Dodger that if they didn’t win the golden statuette, they would “pinch it.”[14][15]

The president of the Academy, Gregory Peck, taped a pre-recorded opening[d] in the empty lobby of the new venue, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.[16] Peck introduced Ingrid Bergman, the first of ten "friends of Oscar."[12] Each actor presented the next in turn, with Jane Fonda introducing Frank Sinatra as “Nancy Sinatra’s dad.” Sinatra responded by thanking “Henry Fonda Junior.” [15] Tony Curtis was a last-minute replacement for Warren Beatty, who had the mumps.[14][17]

Jack Albertson was presented with the first award of the night – Best Supporting Actor. Albertson got choked up thanking Frank D. Gilroy, the screenwriter of his film The Subject Was Roses, which was based on Gilroy’s 1964 award winning play.[18]

The teleprompter was not yet invented, so the presenters read off of handwritten cue cards.[19] During the Best Original Screenplay presentation (which was won by Mel Brooks for The Producers), comedian Don Rickles carried a cue card up to Frank Sinatra at the podium.[20]

A surprise "friend of Oscar" was revealed by Walter Matthau; a little monkey dressed in a tux brought John Chambers the statuette for special achievement in makeup for Planet of the Apes.[12] [21]

Ten-year-old Mark Lester, who portrayed the title role of Oliver!, handed an honorary Oscar to the musical’s Canadian choreographer, Onna White.[22]

Towards the end of the ceremony, Bob Hope presented an emotional Martha Raye with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.[e] Hope, the host of seventeen previous Oscar shows,[2] quipped “I finally made it,” adding that he had been waiting at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, the Oscar home from 1961 to 1968.[17][23]

Hope later observed that “Oscar is more naked than usual…They’re doing things on the screen today I wouldn’t do in bed, even if I had the chance.”[24]

Ruth Gordon won Best Supporting Actress as the nosy neighbour in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby.[12] The 72-year-old actress exclaimed, “I can’t tell you how encouraging a thing like this is!" In closing Gordon said, "thank all of you who voted for me, and all of you who didn’t – please excuse me.”[25][26]

The director and choreographer Gower Champion wanted the show to appeal to a younger audience.[14] [16] He relaxed the dress code from white tie and tails to black tie and tuxedos.[27] He reduced the show’s length to two hours, partly by easing access to the stage with a wide center ramp over the orchestra pit.[17] The brevity of several speeches also contributed to the overall running time.[12] [28][29]

Champion also targeted the youth market "with a little help from" Jane Fonda’s friends, The Soul Rascals.[f] The rock group played cover songs to choreographed dancers decked out in each of the Best Costume designs. Danilo Donati, the costume designer for Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet, was not present, so Fonda handed the Oscar to the dancers portraying the star-crossed lovers as a “symbolic” gesture.[30] [31][32]

Throughout the ceremony Champion introduced rear-screen projection of photos and film excerpts onto five movable screens that filled the stage.[14][33][34]

This rear projection was used to set-up the Best Actress category. A "choreographed" photo montage of Katharine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter, Patricia Neal in The Subject Was Roses, Vanessa Redgrave[g] in Isadora, Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl and Joanne Woodward in Rachel, Rachel, was displayed on the massive screens. The orchestra, conducted by music director Henry Mancini,[35][36] played an instrumental arrangement of Lew Spence and Alan Bergman’s 1957 song "That Face."[37][h]

Announcing the best actress winners, Ingrid Bergman gasped “It’s a tie!”[37] According to an Academy spokesperson in 1969, the actual vote count by the 3,030 eligible Academy members was "never divulged."[12][i]

Katharine Hepburn was not in attendance, so 38-year-old Anthony Harvey, the English director of The Lion in Winter, accepted on her behalf.[38]

Twenty-six year old Barbra Streisand briefly tripped, stepping on the bell-bottomed leg of her Arnold Scaasi-designed pantsuit, en route to the stage.[25][39][40] Streisand was subsequently shocked to discover the Scaasi suit appeared transparent under the bright stage lights and still photographers’ flashes.[38][39][41]

Looking down at her Oscar, Streisand recited “Hello, gorgeous!” – her opening line from Funny Girl.[14] She acknowledged the honor of “being in such magnificent company as Katharine Hepburn.”[27]

Sidney Poitier had the distinction of presenting Best Picture, the final award of the night, declaring that “1968 was really a vintage year for motion pictures.”[42]

Later that night at the Governor’s Ball held in the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the show’s producer, director and choreographer Gower Champion[34] was applauded for his achievement.[43] The show earned mostly favourable reviews for its informality, look and pace, but some critics lamented the lack of glamour of previous Oscar nights.[16][30][33][38][43][44][j]

Winners and nominees

Cliff Robertson, Best Actor winner
Katharine Hepburn, Best Actress co-winner
Barbra Streisand, Best Actress co-winner
Jack Albertson, Best Supporting Actor winner
Ruth Gordon, Best Supporting Actress winner
Mel Brooks, Best Original Screenplay winner
Walt Disney, Best Animated Short Film winner
John Barry, Best Original Score (Not a Musical) winner
Michel Legrand, Best Original Song co-winner
Stanley Kubrick, Best Visual Effects winner

Nominees were announced on February 24, 1969. Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface and indicated with a double dagger (‡).[45][3]

Best Picture Best Director
Best Actor Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor Best Supporting Actress
Best Story and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Best Documentary Feature Best Documentary Short Subject
Best Live Action Short Subject Best Short Subject – Cartoons
Best Original Score for a Motion Picture (Not a Musical) Best Score of a Musical Picture – Original or Adaptation
Best Song Original for the Picture Best Sound
Best Foreign Language Film Best Costume Design
Best Art Direction Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing Best Special Visual Effects

Multiple nominations and awards

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

Martha Raye

Honorary Awards



See also


  1. ^ As per the Academy Report Volume 12 Number 2, December 1969 from the Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections at Oscars.org, "The broadcast was presented abroad in an abbreviated, one-hour form on a trial basis."
  2. ^ As of publication prior to the April 14, 1969 broadcast, the 30 countries were: "United Kingdom, Australia, Korea, Venezuela, Argentina, Austria, Greece, Holland, Finland, Italy, New Zealand, Uruguay, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, San Salvador, Honduras, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines" as per the Academy Report, Volume 12 Number 1, April 1969 from the Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections at Oscars.org. But the article noted that "several other countries may soon be added to the roster."
  3. ^ As per the Academy Museum website: the 1969 "awards ceremony is broadcast to 37 countries in a 56-minute 'capsule' version, making the telecast available to hundreds of millions of viewers around the world."
  4. ^ The stage manager Selig Frank's 41st Academy Awards 1969 production binder script on eBay has handwritten notes indicating that both the opening Oliver! skit and Gregory Peck's intro were "pre-taped".
  5. ^ As per the Academy Report, Volume 12 Number 2, December 1969, Raye was the first woman to win the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
  6. ^ Jane Fonda's scripted line in the show production script was "with a little help from my friends, The Soul Rascals."
  7. ^ Best Actress nominee, Vanessa Redgrave was pregnant and attended the awards ceremony with actor Franco Nero, the father, as per this photo from the Academy Awards show photographs, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  8. ^ In the show production script this segment is described as a "choreographed montage of slides of the five nominees for best actress projected on the screens onstage, underscored as a cinematic ballet." Ingrid Bergman enters to podium left and says, "There they are...the best actresses of 1968."
  9. ^ As per the Turner Classic Movies Funny Girl trivia article on its website, "The accounting firm of Price Waterhouse confirmed that they counted and re-counted the votes, and it was an exact tie."
  10. ^ The show was written by Tom Waldman and his brother Frank Waldman as per the article "Champion Completes Production Staff; Show Plans on Schedule" in the Academy Report in the Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collection at Oscars.org


  1. ^ Champlin, Charles (April 15, 1969). "Streisand and Hepburn Tie; Robertson Voted Best Actor". Los Angeles Times. p. 1.
  2. ^ a b c "Every Oscar Host in History: See the Full List From Douglas Fairbanks to Jimmy Kimmel". Oscars.org. January 22, 2024. Archived from the original on May 27, 2024. Retrieved May 27, 2024.
  3. ^ a b "The 41st Academy Awards (1969) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  4. ^ Internet Movie Database. "Awards for Stanley Kubrick". IMDb. Archived from the original on January 7, 2009. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
  5. ^ "The Trade: Grand Illusion". TIME. April 25, 1969. Archived from the original on September 14, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  6. ^ Wallechinsky, David; Wallace, Irving (1975). The People's Almanac. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc. p. 845. ISBN 0-385-04060-1.
  7. ^ Breznican, Anthony (January 29, 2014). "'Alone Yet Not Alone': The OTHER Oscar nominees who lost their bids". Entertainment Weekly.
  8. ^ "'Journey Into Self' Wins Oscar After Ineligibility Ruling". Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections. Oscars.org. Archived from the original on June 26, 2024.
  9. ^ "Carson Names 'Oliver!' Long Before It's Official". New York Times. April 15, 1969. p. 40.
  10. ^ "Hackett, Carson On Inside Track?". Galveston Daily News. April 21, 1969. p. 7. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  11. ^ "PricewaterhouseCoopers Celebrates 70th Anniversary Managing Academy Awards(R) Balloting". February 12, 2004. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  12. ^ a b c d e f "Hepburn and Streisand Share Top Oscars". New York Times. April 15, 1969. p. 40. Retrieved June 25, 2024.((cite news)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "32 Countries will Telecast Oscar Show". Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections. Oscars.org. April 1, 1969. pp. 1–2. Archived from the original on June 25, 2024.
  14. ^ a b c d e Purdum, Todd S (February 21, 2009). "The 1969 Academy Awards Captured a Shifting Moment in Movie History". The Atlantic.
  15. ^ a b "The Opening of the Academy Awards: 1969 Oscars". Youtube. February 4, 2016. Retrieved May 24, 2024 – via Oscars.org.
  16. ^ a b c Schulman, Michael (January 10, 2023). "How the Oscars Got Groovy - The unlikely alliance that rescued the Academy Awards". The New Yorker.
  17. ^ a b c Warga, Wayne (April 15, 1969). "Old Excitement Lives as Oscar Finds New Home". Los Angeles Times. p. 29.
  18. ^ "Jack Albertson Wins Supporting Actor: 1969 Oscars". Youtube. May 29, 2024. Retrieved May 29, 2024 – via Oscars.org.
  19. ^ "Frank Sinatra onstage at the 41st Academy Awards Ceremony". Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections. Oscars.org. Archived from the original on July 2, 2024.
  20. ^ "Mel Brooks Wins Original Screenplay: 1969 Oscars". Youtube. May 24, 2024. Retrieved May 24, 2024 – via Oscars.org.
  21. ^ "John Chambers Receives an Honorary Award: 1969 Oscars". Youtube. May 24, 2024. Retrieved May 24, 2024 – via Oscars.org.
  22. ^ "Onna White Receives an Honorary Award: 1969 Oscars". Youtube. May 24, 2024. Retrieved May 24, 2024 – via Oscars.org.
  23. ^ Lenker, Maureen Lee (March 18, 2021). "All the locations the Oscars have called home". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on May 27, 2024.
  24. ^ "Martha Raye Receives the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: 1969 Oscars". Youtube. May 24, 2024. Retrieved May 24, 2024 – via Oscars.org.
  25. ^ a b Skolsky, Sidney (April 15, 1969). "Quake – And a Kiss!". Hollywood Citizen-News. p. 5 Academy Awards Section.
  26. ^ "Ruth Gordon Wins Supporting Actress: 1969 Oscars". Youtube. May 24, 2024. Retrieved May 24, 2024 – via Oscars.org.
  27. ^ a b Scott, Vernon (April 15, 1969). "Katie, Barbra Tie in Rare Oscar Vote". Philadelphia Daily News. p. 56.
  28. ^ Scott, Vernon (April 15, 1969). "Katharine and Barbra Tie; Robertson 'Best Actor'". Pittsburgh Press. p. 15.
  29. ^ "Oliver! Wins Art Direction: 1969 Oscars". YouTube. May 30, 2024 – via Oscars.org.
  30. ^ a b Gerstel, Judith (April 15, 1969). "Aging Oscar show goes teeny-bopper". Minneapolis Star. p. 9.
  31. ^ Aghayan, Ray (April 15, 1969). "Oscar Style Expert Tells Aims". Hollywood Citizen-News. p. 10 Academy Awards Section.
  32. ^ Vary, Adam B (February 28, 2014). "The Best Worst Moment in Oscar History". BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on May 25, 2024. Retrieved May 25, 2024.
  33. ^ a b Allen, Rich (April 15, 1969). "Oscar TV Show Missed Bob Hope". Hollywood Citizen-News. p. 12 Academy Awards Section.
  34. ^ a b "Academy Award Night Monday With Stars Galore On CBC - TV". Winnipeg Free Press. April 12, 1969. p. 152.
  35. ^ "41st Annual Academy Awards Program '69 (with Mancini listed as Music Director)". Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections. Oscars.org. Archived from the original on July 2, 2024.
  36. ^ "Champion Completes Production Staff; Show Plans on Schedule". Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collection. Oscars.org. Archived from the original on June 25, 2024.
  37. ^ a b "Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand Tie for Best Actress: 1969 Oscars". Youtube. October 26, 2010. Retrieved May 24, 2024 – via Oscars.org.
  38. ^ a b c Warga, Wayne (April 15, 1969). "Old Excitement Lives as Oscar Finds New Home". Los Angeles Times. p. 3.
  39. ^ a b Streisand, Barbra (2023). My Name is Barbra Chapter 15, Hello, Gorgeous. Viking an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. pp. 314–315. ISBN 9780698405257.
  40. ^ Graham, Sheilah (April 15, 1969). "Oscar's Love – 'Tis Capricious". Hollywood Citizen-News. p. 9 Academy Awards Section.
  41. ^ Gray, Renée Nicole (November 22, 2023). "1969 Academy Awards in Arnold Scaasi". Streisand Style Files. Archived from the original on May 27, 2024. Retrieved May 27, 2024.
  42. ^ "Oliver! And Carol Reed Win Best Picture and Directing: 1969 Oscars". Youtube. May 24, 2024. Retrieved May 24, 2024 – via Oscars.org.
  43. ^ a b Greenberg, Abe (April 15, 1969). "Best Actress Tie Brings Gasps". Hollywood Citizen-News. p. 2 Academy Awards Section.
  44. ^ Champlin, Charles (April 15, 1969). "Top Oscars Won by 'Oliver!', Robertson, Streisand, Hepburn". Los Angeles Times. pp. 1, 3.
  45. ^ "The Official Academy Awards Database". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Select "1968" in the "Award Year(s)" drop-down menu and press "Search".
  46. ^ Jim Fanning. "All Facts, No Fluff And Stuff". Archived from the original on March 6, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2012.