|50th Academy Awards|
|Date||April 3, 1978|
|Site||Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|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|
|Duration||3 hours, 30 minutes|
31.1% (Nielsen ratings)
The 50th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored films released in 1977 and took place on April 3, 1978, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles beginning at 7:00 p.m. PST / 10:00 p.m. EST. During the ceremony, AMPAS presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 22 categories. The ceremony, televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Howard W. Koch and was directed by Marty Pasetta. Actor and comedian Bob Hope hosted for the nineteenth time. He first presided over the 12th ceremony held in 1940 and had last served as a co-host of the 47th ceremony held in 1975. Five days earlier, in a ceremony held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, on March 29, the Academy Scientific and Technical Awards were presented by hosts Kirk Douglas and Gregory Peck.
Annie Hall won four awards, including Best Picture. Other winners included Star Wars with six awards, Julia with three, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goodbye Girl, Gravity Is My Enemy, I'll Find a Way, A Little Night Music, Madame Rosa, The Sand Castle, Who Are the DeBolts? And Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids?, and You Light Up My Life with one.
The nominees for the 50th Academy Awards were announced on February 21, 1978. Julia and The Turning Point tied for the most nominations with eleven each. The winners were announced during the awards ceremony on April 3. Woody Allen became the first person to receive nominations for acting, directing, screenwriting for the same film since Orson Welles, who previously achieved this feat for 1941's Citizen Kane. With its 11 nominations and zero wins, The Turning Point became the most nominated film in Oscar history without a win, a record that still stands (tied by The Color Purple in 1985). Close Encounters of the Third Kind is tied with They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and The Poseidon Adventure for the most nominations for a film that was not nominated for Best Picture.
This event marked the second time that three films received 10 or more nominations: Julia and The Turning Point both received 11 nominations each, while Star Wars received 10.
Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface and indicated with a double dagger (‡).
|Best Picture||Best Director|
|Best Actor||Best Actress|
|Best Supporting Actor||Best Supporting Actress|
|Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen Based on Factual Material or on Story Material Not Previously Published or Produced||Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium|
|Best Foreign Language Film||Best Documentary Feature|
|Best Documentary Short Subject||Best Live Action Short Film|
|Best Animated Short Film||Best Original Score|
|Best Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Adaptation Score||Best Original Song|
|Best Sound||Best Costume Design|
|Best Art Direction||Best Cinematography|
|Best Film Editing||Best Visual Effects|
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.
During the ceremony, Vanessa Redgrave won the Best Supporting Actress award for Julia (1977). Her nomination drew a lot of attention and backlash even prior to the ceremony, as in 1977 she had also produced and appeared in the film The Palestinian, which followed the activities of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Lebanon, an organization that at the time was defined as a terrorist organization by Israel due to its responsibility for the deaths of thousands of civilians. The film was criticized by many Jewish groups for its perceived anti-Israel slant, and members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) picketed Redgrave's nomination outside the Academy Awards ceremony while counter-protestors waved PLO flags. Redgrave won the Oscar and made the following acceptance speech:
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, 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" 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]
The following individuals, listed in order of appearance, presented awards or performed musical numbers.
|Hank Simms||Announcer for the 50th annual Academy Awards|
|Howard W. Koch (AMPAS President)||Gave opening remarks welcoming guests to the awards ceremony|
|Explained the voting rules to the public|
|John Travolta||Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actress|
|Presenters of the Special Achievement Award|
|Presentations of the Short Films Awards|
|Presenters of the Best Sound|
|Joan Fontaine||Presenter of the award for Best Visual Effects|
|Presenters of the Documentary Awards|
|Billy Dee Williams||Presenter of the Scientific & Technical Awards|
|Presenters of the award of Best Art Direction|
|Eva Marie Saint
|Presenters of the award for Best Foreign Language Film|
|Presenters of the award for Best Supporting Actor|
|Natalie Wood||Presenter of the award for Best Costume Design|
|Presenters of the Music Awards|
|Presenters of the award for Best Cinematography|
|Bette Davis||Presenter of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Charlton Heston|
|Olivia de Havilland||Presenter of the Honorary Award to Margaret Booth|
|Presenters of the award for Best Film Editing|
|Fred Astaire||Presenter of the award for Best Original Song|
|Presenters of the award for Best Director|
|Paddy Chayefsky||Presenter of the awards for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen Based on Factual Material or on Story Material Not Previously Published or Produced and Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium|
|Presenters of the award for Best Actress|
|Sylvester Stallone||Presenter of the award for Best Actor|
|Stanley Kramer||Presenter of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to Walter Mirisch|
|Jack Nicholson||Presenter of the award for Best Picture|
|Nelson Riddle||Musical arranger and conductor||Orchestral|
|Debbie Reynolds||Performer||"Look How Far We've Come"|
|Debby Boone||Performer||"You Light Up My Life" from You Light Up My Life|
|Gloria Loring||Performer||"Candle on the Water" from Pete's Dragon and "Someone's Waiting for You" from The Rescuers|
|Sammy Davis Jr.
|Performers||"Come Light the Candles"|
|Aretha Franklin||Performer||"Nobody Does It Better" from The Spy Who Loved Me|
|Jane Powell||Performer||"The Slipper and the Rose Waltz (He Danced with Me)" from The Slipper and the Rose|
|Academy Awards Chorus||Performers||"That's Entertainment"|
These films had multiple nominations:
The following films received multiple awards.
Sammy Davis Jr. and Marvin Hamlisch performed "Come Light the Candles" in tribute to: