50th Academy Awards
Official poster promoting the 50th Academy Awards in 1978.
Official poster
DateApril 3, 1978
SiteDorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Hosted byBob Hope
Produced byHoward W. Koch
Directed byMarty Pasetta
Best PictureAnnie Hall
Most awardsStar Wars (6)
Most nominationsJulia, Star Wars & The Turning Point (11)
TV in the United States
Duration2 hours, 55 minutes[1]
Ratings48.5 million
36.3% (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. 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.[2] Actor and comedian Bob Hope hosted the show for the 19th time.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

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 telecast garnered 48.5 million viewers in the United States.

Winners and nominees

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.[6] The winners were announced during the awards ceremony on April 3. Woody Allen became the first person to receive nominations for acting, directing, and screenwriting for the same film since Orson Welles, who previously achieved this feat for 1941's Citizen Kane.[7] With its 11 nominations and zero wins, The Turning Point was the most nominated film in Oscar history without a win.[a] By virtue of her win for her role as the titular character in Julia, Vanessa Redgrave became the first and only performer to win in a supporting acting category for playing a titular role.[9]


Photo of Woody Allen in 2006
Woody Allen, Best Director winner and Best Original Screenplay co-winner
Photo of Richard Dreyfuss in 1997
Richard Dreyfuss, Best Actor winner
Photo of Diane Keaton in 2006
Diane Keaton, Best Actress winner
Photo of Jason Robards in 1975
Jason Robards, Best Supporting Actor winner
Photo of Vanessa Redgrave in 2011
Vanessa Redgrave, Best Supporting Actress winner
Photo of John Williams in 2007
John Williams, Best Original Score winner
Photo of Vilmos Zsigmond in 2008
Vilmos Zsigmond, Best Cinematography winner
Photo of Richard Chew in 2006
Richard Chew, Best Film Editing co-winner
Photo of Richard Edlund in 2008
Richard Edlund, Best Visual Effects co-winner

Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface and indicated with a double dagger (‡).[10]

Academy Honorary Awards

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

The award recognizes individuals whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the motion picture industry.[12]

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

The award honors "creative producers whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production".[13]

Special Achievement Awards

Multiple nominations and awards

Presenters and performers

The following individuals (in order of appearance) presented awards or performed musical numbers:[14]


Name Role
Hank Simms[15] Announcer of the 50th Academy Awards
Howard W. Koch (AMPAS President) Gave opening remarks welcoming guests to the awards ceremony
Bette Davis
Gregory Peck
Explained the voting rules to the public
John Travolta Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actress
Mark Hamill
Presenters of the Special Achievement Award
Jodie Foster
Mickey Mouse
Paul Williams
Presenters of the awards for Best Animated Short Film and Best Live Action Short Film
William Holden
Barbara Stanwyck
Presenters of the Best Sound
Joan Fontaine Presenter of the award for Best Visual Effects
Kirk Douglas
Raquel Welch
Presenters of the awards for Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short Subject
Billy Dee Williams Presenter of the segment of the Academy Scientific and Technical Awards
Greer Garson
Henry Winkler
Presenters of the award of Best Art Direction
Eva Marie Saint
Jack Valenti
Presenters of the award for Best Foreign Language Film
Michael Caine
Maggie Smith
Presenters of the award for Best Supporting Actor
Natalie Wood Presenter of the award for Best Costume Design
Johnny Green
Henry Mancini
Olivia Newton-John
Presenters of the awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Adaptation Score
Goldie Hawn
Jon Voight
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
Farrah Fawcett
Marcello Mastroianni
Presenters of the award for Best Film Editing
Fred Astaire Presenter of the award for Best Original Song
Cicely Tyson
King Vidor
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
Janet Gaynor
Walter Matthau
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


Performer Role Performed
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.
Marvin Hamlisch
Performers "Come Light the Candles" during a tribute honoring Richard Carlson, Zero Mostel, Peter Finch, Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Groucho Marx, and Charlie Chaplin[16]
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"

Ceremony information

Bob Hope in 1969
Bob Hope hosted the 50th Academy Awards.

In December 1977, the Academy announced that actor and comedian Bob Hope was chosen to host the 1978 ceremony. As a result of his selection, he became the first person to emcee the Oscars gala solo since the 40th ceremony held in 1968. Oscars gala producer Howard W. Koch explained his decision to hire Hope as host, stating, "The multiple emcee system of recent years is a good one, but we decided this year's show called for a single master of ceremonies. And we couldn't think of anyone better suited for the role than Bob Hope."[17]

In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Academy and the Oscars, AMPAS hosted a dinner reception at the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel on May 11, 1977. The gala, which Hope also hosted, took place in the same spot as the organization's first meeting, exactly 50 years later.[18] ABC also aired specials prior to the ceremony, highlighting the history of the awards.[19]

Vanessa Redgrave's speech

Prior to the ceremony, Vanessa Redgrave's Best Supporting Actress nomination was met with controversy due to her recent involvement with The Palestinian, a documentary chronicling the activities of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).[20] The film garnered controversy from several Jewish groups for its anti-Israel commentary.[21] Outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on the day of the ceremony, Jewish Defense League protestors burned a statue of the actress, while counter-protestors waved Palestinian flags.[22] After paying tribute to writer Lillian Hellman and the titular character of Julia for which she won the Best Supporting Actress award, Redgrave remarked in her acceptance speech, "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." She concluded her speech stating, "I salute you and I thank you and I pledge to you that I will continue to fight against Antisemitism and fascism." The comments received both applause and booing amongst the audience.[23] Later during the ceremony, screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky prefaced his presentation of the screenplay awards, saying, "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’ve sufficed."[22]

Critical reviews

Los Angeles Times film critic Charles Champlin wrote, "The Oscar show as a show had more of what it has recently been short of, which is the presence of authentic film stars. It had refreshingly less of what it has sometimes had too much of, which is awkward and underrehearsed cross-talk."[24] Columnist Aaron Gold of the Chicago Tribune remarked, "Howard Koch and Allan Carr deserve Oscars for the work they did in creating an exciting and glamorous show, as they promised. Master of ceremonies Bob Hope... brought the air of dignity and continuity to the show that it lacked last year."[25] The News & Observer entertainment columnist commented, "If the evening was never as nimble as a dance by Fred Astaire, it was jam-packed with nostalgia, suspense, laughter, a few tears, and production numbers as striking as anything in Oscar's history."[1]

John Huddy of the Miami Herald observed, "The Redgrave-Chayevsky exchange enlivened a long Oscar night in which there were too many silly songs, too many special awards that nobody gave a hoot about, and too many dreary acceptance speeches by obscure if talented short-subject makers."[26] The Arizona Republic columnist Mike Petryni wrote, "Produced this year by Howard Koch, who incidentally co-wrote Casablanca, the show seemed, as usual, rather dull, draggy and sluggish.[27]

Ratings and reception

The American telecast on ABC drew in an average of 48.5 million people over the length of the entire ceremony, which was a 22% increase from the previous year's ceremony.[28] Moreover, the show drew higher Nielsen ratings compared to the previous ceremony, with 36.3% of households watching with a 68% share.[29] Additionally, the ceremony presentation received five nominations at the 30th Primetime Emmys, but failed to win any of its nominations.[30]

See also


  1. ^ The Color Purple later equaled this record with 11 nominations and no wins, in 1986.[8]


  1. ^ a b Morrison, Williams (April 5, 1978). "Worm-Like Golden Oscar Finally Turns". The News & Observer. p. 10.
  2. ^ Osborne 2013, p. 413
  3. ^ Lang, Derek J. (November 11, 2011). "Billy Crystal Returning to Host the Oscars". NBC News. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  4. ^ Dorsey, Tom (April 3, 1978). "Oscar: The Story". Courier Journal. p. C1.
  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. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (February 22, 1978). "Woody Allen Is Up For Three Oscars". The New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  7. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 1126
  8. ^ Holden 1993, p. 252
  9. ^ Osborne 2013, p. 242
  10. ^ "The 50th Academy Awards (1978) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  11. ^ a b c d e Franks 2005, p. 246
  12. ^ "Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  13. ^ "Irvin G. Thalberg Memorial Award". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on January 1, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  14. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 547
  15. ^ Terrance 2013, p. 14
  16. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 548
  17. ^ "Bob Hope to Do Oscars Alone". The Philadelphia Inquirer. December 11, 1977. p. 24-F.
  18. ^ Kilday, Gregg (May 13, 1977). "Motion Picture Academy Fete". Los Angeles Times. p. 94.
  19. ^ Osborne 2013, p. 202, 204
  20. ^ "Oscar Protest". The Guardian. March 18, 1978. p. 6.
  21. ^ Multiple sources:
  22. ^ a b Fretts, Bruce (January 11, 2019). "Oscars Rewind: The Most Political Ceremony in Academy History". The New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2023.
  23. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 550
  24. ^ Champlin, Charles (April 5, 1978). "Redgrave's Rhetoric Not a Factor in Voting". Los Angeles Times. p. 87.
  25. ^ Gold, Aaron (April 5, 1978). "Tower Ticker". Chicago Tribune. p. 19.
  26. ^ Huddy, John (April 5, 1978). "The Redgrave Flap Gave the Oscars Sizzle". Miami Herald. p. 9-B.
  27. ^ Petryni, Mike (April 4, 1978). "Awards Show Gets No Oscar". The Arizona Republic. p. B-11.
  28. ^ "Top-10 Most-Watched Academy Awards Broadcasts". Nielsen Media Research. Retrieved March 23, 2023.
  29. ^ "50th Anniversary Oscar Show Leads the Nielsen Ratings". Los Angeles Times. April 12, 1978. p. 83.
  30. ^ "50th Annual Awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved March 23, 2020.


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