50th Academy Awards

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.

50th Academy Awards
50th Academy Awards.jpg
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 and The Turning Point (11)
TV in the United States
Duration3 hours, 30 minutes
Ratings39.73 million
31.1% (Nielsen ratings)[1]

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 2018.

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

This event marked the second of three times that more than two films had received ten or more nominations (after the 37th and before the 92nd Academy Awards).

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 and Best Original Screenplay co-winner
Richard Dreyfuss, Best Actor winner
Diane Keaton, Best Actress winner
Jason Robards, Best Supporting Actor winner
Vanessa Redgrave, Best Supporting Actress winner
John Williams, Best Original Score winner
Vilmos Zsigmond, Best Cinematography winner
Richard Chew, Best Film Editing co-winner
Richard Edlund, Best Visual Effects co-winner

Nominations were announced on February 21, 1978. Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface and indicated with a double dagger ( ).[2]

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

Academy Honorary AwardsEdit

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian AwardEdit

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial AwardEdit

Special Achievement AwardsEdit


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 speechEdit

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,[4] 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,[5] 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"[5] 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 performersEdit

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


Name Role
Hank Simms Announcer for the 50th annual 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
Presentations of the Short Subjects Awards
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 Documentary Awards
Billy Dee Williams Presenter of the Scientific & 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 Music Awards
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 Original and Adapted Screenplay
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"
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"

Multiple nominations and awardsEdit


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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bialik, Carl (February 26, 2008). "And the Oscar Goes to... Fewer TV Viewers". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on April 4, 2008.
  2. ^ "The 50th Academy Awards (1978) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  3. ^ Crouse, Richard (October 22, 2005). Reel Winners: Movie Award Trivia. Dundurn. pp. 138–139. ISBN 9781770701991. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  4. ^ King, Susan (February 6, 2016), "A brief history of Academy Awards controversies (no, #OscarsSoWhite is not the first)", Los Angeles Times
  5. ^ a b John Bradey, "The craft of the screenwriter", 1981. Page 57

External linksEdit