Five of the Most Memorable Oscar Moments from the 1980s

ABSTRACT: Over the years, the Academy Awards has seen its share of controversial moments, surprise winners, touching tributes, and dominant movies. Here are five of the most memorable moments from the 1980s Academy Awards presentations.

81st Annual Academy Awards (1)
Many Americans fondly recall the decade of the 1980s. They think back on the endless hours they spent in the video arcades and remember dancing in their rooms to musicians like Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Def Leppard. They cried when the space shuttle Challenger exploded and cheered when rescuers freed "Baby Jessica" from a well. A large number of Americans probably also remember waiting anxiously each year for the Academy Awards to air on television. When the day finally arrived, they would gather with friends and family to watch The Oscars.

Here are five of the Academy Awards' most memorable moments from the 1980s.

"Ordinary People" Pulls Off the Upset (1981)

Many experts consider "Raging Bull" to be one of the best movies ever made. Most critics, at least the ones that count, would not even place "Ordinary People" in their top 100. That situation was as true in the 1980s as it is today. So, you can imagine their shock when "Ordinary People" won the Best Picture Oscar during the 1981 Academy Awards. Perhaps the Academy voters did not read the movie reviews.

Henry Fonda Finally Wins a Competitive Oscar (1982)

Henry Fonda was an excellent actor who played memorable roles in such classics as "Twelve Angry Men" and "The Grapes of Wrath." However, despite his long and distinguished Hollywood career, Fonda did not win an Oscar until 1981, when the Academy presented him with a statuette in honor of his lifetime accomplishments. Many Americans probably figured that Fonda, who was 76 at the time, would never win a competitive Oscar. He proved the naysayers wrong when he won the Best Actor Oscar the next year for his performance in "On Golden Pond." Sadly, Fonda was too sick by that time to accept the award in person and would die a short time later.

Sally Field's Emotional Speech (1985)

Viewers who tuned in to watch the Academy Awards on March 25, 1985 expected to hear some emotional comments from the winners. Nonetheless, they were probably surprised by Sally Field's heartfelt speech after winning a Best Actress Oscar for her role in "Places in the Heart." Field emphatically declared that the win demonstrated that the Academy respected her, and ended her speech with the oft quoted phrase (or shout), "You like me. Right now, you like me!"

"The Color Purple" Comes Up Empty (1986)

The cast and crew of "The Color Purple" were probably feeling good coming into the 1986 Academy Awards. After all, their movie had received 11 Oscar nominations. Their mood likely soured quickly, as the movie failed to win even one statuette. "The Color Purple" tied a dubious record for most nominations without an Academy Award. Only one other film, "The Turning Point," had ever achieved that level of Oscar futility.

Matlin Achieves Two Milestones (1987)

At the 1987 Academy Awards, Marlee Matlin won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in "Children of a Lesser God." Matlin achieved two milestones with the win. She became the youngest person to win the Best Actress award and the first deaf individual to win an Oscar of any kind.

1. Author: Greg Hernandez
    Date: February 22, 2009
    Title/Description: Red carpet at 81st Annual Academy Awards in Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles 
     Location/Permission: Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
    (see title/link for photo, credits, permissions)

The author is a freelance writer and has a B.A. in History from Roanoke College. He enjoys watching both classic movies and new films.

-- Anthony Hopper

#Oscars #movies #history #entertainment #AcademyAwards #actors #winners

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