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70th Academy Awards

70th Academy Awards
Official poster
Date March 23, 1998
Site Shrine Auditorium
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Host Billy Crystal
Producer Gil Cates
Director Louis J. Horvitz
Best Picture Titanic
Most awards Titanic (11)
Most nominations Titanic (14)
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Duration 3 hours, 47 minutes[1]
Ratings 57.25 million
35.32% (Nielsen ratings)

The 70th Academy Awards ceremony, organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), took place on March 23, 1998, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles beginning at 6:00 p.m. PST / 9:00 p.m. EST. During the show, AMPAS presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 categories honoring films released in 1997. The ceremony, which was televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Gil Cates and directed by Louis J. Horvitz.[2][3] Actor Billy Crystal hosted the show for the sixth time.[4] He first presided over the 62nd ceremony held in 1990, and he had hosted the previous year's gala.[5] Nearly a month earlier in an event held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California on February 28, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by host Ashley Judd.[6]

Titanic won a record-tying eleven awards including Best Director for James Cameron and Best Picture.[7][8] Other winners included As Good as It Gets, Good Will Hunting and L.A. Confidential with two awards, and The Full Monty, Geri's Game, Karakter, The Long Way Home, Visas and Virtue, Men in Black, and A Story of Healing with one. The telecast garnered more than 57 million viewers in the United States, making it the most watched Oscars broadcast in history.[9]


  • Winners and nominees 1
    • Awards 1.1
    • Academy Honorary Award 1.2
    • Multiple nominations and awards 1.3
  • Presenters and performers 2
    • Presenters 2.1
    • Performers 2.2
  • Ceremony information 3
    • Box office performance of nominees 3.1
    • Critical reviews 3.2
    • Ratings and reception 3.3
  • In Memoriam 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Bibliography 7
  • External links 8

Winners and nominees

The nominees for the 70th Academy Awards were announced on February 10, 1998, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, by Robert Rehme, president of the Academy, and actress Geena Davis.[10] Titanic received the most nominations with a record-tying fourteen (1950's All About Eve also achieved this distinction); Good Will Hunting and L.A. Confidential came in second with nine apiece.[11][12]

The winners were announced during the awards ceremony on March 23, 1998. With eleven awards, Titanic tied with Ben-Hur for the most academy awards in Oscar history.[13] It also became the first film to win Best Picture without a screenplay nomination since 1965's The Sound of Music.[14] Best Actress winner Helen Hunt was the first performer to win an Oscar while concurrently starring in a television series;[15] Jack Nicholson became the fourth performer to win at least three acting Oscars.[16] Both won for their roles in As Good as it Gets, making it the seventh film to win both lead acting awards.[17] Nominated for their performances as Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic, Best Actress nominee Kate Winslet and Best Supporting Actress nominee Gloria Stuart became the first pair of actress nominated for portraying the same character in the same film.[18][19] At age 87, Stuart also became the oldest performer nominated for a competitive Oscar.[20]


Photo of a grey-haired man wearing a black shirt speaking into a microphone.
James Cameron, Best Director winner

A Caucasian man is seen wearing sunglasses, a black suit over a white collared shirt and a black bowtie.
Jack Nicholson, Best Actor winner

Upper torso of a blonde haired lady wearing a black shirt.
Helen Hunt, Best Actress winner

A picture of a bespectacled man wearing a green coat over a black shirt.
Robin Williams, Best Supporting Actor winner

A portrait of a female wearing a white dress.
Kim Basinger, Best Supporting Actress winner

A man is wearing a navy blue collared shirt and glasses.
Matt Damon, Best Original Screenplay co-winner

Ben Affleck, Best Original Screenplay co-winner
Photo of Rick Baker at the 2011 Saturn Awards.
Rick Baker, Best Makeup co-winner

Winners are listed first and indicated with a double-dagger ().[21]

Academy Honorary Award

Multiple nominations and awards

Presenters and performers

The following individuals presented awards or performed musical numbers.[23][24]


Name(s) Role
Rose, NormanNorman Rose Announcer for the 70th annual Academy Awards
Rehme, RobertRobert Rehme (AMPAS President) Gave opening remarks welcoming guests to the awards ceremony
Gooding, Jr., CubaCuba Gooding, Jr. Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actress
Shue, ElisabethElisabeth Shue Presenter of the award for Best Costume Design
Hoffman, DustinDustin Hoffman Presenter of the 70 years of Best Picture winners montage
Campbell, NeveNeve Campbell Presenter of the performances of Best Song nominees "Journey to the Past" and "Go the Distance"
Schwarzenegger, ArnoldArnold Schwarzenegger Presenter of the film Titanic on the Best Picture segment
Sorvino, MiraMira Sorvino Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actor
Diaz, CameronCameron Diaz Presenter of the award for Best Sound
Myers, MikeMike Myers Presenter of the award for Sound Effects Editing
Weaver, SigourneySigourney Weaver Presenter of the film As Good as It Gets on the Best Picture segment
Hunt, HelenHelen Hunt Presenter of the award for Best Visual Effects
Wray, FayFay Wray Introducer of presenters Ben Affleck and Matt Damon
Affleck, BenBen Affleck
Matt Damon
Presenters of the awards for Best Live Action Short Film and Best Animated Short Film
Rush, GeoffreyGeoffrey Rush Presenter of the award for Best Actress
Banderas, AntonioAntonio Banderas Presenter of the award for Best Original Dramatic Score
Lopez, JenniferJennifer Lopez Introducer of the special dance number to the tune of the nominees for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score
Presenter of the award for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score
Barrymore, DrewDrew Barrymore Presenter of the award for Best Makeup
Baldwin, AlecAlec Baldwin Presenter of the film L.A. Confidential on the Best Picture segment
Jackson, Samuel L.Samuel L. Jackson Presenter of the award for Best Film Editing
Judd, AshleyAshley Judd Presenter of the segment of the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement and the Gordon E. Sawyer Award
Scorsese, MartinMartin Scorsese Presenter of the Honorary Academy Award to Stanley Donen
Dillon, MattMatt Dillon Presenter of the film Good Will Hunting on the Best Picture segment
MadonnaMadonna Introducer of the performances of Best Song nominees "How Do I Live", "Miss Misery", and "My Heart Will Go On"
Presenter of the award for Best Original Song
Hounsou, DjimonDjimon Hounsou Presenter of the Best Documentary Short
De Niro, RobertRobert De Niro Presenter of the Best Documentary Feature
Goldberg, WhoopiWhoopi Goldberg Presenter of the In Memoriam tribute
Ryan, MegMeg Ryan Presenter of the award for Best Art Direction
Williams, RobinRobin Williams Presenter of the 70 Years of Oscars montage
McDormand, FrancesFrances McDormand Presenter of the award for Best Actor
Stone, SharonSharon Stone Presenter of award the for Best Foreign Language Film
Lemmon, JackJack Lemmon
Walter Matthau
Presenters of the awards for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay
Washington, DenzelDenzel Washington Presenter of the award for Best Cinematography
Sarandon, SusanSusan Sarandon Presenter of the Oscar Family Album segment
Davis, GeenaGeena Davis Presenter of the film The Full Monty on the Best Picture segment
Beatty, WarrenWarren Beatty Presenter of the award for Best Director
Connery, SeanSean Connery Presenter of the award for Best Picture


Name(s) Role Performed
Jerry Goldsmith Composer "Fanfare for Oscar"
Bill Conti Musical Arranger Orchestral
Billy Crystal Host Opening number:
Titanic (to the tune of "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle" from Gilligan's Island)
As Good As It Gets (to the tune of "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" from Shall We Dance)
Good Will Hunting (to the tune of "Night and Day" from The Gay Divorcee)
L.A. Confidential (to the tune of "George Gershwin)
The Full Monty (to the tune "Hello, Dolly!" from Hello, Dolly!)[25]
Michael Bolton Performer "Go the Distance" from Hercules
Aaliyah Performer "Journey to the Past" from Anastasia
Trisha Yearwood Performer "How Do I Live" from Con Air
Elliott Smith Performer "Miss Misery" from Good Will Hunting
Celine Dion Performers "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic

Ceremony information

A picture of a man in his early sixties who is wearing navy blue blazer and an unbuttoned light blue shirt.
Billy Crystal hosted the 70th Academy Awards.

In December 1997, the Academy hired veteran Oscar telecast producer Gil Cates to oversee the 1998 ceremony.[26] “Gil has become the consummate Oscar show producer, consistently garnering top television ratings for the telecast,” said AMPAS president Robert Rehme in a press release announcing the selection. “His shows are full of wit, charm and surprise.”[26] A few days later, actor and comedian Billy Crystal was chosen to emcee the upcoming telecast. Cates explained his reason to bring back the veteran comedian saying, "Billy's performance last year was spectacular. There is nobody like him."[27] In an article published in USA Today he initially requested to Cates and AMPAS five months after the previous year's ceremony that he would like to take a break from hosting duties. However, pressure from the Academy, Cates, and several friends and family members made him reconsider his decision.[28] His sixth stint would make him second only to Bob Hope in number of ceremonies hosted.[29]

To commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Academy Awards, 70 actors who have received both competitive and honorary awards appeared seated onstage together during a segment called Oscar's Family Album.[30] Each former winner was acknowledged by announcer Norman Rose with the films he or she won for. At the end of the segment newly minted winners Kim Bassinger, Helen Hunt, and Robin Williams joined them. This marked the largest gathering of former winners since the 50th ceremony held in 1978.[31]

Several others participated in the production of the ceremony. Bill Conti served as musical director for the telecast.[32] Dancer Daniel Ezralow choreographed a dance number showcasing the nominees for Best Original Comedy or Musical Score.[33] Bart the Bear made a surprise appearance during the presentation of the Best Sound award with Mike Myers.[34]

Box office performance of nominees

At the time of the nominations announcement on February 10, the combined gross of the five Best Picture nominees was $579 million with an average of $116 million per film.[35] Titanic was the highest earner among the Best Picture nominees with $338.7 million in domestic box office receipts.[35] The film was followed by As Good as It Gets ($92.6 million), Good Will Hunting ($68.9 million), L.A. Confidential ($39.7 million), and finally The Full Monty ($38.7 million).[35]

Of the top 50 grossing movies of the year, 40 nominations went to 15 films on the list. Only Titanic (1st), As Good as It Gets (16th), Good Will Hunting (20th), and In & Out (24th) were nominated for directing, acting, screenwriting, or Best Picture.[36] The other top 50 box office hits that earned nominations were Men in Black (2nd), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (3rd), Air Force One (5th), My Best Friends Wedding (7th), Face/Off (9th), Con Air (12th), Contact (13th), Hercules (14th), The Fifth Element (25th), Anastasia (30th), and Starship Troopers (34th).[36]

Critical reviews

The show received a positive reception from most media publications. Television critic Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times lauded Crystal's performance writing that he "would earn top billing as that unusual comedian as artful at doing musical comedy as jokes."[37] San Francisco Chronicle columnist John Carman raved,"It was the best Oscar show in two decades." He also gave high marks for the host, commenting, "But last night, Crystal was back in razor form."[38] The Seattle Times television editor Kay McFadden praised Crystal commenting that "he possesses nearly impeccable timing and judgment." In addition, she noted that while the ceremony dragged on, "Last night was one of television's smartest live ceremonies in recent memory."[39]

Some media outlets were more critical of the show. Ray Richmond of Variety complained that the a ceremony proved to be a "Yawner of an Oscarcast." He added that Crystal's "off-the-cuff one-liners sank faster than the great ship herself."[40] Boston Globe television critic Matthew Gilbert bemoaned,"There was hardly a spontaneous moment during last night's Oscarcast."[41] Film critic Carrie Rickey from The Philadelphia Inquirer lamented that the inevitable Titanic sweep "sank a telecast loaded with montages of previous years' Oscar highlights."[42]

Ratings and reception

The American telecast on ABC drew in an average of 57.25 million people over its length, which was a 29% increase from the previous year's ceremony.[43] An estimated 87.50 million total viewers watched all or part of the awards.[44] The show also earned higher Nielsen ratings compared to the previous ceremony with 35.32% of households watching over a 55.77 share.[45] In addition, it garnered a higher 18–49 demo rating with a 24.90 rating over a 44.30 share among viewers in that demographic.[45] It was the highest viewership for an Academy Award telecast since figures were compiled beginning with the 46th ceremony in 1974.[46]

In July 1998, the ceremony presentation received eight nominations at the 50th Primetime Emmys.[47] Two months later, the ceremony won five of those nominations for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program (Billy Crystal), Outstanding Directing for a Variety or Music Program (Louis J Horvitz), Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Drama Series, Variety Series, Miniseries, or Movie (Bob Barnhart, Robert Dickinson, Matt Ford, Andy O'Reilly), Outstanding Music Direction (Bill Conti), and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety Series or Special (Patrick Baltzell, Robert Douglass, Edward J. Greene, Tommy Vicari).[48][49]

In Memoriam

The annual In Memoriam tribute was presented by actress Whoopi Goldberg. The montage featured an excerpt of "Appassionata" from The Passage composed by Michael J. Lewis.[50]

See also


  1. ^ Osborne 2008, p. 337
  2. ^ Snow, Shauna (December 12, 1997). "Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press.".  
  3. ^ "Horvitz to helm Academy broadcast". Variety (Penske Media Corporation). January 8, 1998. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Crystal set for sixth Oscar stint".  
  5. ^ Crowe, Jerry (December 20, 1997). "Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press.". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Judd named presenter at 70th Oscars". Variety (Penske Media Corporation). February 20, 1998. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  7. ^ Harden, Mark (March 24, 1998). "Epic film sails away with Oscar boatload".  
  8. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (March 24, 1998). Titanic' Ties Record With 11 Oscars, Including Best Picture"'".  
  9. ^ Scanton, Julian (January 27, 2010). "Could Avatar Boost Oscar Ratings to Record Heights?".  
  10. ^ Titanic' cruises into Oscars lead"'".  
  11. ^ Ebert, Roger (February 10, 1998). "Oscar hopefuls"Titanic' ties a record; DiCaprio misses boat". The Denver Post (MediaNews Group). p. F-01. 
  12. ^ "`Titanic' lands 14 Oscar nominations; ties 1950 record".  
  13. ^ Goldsten, Patrick (March 24, 1998). Titanic' Snags 11, Ties for Record"'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 25, 2014. 
  14. ^ Guthmann, Edward (March 24, 1998). Titanic' Rides an Oscar Tidal Wave / But Hunt and Nicholson take the top acting awards"'".  
  15. ^ Dirks, Tim. "1997 Academy Awards Winners and History".  
  16. ^ Glaister, Dan (March 25, 1998). "Titanic sinks British Oscar hopes".  
  17. ^ Symons 2004, p. 138
  18. ^ Osborne 2008, p. 396
  19. ^ Germain, David (September 27, 2010). "Gloria Stuart, 'Titanic' co-star, dies at 100".  
  20. ^ Bona 2002, p. 397
  21. ^ "The 70th Academy Awards (1998) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. AMPAS. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  22. ^ Anderson, John (March 25, 1998). "Stanley Donen: Just Dancin' and Singin' of His Reign". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  23. ^ "List of Presenters". Variety (Penske Media Corporation). March 20, 1998. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  24. ^ Bona 2002, p. 163
  25. ^ Bona 2002, p. 168
  26. ^ a b Hindes, Andrew (December 11, 1997). "And Cates makes eight". Variety (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  27. ^ "News Lite Veteran DJ Will End Storied Career". Los Angeles Daily News (MediaNews Group). December 20, 1997. p. N2. 
  28. ^ Bona 2002, p. 156
  29. ^ Bona 2002, p. 157
  30. ^ Pond 2005, pp. 185–186
  31. ^ Bona 2002, p. 177
  32. ^ "Conti named musical director of 70th Academy Awards". Variety (Penske Media Corporation). January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  33. ^ Pond 2005, p. 170
  34. ^ Pond 2005, p. 168
  35. ^ a b c "1997 Academy Award Nominations and Winner for Best Picture".  
  36. ^ a b "1997 Domestic Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  37. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (March 24, 1998). "Crystal Persuasion". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  38. ^ Carman, John (March 24, 1998). "Oscar Polishes Up His Image / Crystal clearly a winner for best show in decades".  
  39. ^ McFadden, Kay (March 24, 1998). "Ceremony Shapes Up As A Night To Remember".  
  40. ^ Richmond, Ray (March 23, 1998). "Review: ‘The 70th Annual Academy Awards’". Variety (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  41. ^ Gilbert, Matthew (March 24, 1998). "Telecast Sinks Under TIred Bits, Little Spark". Boston Globe. p. D1. 
  42. ^ Rickey, Carey (March 24, 1998). "`Titanic' Ties Record With 11 Oscars; `Good As It Gets' Takes Acting Honors".  
  43. ^ Crupi, Anthony (February 6, 2013). "ABC Strikes Gold With the Oscars".  
  44. ^ Pond 2005, p. 187
  45. ^ a b "Academy Awards ratings" (PDF). Television Bureau of Advertising. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  46. ^ Gorman, Bill (March 8, 2010). "Academy Awards Averages 41.3 Million Viewers; Most Since 2005".  
  47. ^ "Primetime Emmy Award database".  
  48. ^ "The Emmy Winners Announced on Saturday". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). August 31, 1998. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  49. ^ "1998 Emmy Winners". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). September 15, 1998. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  50. ^ Bona 2002, pp. 173–174


  • Bona, Damien (2002), Inside Oscar 2, New York, United States:  
  • Osborne, Robert (2008). 80 Years of the Oscar: The Complete History of the Academy Awards. New York, United States:  
  • Pond, Steve (2005), The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards, New York, United States:  
  • Symons, Mitchell (2004), That Book ...of Perfectly Useless Information, New York, United States:  

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