The 58th Academy Awards ceremony, organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), took place on March 24, 1986, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles beginning at 6:00 p.m. PST / 9:00 p.m. EST. During the ceremony, AMPAS presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 23 categories honoring films released in 1985. The ceremony, televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Stanley Donen and directed by Marty Pasetta. Actors Alan Alda, Jane Fonda, and Robin Williams co-hosted the show. Fonda hosted the gala for the second time, having previously been a co-host of the 49th ceremony held in 1977. Meanwhile, this was Alda and Williams's first Oscars hosting stint. Eight days earlier, in a ceremony held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California on March 16, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by host MacDonald Carey.
Out of Africa won seven awards including Best Picture. Other winners included Cocoon and Witness with two awards, and Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Trip to Bountiful, Prizzi's Honor, The Official Story, Broken Rainbow, Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements, Molly's Pilgrim, Anna & Bella, White Nights, Back to the Future, Mask, and Ran with one.
The nominees for the 58th Academy Awards were announced on February 5, 1986. The Color Purple and Out of Africa led all nominees with eleven each. Winners were announced during the awards ceremony on March 24, 1986. With its 11 nominations and zero wins, The Color Purple joined The Turning Point as the most nominated films in Oscar history without a single win. At age 79, John Huston became the oldest person nominated for Best Director. By virtue of his father Walter's previous wins, John's daughter Anjelica's victory in the Best Supporting Actress category made her the first third-generation Oscar winner in history. For the first time in Academy Awards history, all lead acting nominees were born in the United States. Argentina's The Official Story became the first Latin American film to win the Best Foreign Language Film category.
Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface and indicated with a double dagger ().Paul Newman
Charles "Buddy" Rogers
The following individuals, in order of appearance, presented awards or performed musical numbers.
Determined to revive interest surrounding the awards and reverse declining ratings, the Academy hired Stanley Donen in December 1985 to produce the telecast for the first time. The following February, actor and comedian Robin Williams was selected as host of the 1986 telecast. Actor Alan Alda and two-time Academy Award winning actress Jane Fonda were later announced to join Williams in sharing emceeing duties.
Several other people were involved with the production of the ceremony. Lionel Newman served as musical director and conductor for the ceremony. Actress Teri Garr performed the titular song from Flying Down to Rio during the opening segment. Singer Irene Cara sang the Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann-penned "Here's to the Losers" in honor of unsuccessful Oscar nominees throughout history. A song-and-dance number featuring actor and singer Howard Keel and several actresses including Cyd Charisse, Leslie Caron, and Debbie Reynolds paid tribute to MGM musicals.
At the time of the nominations announcement on February 5, the combined gross of the five Best Picture nominees at the US box office was $119 million with an average of $23.9 million. Witness was the highest earner among the Best Picture nominees with $68.7 million in the domestic box office receipts. The film was followed by Out of Africa ($55.6 million), The Color Purple ($46.4 million), Prizzi's Honor ($26.7 million) and Kiss of the Spider Woman ($13.4 million).
Of the 50 grossing movies of the year, 42 nominations went to 12 films on the list. Only Back to the Future (1st), Cocoon (4th), Witness (5th), Jagged Edge (20th), The Color Purple (21st), Prizzi's Honor (30th), Agnes of God (32nd) were nominated for Best Picture, directing, acting, or screenplay. The other top 50 box office hits that earned nominations were Rambo: First Blood Part II (2nd), Mask (14th), White Nights (22nd), Silverado (27th), Young Sherlock Holmes (44th), and Ladyhawke (46th).
Terrence O'Flaherty of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Last night's sustained-release Oscar pill moved faster through the system than most, but from a standpoint of taste it was the worst in years." Regarding Alda, Fonda, and Williams hosting performance, he commented, "Together they immediately placed a fatal suggestion in the viewer's mind that there must be a shortage of elegant people in the movie business today - a suspicion that was substantiated again and again throughout this disjointed and unattractive program." Chicago Tribune film critic Gene Siskel noted that after co-host Williams opened the ceremony with a slew of humorous jokes, "The show regrettably returned to its old bad habits with a boring onstage production number intended to be a tribute to old movies. Instead, it was a tribute to the continuing inability of the Oscar show producers to create fun for the home viewer rather than for the audience in the auditorium." The Record's Joel Pisetzner remarked "The program might as well have begun with the announcement 'Dead, from L.A. it's Academy night!' "
Television columnist John J. O'Connor of The New York Times quipped, "Suddenly, it seemed, somebody had listened to the complaints that had grown deadeningly familiar over the years. Clumpy film clips and smirking patronization were out. Spiffy electronic techniques and pure celebration were in, leavened with generous dollops of good-natured and sometimes outrageous humor." He also added, "Mr. Williams's improvisational, on-the-precipice style of humor brought the event's comic tone thumpingly into the 1980's." Yardena Arar from the Los Angeles Daily News said, "This time, the ABC telecast didn't drown in the thank yous -- or, for that matter, boring presentation speeches and production numbers. Clocking in at 3 and one-fourth hours, the show seemed shorter -- and Donen must take the lion's share of the credit." Furthermore, she observed, "The writing was by and large brisk, the production numbers fair (in the case of the Oscar-nominated songs) to fabulous (Howard Keel's medley with a bevy of former leading ladies)." Houston Chronicle television critic Ann Hodges remarked, "Oscar 1986 goes into the record books as a very good year - the year the Academy parked the pompous and let the show biz show." She also lauded the winners' acceptance speeches and the various musicals numbers during the broadcast.
The American telecast on ABC drew in an average of 37.8 million people over its length, which was a 2% decrease from the previous year's ceremony. Moreover, the show drew lower Nielsen ratings compared to the previous ceremony with 27.3% of households watching over a 43 share. At the time, it earned the lowest viewership for an Academy Award telecast and the lowest ratings for any broadcast.
In July 1986, the ceremony presentation received four nominations at the 38th Primetime Emmys. The following month, the ceremony won one of those nominations for Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety Program (Roy Christopher).