The 56th Academy Awards were presented April 9, 1984 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles. The ceremonies were presided over by Johnny Carson, for the fifth and last time.
Terms of Endearment is a 1983 American drama film and romantic comedy adapted by James L. Brooks from the novel by Larry McMurtry. Actor Jack Nicholson's character, astronaut Garrett Breedlove, does not appear in the novel. The part was created for Burt Reynolds, but he was already committed to another film, so it was handed to James Garner. Garner quarrelled with the director over differing interpretations. The part then went to Harrison Ford who turned it down because he didn't like the age difference between himself and Shirley MacLaine. The role wound up going to Nicholson. Louise Fletcher and Sissy Spacek were the original choices for the mother and daughter roles. The movie tells the story of a mother/daughter relationship and both women's inconclusive search for love. The movie won five Academy Awards, including the one for Best Picture and it was the second Oscar win for Nicholson, this time as Best Supporting Actor.
The director, James L Brooks was the winner of the Best Director Oscar. He is best known for producing American television programs such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Simpsons (in which he created miscellaneous characters, including the Bouvier family), Rhoda and Taxi. His best-known film is Terms of Endearment, for which he received three Academy Awards in 1984, as the films producer and scriptwriter as well as the director. Brooks later started his own film and television production company, Gracie Films, in 1984. Gracie Films would produce the television series The Tracey Ullman Show and its spin-off, The Simpsons as well as the animated series The Critic. Gracie Films' notable film productions were Jerry Maguire, As Good as It Gets, Big, Bottle Rocket and Broadcast News.
The Best Actor award went to Robert Duvall. He is best known for his roles in The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now, THX 1138, Tender Mercies, Lonesome Dove, and The Apostle. Duvall's screen debut was as Boo Radley in the critically acclaimed To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). Duvall later played the notorious malefactor Ned Pepper in True Grit (1969), and Major Frank Burns in the film version of MASH (1970), but his breakout role was that of Tom Hagen in The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II (1974). He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in A Civil Action and for his role as Lt. Colonel Kilgore in Apocalypse Now (1979). He won Oscar's Best Actor in Tender Mercies (1983). His line "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" from Apocalypse Now is now regarded as iconic in cinema history. He directed the critically acclaimed The Apostle, about a preacher on the run from the law, and Assassination Tango (2002), a thriller about one of his favorite hobbies, tango. Duvall portrayed General Robert E. Lee in Gods and Generals in 2003 and is actually a relative of the Confederate general. He has stated in several forums, including CBS Sunday Morning, that his favorite role was that of Augustus "Gus" McCrae in Lonesome Dove. He has been married four times, the first to Barbara Benjamin, from 1964 until 1975. He then married Gail Youngs (1982–1986) and Sharon Brophy (1991–1996). Duvall married Luciana Pedraza in 2005. He met Pedraza on a street in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They were both born on January 5, but Duvall is 41 years older. They have been together since 1997.
Shirley MacLaine is an Academy Award-winning American film and theatre actress, well-known not only for her acting, but for her devotion to her belief in reincarnation and extraterrestrials. She is also the writer of a large number of autobiographical works and the older sister of Warren Beatty. Her first film was the Alfred Hitchcock film The Trouble with Harry in 1955, which won her the Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year - Actress. In 1958, she took part in Hot Spell and Around the World in Eighty Days. At the same time, she starred in Some Came Running; this film gave her her first Academy Award nomination - one of the film's five Oscar nods - and a Golden Globe nomination.She got her second nomination two years later for The Apartment, in which she starred alongside Jack Lemmon. This film won 5 Oscars, including Best Director for Billy Wilder. She was nominated for Irma la Douce (1963), once again reunited with Wilder and Lemmon. In 1977 she was once again nominated for The Turning Point, as was her co-star Anne Bancroft. In 1983, she finally won her first Oscar as Best Actress for Terms of Endearment. After she won an Oscar, she starred in other major films, like Steel Magnolias with Julia Roberts. She made her feature-film directorial debut in the quirky film Bruno. As of 2004, she is the only actress to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress (Drama) without getting an Oscar nomination for the same performance, for Madame Sousatzka (1988). MacLaine was married to businessman Steve Parker until they divorced in 1982. They had a daughter, Sachi Parker (born 1956).
Linda Hunt is an American film, stage and television actress. She is perhaps best known for her Academy Award-winning role in 1983's The Year of Living Dangerously. Hunt's film debut occurred in 1980 in Robert Altman's musical comedy Popeye. In 1982 she won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for her role as the male Chinese-Australian dwarf Billy Kwan in the film The Year of Living Dangerously. She is still the only person ever to win an Oscar for playing a character of the opposite sex.
Fanny and Alexander is a 1982, Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. It was originally conceived as a four part TV movie which spanned 312 minutes. A version lasting only 188 minutes was created later for cinematic release. Along with The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries, Fanny and Alexander is considered by many to be one of Bergman's best films. He intended the film to be his last feature, although he wrote several screenplays afterward and directed a number of TV specials. Bergman was nominated for both Directing and Writing Original Screenplay but was not awarded, thus ending his last chance of ever receiving a personal Oscar for a film. The movie won the Best Foreign Language Film award.
"Flashdance... What a Feeling" is an Academy Award winning song from the 1983 film Flashdance which was performed by Irene Cara. In addition to topping the Billboard Hot 100 and earning a platinum record in 1983, "Flashdance... What a Feeling" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song in 1984. Despite the title, the word "Flashdance" is never used in the lyrics.In March 2007, the United World Chart ranked "Flashdance... What a Feeling" as the twenty-second most successful song in music history. The song was also rated on the list as the fourth most successful song by a solo female artist, behind Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On", Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You", and Cher's "Believe".