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The Scathing Reaction to the Last Oscars With No Host

January 22, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

“And now ladies and gentlemen, here’s one of the great legends of Hollywood. She’s back with us tonight—Miss .

But the “camp” style of humor that permeated Beach Blanket Babylon wasn’t yet a part of mainstream media. Hofler thinks the negative response to the Oscars number “was this real reaction against this gay humor in a period in which people were no longer really tolerant of gay people.” He contrasts this to the years before AIDS when Hollywood establishment types had had no problem partying at Carr’s house.

“Believe me, because Allan Carr was the producer, everyone involved identified that opening number as this kind of gay humor run amok,” Hoffler continues (Eileen Bowman, who played Snow White, later wrote the Oscars show “looked like a gay bar mitzvah,” whatever that means). Were the opening number to air today, the reaction might be different. “I interviewed [former Paramount Pictures CEO Sherry Lansing] about it and I remember her saying, I bet if they showed that today people wouldn’t object to it.”

Allan Carr, center, meeting with composer Marvin Hamlisch (left) and director Kenny Ortega (right) during the 61st Annual Academy Awards Rehearsals on March 20, 1989 at ABC Studios in Los Angeles, California.

Dennis Bingham, director of the Film Studies Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, thinks Carr’s opening number “may have worked just great on a stage in a nightclub some place, but it wasn’t good television.” Yet he also thinks that, 30 years later, it’s hardly the most embarrassing thing that’s happened at the Oscars.

“The year that Seth MacFarlane hosted, when people turned on the show a little late to see him leading a chorus line singing ‘We Saw Your Boobs’—that was much more embarrassing and uncalled for,” he says of the 2013 Oscars. In addition, Bingham says the 2017 Best Picture mix-up, where La La Land received an award intended for Moonlight, “is the worst thing I’ve ever seen happen at the Oscars.”

As maligned as Carr’s Academy Awards show was, it did have some influential moments. His was the first Oscars with extended coverage of stars arriving on the red carpet, an event that has since become its own pre-awards show. Carr coined an iconic award show phrase by telling presenters that instead of announcing the “winner,” they should say, “The Oscar goes to…” Billy Crystal also delivered a well-received monologue at the ‘89 Oscars. …read more

Source: HISTORY

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