1982 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Academy Awards Summaries
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®
1982 became known as the year with many cross-dressing, gender-reversed, transvestite performances and roles with confused sexual identities: Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, Julie Andrews and Robert Preston in Victor/Victoria, and John Lithgow in The World According to Garp. It must be noted that these four acting nominees all lost their bids. And it was known as the year that one of the most successful contenders, the box-office blockbuster E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial, lost the top Oscar award.
Many of the major awards among 1982 films were swept by director Sir Richard Attenborough's earnest, conventional three-hour long, costume epic biography/story of the life of the great, noble and venerable Indian leader, the Mahatma Gandhi (with eleven nominations and eight wins). It won the largest number of awards for any British film up to that time - although the film was financed by Columbia Studios. (The year before, the British film Chariots of Fire was also honored with many accolades - seven nominations and four wins.)
The film's eight awards were for Best Actor (Ben Kingsley in a debut lead performance), Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art/Set Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design - and director Attenborough won two Oscars - for Best Picture (as producer), and Best Director.
Two of the Best Picture nominees might have won instead, since they were also very-accomplished films:
The other two Best Picture contenders were:
The only Best Picture-nominated director who wasn't nominated for Best Director was Costa-Gavras. Instead, German director Wolfgang Petersen was nominated for Das Boot (The Boat) (with six nominations and no wins), a tense and claustrophobic tale of a 1941 Nazi U-boat during World War II. [The film was awarded more Oscar nominations than any previous foreign language films in history - until this record was tied in the next year by Fanny and Alexander (1983) (with six nominations and four wins). Both films would be surpassed by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), which earned ten nominations and four wins including Best Foreign Language Film, including a rare Best Picture nomination.] The Verdict brought director Sidney Lumet his fourth -- and last unsuccessful Best Director Oscar nomination. (A fifth nomination was as co-writer of the Adapted Screenplay for Prince of the City (1981).)
Ben Kingsley deservedly won the Best Actor Oscar (with his first nomination and first Oscar) for his intelligent, sensitive, and realistic portrayal of Mohandas Gandhi's life and his doctrine of non-violent civil disobedience in Gandhi. With his half-Indian (birth name Krishna Bhanji) and half-English descent, Kingsley became the first South Asian performer to achieve such a feat.
All of newcomer Kingsley's Best Actor competitors were veteran actors - the two strongest were:
The other two Best Actor nominees were:
The Best Actress winner was Meryl Streep (with her fourth nomination and second Oscar win) as tormented Polish refugee Sophie Zawistowska in New York, the survivor of the Nazi concentration camps (following her fateful 'choice' between which of her two children would die), who has an unstable relationship with a driven Brooklynite (Kevin Kline) in director/screenwriter Alan J. Pakula's melodramatic film Sophie's Choice (the film's sole Oscar win out of five nominations).
The other Best Actress nominees included:
Louis Gossett, Jr. (with his sole career nomination and win) was selected as the Best Supporting Actor for his role as the tough, principled drill sergeant Emil Foley who shapes recruit Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman. [It was a memorable win for Gossett - he was the third African-American actor to win an acting Oscar, following Hattie McDaniel who won in 1939 for Gone With The Wind (1939), and Sidney Poitier who won the Best Actor award for Lilies of the Field (1963). Gossett was the first black actor to win an Academy Award since Poitier's earlier win, and he was the first African-American actor to win Best Supporting Actor.]
The remaining Best Supporting Actor nominees were:
And finally, in the Best Supporting Actress category, Jessica Lange (who was also nominated and lost in the Best Actress category for her tortured portrayal of the lead character in Frances) was nominated and won for her role as Julie, 'Dorothy's' unknowing, submissive best girlfriend in Tootsie. One of Lange's co-stars, Teri Garr (with her only nomination) was also competing in the category for her performance as Sandy, Hoffman's unemployed and rejected girlfriend. And Kim Stanley (with her second and last unsuccessful nomination) was nominated for her role as Lange's mother in Frances.
The other Best Supporting Actress nominees were:
The Best Original Song category had fierce competition, with "Up Where We Belong" (An Officer and a Gentleman) edging out strong nominees including: "It Might Be You" (Tootsie) and "Eye of the Tiger" (Rocky III).
This year, an Honorary Award was presented to Mickey Rooney, "in recognition of his 60 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances." Rooney had earlier won a Special Oscar in 1938 (co-awarded to "juvenile player" Deanna Durbin), and had acquired four nominations (with no wins) - two Best Actor nods for Babes in Arms (1939) and The Human Comedy (1943), and two Best Supporting Actor honors for The Bold and the Brave (1956), and The Black Stallion (1979).
Oscar Snubs and Omissions:
Except for its Best Original Screenplay nomination (for director/writer Barry Levinson's debut film), Diner was devoid of other nominations for its cast, such as Ellen Barkin for her role as Daniel Stern's neglected wife Beth. And Ridley Scott's Blade Runner was sorely under-appreciated (with only two nominations for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Visual Effects - and no wins), lacking Best Picture and Best Director nominations. In addition, Jordan S. Chronenweth's Cinematography, the Costume Design, and Vangelis' Original Score also suffered the Academy's lack of recognition.
Both director/co-writer Jerzy Skolimowski's political allegory and compelling drama Moonlighting and director/co-writer Wim Wenders' complex film about film-making, The State of Things, lacked nominations of any kind. George Miller's Australian film The Road Warrior with Mel Gibson was nomination-less, as was Paul Bartel's black comedy Eating Raoul, and director Fassbinder's West German film Lola.
Other acting nominations were denied Albert Finney and Diane Keaton as a broken-up married couple in Alan Parker's Shoot the Moon, and Jeremy Irons as Nowak - a Polish workers' foreman in Moonlighting. Director/writer Walter Hill's buddy cop/criminal film 48 HRS (with no nominations). was lacking in nominations for leads Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy. And in an early role, Sean Penn was snubbed for his memorable portrayal of stoned surfer-dude Jeff Spicoli in Amy Heckerling's coming of age teen-comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Disney's TRON, with two nominations for Best Sound and Best Costume Design, was disqualified for a Best Visual Effects award because the Academy believed that it "cheated" by using a computer - the concept of using computers to craft environments, rather than drawing them by hand, was considered inauthentic. [Three years later, Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) received an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects, highlighted by Pixar's CGI "stained glass knight" effect using computer animation. An additional four years later, James Cameron's The Abyss (1989) was also honored with a Best Visual Effects Oscar (the film's only win) for using computer animation.]
Tobe Hooper's effective horror film (with producer/co-screenwriter Steven Spielberg), Poltergeist, received only three nominations (without wins): Best Original Score (Jerry Goldsmith), Best Sound Effects, and Best Visual Effects. There were no nods for the psychic Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein), young Carol Anne Freeling (Heather O'Rourke), the two main leads (JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson), the screenplay, or the director.
Two films suffered, in particular, because there were only three nominees for Best Visual Effects. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, a blockbuster film, was devoid of nominations - for Ricardo Montalban's performance as Khan Noonien Singh, for James Horner's musical score, or for the film's visual effects. Also amazing was that another film with fantastic visual effects, Jim Henson's Muppet-fantasy The Dark Crystal (with no nominations), was passed over in many categories (technical awards and score, to name a few).
Alan Parker's expressionistic rock musical Pink Floyd: The Wall was also overlooked, especially in the Best Original Song and Best Sound categories.