1988 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
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Academy Awards History (By Decade):
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Academy Awards Summaries
Winners Charts:
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®

The winner is listed first, in CAPITAL letters.
Best Picture

RAIN MAN (1988)

The Accidental Tourist (1988)

Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Mississippi Burning (1988)

Working Girl (1988)

DUSTIN HOFFMAN in "Rain Man", Gene Hackman in "Mississippi Burning", Tom Hanks in "Big", Edward James Olmos in "Stand and Deliver", Max von Sydow in "Pelle the Conqueror"
JODIE FOSTER in "The Accused", Glenn Close in "Dangerous Liaisons", Melanie Griffith in "Working Girl", Meryl Streep in "A Cry in the Dark", Sigourney Weaver in "Gorillas in the Mist"
Supporting Actor:
KEVIN KLINE in "A Fish Called Wanda", Alec Guinness in "Little Dorritt", Martin Landau in "Tucker: the Man and His Dream", River Phoenix in "Running on Empty", Dean Stockwell in "Married to the Mob"
Supporting Actress:
GEENA DAVIS in "The Accidental Tourist", Joan Cusack in "Working Girl", Frances McDormand in "Mississippi Burning", Michelle Pfeiffer in "Dangerous Liaisons", Sigourney Weaver in "Working Girl"
BARRY LEVINSON for "Rain Man", Charles Crichton for "A Fish Called Wanda", Mike Nichols for "Working Girl", Alan Parker for "Mississippi Burning", Martin Scorsese for "The Last Temptation of Christ"

Beginning this year, the trademark phrase: "and the winner is..." was substituted with "and the Oscar goes to..."

Director Barry Levinson's critically and financially-successful Rain Man was the major Oscar winner in 1988. It was the buddy-road saga of the human relationship that gradually develops between two sibling brothers: the elder one a TV-obsessed, institutionalized adult autistic (Hoffman), the other an ambitious, hotshot money-maker/car salesman and hustler (Cruise). The autistic savant's kidnapping from an asylum by his fast-talking brother is with the intent to swindle him of his inheritance, but during a cross-country road trip, a loving relationship develops between the brothers with strong blood ties.

Rain Man had a total of eight nominations and four wins - for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay (by Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow). It was the year's highest-grossing picture as well, taking in $173 million (domestic).

The other Best Picture nominees included the following:

Two of the five directors of Best Picture nominees were not included in the list of Best Director nominees. The two directors were Steven Frears' Dangerous Liaisons, and Lawrence Kasdan's The Accidental Tourist. The two directors substituted for them were British director Charles Crichton for the Monty-Pythonesque, farcical caper comedy A Fish Called Wanda (with three nominations: Crichton's two nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay - and one win for Best Supporting Actor), and Martin Scorsese for his controversial adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis's novel The Last Temptation of Christ (the film's sole nomination!). [This was Crichton's sole directorial nomination in his over-four decades as director, and this was his last theatrical film directorial effort.]

It was highly improbable that either Crichton or Scorsese would win the Best Director award - as predicted, they didn't. [Only once in Academy history has a Best Director Oscar been awarded to a director whose film was not nominated for Best Picture - that happened to director Frank Lloyd for his film The Divine Lady (1928-9).]

Dustin Hoffman (with his sixth nomination) won his second Oscar for his role as the institutionalized, ultimately loveable, autistic idiot savant Raymond ('Ray(n)' 'Man(d)') Babbitt who is kidnapped by his ambitious brother Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) and taken on a cross-country trip in Rain Man. In one memorable scene, Raymond nervously told his brother that he might miss his favorite TV program (The People's Court): "Uh, oh, 12 minutes to Wapner."

The other Best Actor nominees were:

26 year old Jodie Foster (with her second nomination) won her first Oscar, the Best Actress award for her performance as blue-collar, fast-food waitress Sarah Tobias, who is a gang-rape victim (in a road-side bar) accused of prompting her brutal assault because of her provocative demeanor and dress in director Jonathan Kaplan's courtroom drama The Accused (the film's sole nomination).

The other Best Actress nominees were:

Kevin Kline (with his first nomination), in the first surprise upset in the supporting categories, won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as ex-CIA assassin and ne'er-do-well jewel thief Otto, the crazy boyfriend of seductress thief Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) who wants a repressed English lawyer (John Cleese) to offer bail to a fellow jewel thief in the unlikely comedy A Fish Called Wanda.

Other Best Supporting Actor nominees were:

Geena Davis (with her first nomination), in a surprise upset, won the Best Supporting Actress award for her (lead!) role as eccentric and wacky divorcee (and Corgi dog-trainer) Muriel Pritchett who is interested in a married travel guide writer (William Hurt) with an estranged wife (Kathleen Turner) in The Accidental Tourist.

Two Best Supporting Actress nominees were co-stars from Working Girl:

The remaining nominees were Frances McDormand (with her first nomination) as conflicted Ku Klux Klan member's wife Mrs. Pell, one of the townsfolk in Mississippi Burning, and Michelle Pfeiffer (with her first nomination) as the reserved, convent-bred Madame de Tourvel in Dangerous Liaisons.

This year had one of the most potent Best Foreign Language Film competitions in recent years. Bille August's Swedish film Pelle the Conqueror, starring Best Actor-nominated Sydow, defeated two other strong candidates among the field of four: Pedro Almodóvar's popular Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (its sole nomination) and Mira Nair's Indian expose Salaam Bombay! (its sole nomination).

Oscar Snubs and Omissions:

Although the technically-outstanding Who Framed Roger Rabbit (with six nominations) was missing from the Best Picture nominees, it tied Best Picture-winning Rain Man, if one counts a Special Achievement Award, with four Oscar wins: Best Film Editing, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects, and a special recognition for animator Richard Williams.

Two directors who should have been nominated, but weren't, were Penny Marshall for Big, and Jonathan Demme for Married to the Mob. A World Apart, Chris Menges' feature film directorial debut about apartheid set in early 1960s South Africa (with Barbara Hershey as journalist Diana Roth) wasn't even nominated in 1988. Neither was Michael Apted nominated as Best Director for Gorillas in the Mist.

Other remarkable performances without nominations included the following:

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