1991 Oscars 63rd Academy Awards

1991 Oscars 63rd Academy Awards

  • Winners Announced: March 21, 1991
  • Held at: Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
  • Host: Billy Crystal
  • Eligibility Year: 1990


  • Comedy Streak Continues: Billy Crystal continued to add a touch of humor as the host for the evening.
  • Dances with Wolves Dominance: The film Dances with Wolves was the star of the night, winning seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director for Kevin Costner.
  • Pioneer for Female Directors: Although not a winner, Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table brought attention to female directors during a time when they were greatly underrepresented.
  • Memorable Speech: Joe Pesci’s acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor was one of the shortest ever. He simply said, “It’s my privilege, thank you,” after winning for his role in Goodfellas.
  • Unique Achievement: A rather rare feat, Misery saw Kathy Bates take home the Best Actress award, a category often not won by actresses in thriller films.
  • Music and Movies: The Little Mermaid was acknowledged with Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for “Under the Sea,” mirroring its Grammy success.
  • Advocacy and Awards: Whoopi Goldberg won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Ghost, becoming the second black woman to win an acting Oscar.
  • Vintage Style: Cinematography honors went to Dean Semler for Dances with Wolves, evoking the grandeur of classic Westerns.

1991 Oscar Nominees and Winners

Best Picture:
Dances with Wolves – Jim Wilson and Kevin Costner, producers (WINNER)
Awakenings – Walter Parkes and Lawrence Lasker, producers
Ghost – Lisa Weinstein, producer
The Godfather Part III – Francis Ford Coppola, producer
Goodfellas – Irwin Winkler, producer
Best Director:
Kevin Costner – Dances with Wolves (WINNER)
Francis Ford Coppola – The Godfather Part III
Martin Scorsese – Goodfellas
Stephen Frears – The Grifters
Barbet Schroeder – Reversal of Fortune
Best Actor:
Jeremy Irons – Reversal of Fortune as Claus von Bülow (WINNER)
Kevin Costner – Dances with Wolves as Lieutenant John J. Dunbar
Robert De Niro – Awakenings as Leonard Lowe
Gérard Depardieu – Cyrano de Bergerac as Cyrano de Bergerac
Richard Harris – The Field as “Bull” McCabe
Best Actress:
Kathy Bates – Misery as Annie Wilkes (WINNER)
Anjelica Huston – The Grifters as Lilly Dillon
Julia Roberts – Pretty Woman as Vivian Ward
Meryl Streep – Postcards from the Edge as Suzanne Vale
Joanne Woodward – Mr. and Mrs. Bridge as India Bridge
Best Supporting Actor:
Joe Pesci – Goodfellas as Tommy DeVito (WINNER)
Bruce Davison – Longtime Companion as David
Andy García – The Godfather Part III as Vincent Corleone
Graham Greene – Dances with Wolves as Kicking Bird
Al Pacino – Dick Tracy as Alphonse “Big Boy” Caprice
Best Supporting Actress:
Whoopi Goldberg – Ghost as Oda Mae Brown (WINNER)
Annette Bening – The Grifters as Myra Langtry
Lorraine Bracco – Goodfellas as Karen Friedman Hill
Diane Ladd – Wild at Heart as Marietta Fortune
Mary McDonnell – Dances with Wolves as Stands with a Fist
Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:
Ghost – Bruce Joel Rubin (WINNER)
Alice – Woody Allen
Avalon – Barry Levinson
Green Card – Peter Weir
Metropolitan – Whit Stillman
Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium:
Dances with Wolves – Michael Blake based on his novel (WINNER)
Awakenings – Steven Zaillian from the book by Oliver Sacks
Goodfellas – Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese from Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi
The Grifters – Donald E. Westlake based on the book by Jim Thompson
Reversal of Fortune – Nicholas Kazan based on the book by Alan M. Dershowitz
Best Foreign Language Film:
Journey of Hope (Switzerland) in German – Xavier Koller (WINNER)
Cyrano de Bergerac (France) in French – Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Ju Dou (China) in Mandarin Chinese – Zhang Yimou and Yang Fengliang
The Nasty Girl (Germany) in German – Michael Verhoeven
Open Doors (Italy) in Italian – Gianni Amelio
Best Documentary Feature:
American Dream – Barbara Kopple and Arthur Cohn (WINNER)
Berkeley in the Sixties – Mark Kitchell
Building Bombs – Mark Mori and Susan Robinson
Forever Activists: Stories from the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade – Judith Montell
Waldo Salt: A Screenwriter’s Journey – Robert Hillmann and Eugene Corr
Best Documentary Short Subject:
Days of Waiting – Steven Okazaki (WINNER)
Burning Down Tomorrow – Kit Thomas
Chimps: So Like Us – Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
Journey into Life: The World of the Unborn – Derek Bromhall
Rose Kennedy: A Life to Remember – Freida Lee Mock and Terry Sanders
Best Live Action Short Film:
The Lunch Date – Adam Davidson (WINNER)
12:01 PM – Hillary Ripps and Jonathan Heap
Bronx Cheers – Raymond De Felitta and Matthew Gross
Dear Rosie – Peter Cattaneo and Barnaby Thompson
Senzeni Na? (What Have We Done?) – Bernard Joffa and Anthony E. Nicholas
Best Animated Short Film:
Creature Comforts – Nick Park (WINNER)
A Grand Day Out – Nick Park
Grasshoppers (Cavallette) – Bruno Bozzetto
Best Original Score:
Dances with Wolves – John Barry (WINNER)
Avalon – Randy Newman
Ghost – Maurice Jarre
Havana – Dave Grusin
Home Alone – John Williams
Best Original Song:
“Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)” from Dick Tracy – Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (WINNER)
“Blaze of Glory” from Young Guns II – Music and Lyrics by Jon Bon Jovi
“I’m Checkin’ Out” from Postcards from the Edge – Music and Lyrics by Shel Silverstein
“Promise Me You’ll Remember” from The Godfather Part III – Music by Carmine Coppola; Lyrics by John Bettis
“Somewhere in My Memory” from Home Alone – Music by John Williams; Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
Best Sound:
Dances with Wolves – Jeffrey Perkins, Bill W. Benton, Gregory H. Watkins, and Russell Williams II (WINNER)
Days of Thunder – Charles M. Wilborn, Donald O. Mitchell, Rick Kline, and Kevin O’Connell
Dick Tracy – Thomas Causey, Chris Jenkins, David E. Campbell, and Doug Hemphill
The Hunt for Red October – Richard Bryce Goodman, Richard Overton, Kevin F. Cleary, and Don Bassman
Total Recall – Nelson Stoll, Michael J. Kohut, Carlos Delarios, and Aaron Rochin
Best Sound Effects Editing:
The Hunt for Red October – Cecelia Hall and George Watters II (WINNER)
Flatliners – Charles L. Campbell and Richard C. Franklin
Total Recall – Stephen Hunter Flick
Best Art Direction:
Dick Tracy – Art Direction: Richard Sylbert; Set Decoration: Rick Simpson (WINNER)
Cyrano de Bergerac – Art Direction: Ezio Frigerio; Set Decoration: Jacques Rouxel
Dances with Wolves – Art Direction: Jeffrey Beecroft; Set Decoration: Lisa Dean
The Godfather Part III – Art Direction: Dean Tavoularis; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
Hamlet – Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
Best Makeup:
Dick Tracy – John Caglione Jr. and Doug Drexler (WINNER)
Cyrano de Bergerac – Michèle Burke and Jean-Pierre Eychenne
Edward Scissorhands – Ve Neill and Stan Winston
Best Costume Design:
Cyrano de Bergerac – Franca Squarciapino (WINNER)
Avalon – Gloria Gresham
Dances with Wolves – Elsa Zamparelli
Dick Tracy – Milena Canonero
Hamlet – Maurizio Millenotti
Best Cinematography:
Dances with Wolves – Dean Semler (WINNER)
Avalon – Allen Daviau
Dick Tracy – Vittorio Storaro
The Godfather Part III – Gordon Willis
Henry & June – Philippe Rousselot
Best Film Editing:
Dances with Wolves – Neil Travis (WINNER)
Ghost – Walter Murch
The Godfather Part III – Barry Malkin, Lisa Fruchtman, and Walter Murch
Goodfellas – Thelma Schoonmaker
The Hunt for Red October – Dennis Virkler and John Wright
Academy Honorary Awards::
Sophia Loren – “One of the genuine treasures of world cinema who, in a career rich with memorable performances, has added permanent luster to our art form.”
Myrna Loy – “In recognition of her extraordinary qualities both on screen and off, with appreciation for a lifetime’s worth of indelible performances.”
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award:
David Brown and Richard D. Zanuck
Academy Special Achievement Award:
Eric Brevig, Rob Bottin, Tim McGovern, and Alex Funke for the visual effects of Total Recall