Neither lead acting winners were in attendance. Both Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn were ill on Oscar night. Jane Fonda accepted for her father and Jon Voight accepted on behalf of Hepburn.
When presenting the Best Picture Oscar this year, Laurence Oliver forgot to name the other nominees. He simply opened the envelope and proclaimed the winner which was Amadeus.
This was the year in which Sally Field (who won Best Actress for Place in the Heart) delivered her famous "You like me!" speech. In the years that would follow The Academy would use her speech as a suggestion to their potential winners of how not to deliver and acceptance speech.
Twelve people were nominated for Best Original Score for The Color Purple, the most ever nominated for a single award. They lost to John Barry for Out of Africa.
The Last Emperor became only the second Best Picture awardee to win in all the categories it was nominated in. The first one was Gigi in 1959.
Lucille Ball's last television appearance. She died three weeks later.
At 81, Jessica Tandy is the oldest Oscar winner for her work in Driving Miss Daisy.
This is the first time the presenters said "And the Oscar goes to..." rather than "And the winner is...." This was done to avoid offending the losers.
This is the first time a Western - themed movie has won the Oscar for Best Picture since 1930.
Reba McEntire, who sang the nominated song "I'm Checkin' Out" from Postcards From the Edge, was a replacement for Meryl Streep who was supposed to perform the song. She could not attend the ceremony on orders of her obstetrician.
All four of the acting winners played criminals of one sort or the other. Jeremy Irons played Claus Von Bulow who poisons his wife in Reversal of Fortune. Kathy Bates plays a psychotic nurse who turns to murder in Misery. Joe Pesci plays a gun-happy mobster in Goodfellas. Whoopi Goldberg plays a crooked psychic in Ghost.
GOOF: In his opening remarks Academy President Karl Malden recalled that "in 1981, Thomas Edison put his patent application on his movie picture camera". What he meant to say was 1891.
Due to the events surrounding the Persian Gulf War, which had just called a cease fire, security was tight at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and every one was searched and had to go through a metal detector. The only exception was Bob Hope because Bob Verdan, an academy spokesman, said "He's like the American flag. Are you going to make him go through a metal detector".
This was the year in which Jack Palance turned an Oscar acceptance speech into an uproarious display of his physical agility. While accepting his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for City Slickers he fumbled through a few scattered thoughts about the history of his career and the age problem for actors.
Then, at a loss for words he flopped down on the floor and began doing a series of one-handed push-ups. Afterwards when he was asked about the stunt he simply said, "I didn't know what the hell else to do".
Audrey Hepburn presented an honorary award to Indian film legend Satyajite Ray who was bedridden in his home in Calcutta. It was originally planned to have Mother Theresa present the award but the idea was dismissed because the producers felt it would be inappropriate to have the elder humanitarian mingling amidst the Hollywood glitz.
Due to safety concerns, the crew aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, who delivered a congratulatory message to Thalberg recipient George Lucas via a large viewscreen, taped their message earlier in the week. It was broadcast on the show as if it were being shown live.