"Rain Man" was the big winner during Academy Award ceremonies Wednesday night, taking four major Oscars - best picture, actor, director and original screenplay. And two of those winners paid special tribute to Kim, the Salt Lake man who inspired the story.
But Sigourney Weaver will go down in the film history books.Weaver is the first person in the history of the Oscars to lose after being nominated in both "best" and "supporting" actress or actor categories in the same year. She was the fifth performer to be so nominated, but the four earlier nominees - Fay Bainter (1938), Teresa Wright (1942), Barry Fitzgerald (1944) and Jessica Lange (1982) - all won in the supporting category.
It was just one unexpected upset among several that made the 61st Oscar show - which itself was boring, gaudy and too long - a bit more lively than it would have otherwise been.
And the surprises started early. The first award given was for best supporting actress, which Geena Davis took for her role as the ditzy dog trainer in "The Accidental Tourist." As she accepted the award, it became one of the show's rare genuine moments as Davis seemed truly surprised and more than a little nervous.
Nine awards later, about halfway through the show, Kevin Kline was named best supporting actor as the zany, wild-eyed crook in "A Fish Called Wanda," surprising critics and industry insiders who felt veteran actor Martin Landau was a sure thing for his performance in "Tucker: The Man and His Dream."
At this point it became obvious that no film would win a vast number of awards and most of the nominees would walk off with at least one. And that helped maintain a certain level of suspense as the evening wore on. In the end, 10 movies split the 17 awards.
As the Oscar show wrapped up, former child performer Jodie Foster was named best actress for her dramatic portrayal of a rape victim in "The Accused," surprising those who felt it would be between Glenn Close ("Dangerous Liaisons") and Sigourney Weaver ("Gorillas in the Mist"). Foster was previously nominated in the supporting category for "Taxi Driver" 13 years ago. She was 12 at the time.
The only "shoo-in" that proved to actually be a shoo-in was "Rain Man," the touching story of an autistic savant on a cross-country road trip with his sleazy brother.
The film won the top award as best picture and gave Dustin Hoffman his second Oscar (the first was for "Kramer vs. Kramer" 10 years ago). Other "Rain Man" winners were best director Barry Levinson and best original screenwriters Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass.
Both Hoffman and Morrow offered thanks to Kim, the Salt Lake man who was the inspiration for the original "Rain Man" story after Morrow met him five years ago at a Texas convention for the Association for Retarded Persons.
Another surprise was "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" being a multiple winner. The complex combination of animation and live action won three of the six awards for which it was nominated - sound effects editing, visual effects and film editing. It also received a special Oscar for animation director Richard Williams.
"Roger Rabbit" was, of course, the biggest box office hit of last year and is considered by many critics the only 1988 film destined to be considered a classic in years to come.
The next big winner - "Dangerous Liaisons" - also copped three awards, for art direction, costumes and best screenplay based on another medium (for Christopher Hampton's adaptation of his own play, which was itself adapted from a novel).
There were no other multiple winners, as the rest of the awards were fairly well spread around. Single-Oscar winners included "Pelle the Conqueror" as best foreign-language film (scheduled to come to Salt Lake's Cinema in Your Face! theater in April); Dave Grusin for best original score for "The Milagro Beanfield War"; Marcel Ophuls' "Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie" as best documentary feature; "Beetlejuice" for best makeup; Peter Biziou for best cinematography for "Mississippi Burning"; and Carly Simon's "Let the River Run" as best original song, from "Working Girl."