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Despite Writers Strike, Oscar Is Wordy With PM-Oscars, Bjt

April 12, 1988

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ It’s amazing that despite a writers’ strike the Academy Awards could still be so gaseous and wordy.

Everybody talked nonstop during Monday night’s 60th annual Oscars ceremony on ABC: the host, the presenters, and especially the winners.

There were frequent references to the strike by the Writers Guild of America, and to the fact that some people had no scripts. It didn’t slow anyone down, however. The winners seemed to have carte blanche to blab on until there was no one left to thank.

Even master storyteller Billy Wilder, in accepting the Irving Thalberg Award for lifetime achievement, rambled before making a poignant statement about his permanent entry into this country.

It was an awards show that offered few surprises. Every front runner won as expected. The only suspense was whether ″The Last Emperor″ would win in all nine nominated categories. It did.

The biggest thrill was seeing Cher win as best actress for ″Moonstruck.″ Cher, like Sally Field before her, has come a long way after a start in music and television that gave little hint of her talent.

The awards show, as it has in recent years, got off to a fast, promising start. The opening number with the dancing gold Oscars was original and rousing. Host Chevy Chase set an irreverent tone when he addressed the audience: ″Good evening, Hollywood phonies.″

The presentation of the animated shorts award by Mickey Mouse, with an assist from Tom Selleck, was an inspired piece of casting.

Last year’s most eloquent winner, Marlee Matlin of ″Children of a Lesser God,″ stole the show again. The hearing-impaired actress spoke as she announced the nominees for best actor and named Michael Douglas as the winner.

Robin Williams, a nominee for best actor and presenter of the Oscar for best director, also stole the show in his own inimitable way. He was very funny, and when he uttered a phrase that could have gotten on the air only on a live show he chortled at his own naughtiness. ″The phones are lighting up, folks,″ he said. ″The number is 1-800-Robin.″

Bernardo Bertolucci won as best director for ″The Last Emperor.″ When he returned later to accept another award as co-writer of the screenplay he explained that the guards wouldn’t let him back into the auditorium until he displayed his Oscar.

The show, scheduled to run three hours, ran slightly more than 3 hours. Not quite a record, but wearily close.

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