Best Picture: Kramer vs. Kramer
Kramer vs. Kramer also won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep), Directing (Robert Benton), and Writing – Screenplay based on material from another medium (Robert Benton).
Eight-year-old Justin Henry became the youngest nominee in a competitive category in the Academy’s history for his supporting performance in Kramer vs. Kramer.
Johnny Carson was the master of ceremonies for the second year in a row.
Presenters included Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Gene Kelly, Dolly Parton, and Bo Derek.
Donald O’Connor and 32 dancers saluted famous movie choreographers and the musical film genre in a number called Dancin’ on the Silver Screen.
Kermit the Frog sang one of the year’s nominated songs, The Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie.
On March 28, 1979, a partial core meltdown occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.
In April 1979, President Jimmy Carter was attacked by a swamp rabbit while fishing in Georgia.
In August 1979, the first British naturist beach at a major resort was approved by the town council of Brighton.
In August 1979, Michael Jackson released his breakthrough solo album, Off the Wall.
On September 7, 1979, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) made its debut.
On November 4, 1979, Islamic militants seized the American Embassy in Tehran, and 66 people were taken as hostages.
On November 5, 1979, the radio program Morning Edition premiered on NPR.
On December 6, 1979, Star Trek – The Motion Picture premiered in Washington, D.C. It opened nationwide on December 7, 1979, and broke box office records by grossing almost $12 million in the U.S. in its first three days of release.
Special Achievement Award
To Alan Splet for Sound Editing, The Black Stallion.
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
To Robert Benjamin.
To Alec Guinness for advancing the art of screen acting through a host of memorable and distinguished performances.
To Hal Elias for his dedication and distinguished service to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
To Ray Stark.