61st Annual Academy Awards (1989)
July 17, 2011 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Alan Light has posted dozens of candid shots he took at the 1989 Academy Awards and Governor's Ball. Included in the shots are Lucille Ball a month before her death, River Phoenix, and a very young Drew Barrymore.
posted by stoneweaver (59 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
these are great!
posted by sweetkid at 7:45 PM on July 17, 2011


River Phoenix looks weirdly like Keanu Reeves in that photo.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:48 PM on July 17, 2011


It was probably around the same time... I saw Lucille Ball on stage about to award a gong, and she humbly introduced herself as one "who used to be famous" as if she was addressing an audience of n00bz.

Not sure if she was having a sook, taking the piss, or straight-up. At the time I was leaning toward the latter, and thought it sounded very sad.

Heroes explore to give us hope. River pushed back the envelope.

I drank the slab that Bon Scott drunk. I injected some of Hendrix's junk. I booked a seat on Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane. Mama Cass's sandwich? Ate the same.

I'm on the drug, I'm on the drug, I'm on the drug that killed River Phoenix.

posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:53 PM on July 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Everyone had so much hair back then. Or maybe it was just permed and fluffed out more.
posted by gomichild at 7:54 PM on July 17, 2011


Corey Feldman looks like he's channeling Michael Jackson.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:57 PM on July 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Everyone had so much hair back then.

We all had more hair back then.

Well, I didn't. My hair has been the same for decades. Sad but true. Thankfully, that's not because I'm bald, and is actually because I have fine hair with not much body of its own.

And I'd say that Patrick Stewart didn't have more hair back then, either. But he's got sexxxy baldiness, so he's okay.
posted by hippybear at 8:00 PM on July 17, 2011


An article about Alan Light, and his hobby of taking pictures of the stars.

Seems to be on the up and up. Also he looks a bit like Robert Redford when he's wearing glasses.

And, Jodie Foster.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:02 PM on July 17, 2011


Everyone had so much hair back then. Or maybe it was just permed and fluffed out more.

Oh man, was it permed out and fluffed more. And the styling products in common use were just legendary.

I got up every morning two hours before I had to leave for school, to ensure I'd have enough time in the bathroom to get my hair huge. It's not that I needed all that time to work hands-on, it's that I lived with a mom and a sister who also had hair-fluffing needs to fill. There is still hairspray residue on the walls in my childhood bathroom. My mom still has a giant sack of perm rods under her bathroom sink, leftover from the four-times-a-year perms we'd all give each other. We were too poor for salon perms and man, Mom got good at it. As long as we didn't lose track of how long the solution was on and fry the ends, our perms looked just as good as the girls with money, which is to say, not great, but context is key.

A lot of the dresses take me back to what we wore at school semi-formals. Tons of ruching and random ruffles in unflattering places. It was a weird time for fashion.
posted by padraigin at 8:04 PM on July 17, 2011 [14 favorites]


Check out David Gregory's hair
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:14 PM on July 17, 2011


Oh, this is amazing! The 1989 awards are the first ones I clearly remember watching - as soon as ZeusHumms linked to a pic of Jodie Foster, I knew she was in a blue dress. And I remember Lucille Ball's dress as soon as I saw her photograph.

and a very young Drew Barrymore.


This was six years after ET, so I wouldn't have classified her as very young here - even at 14 years of age. Of course, by the time of that photograph, she'd already been in rehab once and she'd attempt suicide later that year. So, unfortunately, she was no longer young at that point. She had grown up really fast.
posted by crossoverman at 8:14 PM on July 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Smile kid, some day this town could be yours.
posted by clavdivs at 8:20 PM on July 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, Carly Simon. That suit has got to go.
posted by wowbobwow at 8:20 PM on July 17, 2011


Kevin Kline was married to Phoebe Cates in 1989!?

Other thoughts
posted by DigDoug at 8:24 PM on July 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


These are great. Tom Cruise was my age! And hey, Kevin Cline and Phoebe Cates are still married!
posted by janepanic at 8:25 PM on July 17, 2011


Wikipedia says he was born in '47, she was '63... That is actually within the "Half age + 7" parameters in 1989. My mind is still boggling.

I graduated HS in '90. So Ms. Cates might have been uhh, thought of fondly by me. Yeah, let's call it that.
posted by DigDoug at 8:29 PM on July 17, 2011


I'm old. Dammit.
posted by SkinnerSan at 8:31 PM on July 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am young and hung.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:41 PM on July 17, 2011


Now we need someone who's middle-aged and medium-gauged.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:45 PM on July 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was laughing to myself as so many people in these pics look clearly dated by the style of clothes hair ect. And then I found the picture of Geena Davis. Wow, just... Wow... So stunningly, amazingly beautiful. And that dress is so gorgeous!
posted by HMSSM at 8:47 PM on July 17, 2011


Damn. Drew really does have the Barrymore profile, doesn't she? (More proof).
posted by maudlin at 8:49 PM on July 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Corey Feldman looks like he's channeling Michael Jackson.

Honesty in motion.
posted by dhammond at 8:53 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


a very young Drew Barrymore.

/checks Wikipedia
/does subtraction
/...

OK, in my defence, we're the same age, so it's really just my memory of me at the same age ogling her at the...the same age, or something...

No, I'm a dirty old man.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:53 PM on July 17, 2011


I am not remotely nostalgic for my 16th year. But I'm surprised to admit that these photos pretty much match my default mental image for these actors.
posted by desuetude at 9:11 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blossom!
posted by Sreiny at 9:14 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's nice to see that these people look like humans when they're not touched up.
posted by serazin at 9:21 PM on July 17, 2011


The whole set appears to be creative commons commercial re-use, thus popular for use on Wikipedia and I suppose elsewhere. These pictures will become immortal.
posted by stbalbach at 9:22 PM on July 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Alan Light standing behind Tom Cruise
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:28 PM on July 17, 2011


Sigourney Weaver and her dad

Alan Light with Ricki Lake, in matching green outfits? Or more likely black outfits+a problem with the film.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:33 PM on July 17, 2011


Rehearsal photo of “Break-Out Super Stars Of Tomorrow” dance number:
... featuring Tracy Nelson, Keith Coogan, Patrick Dempsey, Ricki Lake, Tyrone Power Jr., Corey Feldman, Joely Fisher, Trisha Leigh Fisher, Savion Glover, Carrie Hamilton, Melora Hardin, Matt Lattanzi, Chad Lowe, Christian Slater, Corey Parker, D. A. Pawley, Holly robinson Peete and Blair Underwood
Oy vey. Also, I had to look up the Wikipedia entry for the 61st Academy Awards to remember what a disaster this show was claimed to be, with no host and many odd entertainment choices like Snow White.

Also, River Phoenix and date Martha Plimpton, who received an Emmy nomination last week.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:39 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Corey Feldman looks like he's channeling Michael Jackson.


Yep, he used to be so pumpkininnnnny
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:01 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


SkinnerSan: "I'm old. Dammit."

I was 18 and about to graduate from high school in March of 1989. These pictures show why, in my heart of hearts, I still hold out hope that Tom Cruise is acting out a huge performance art piece on all of us.

Also, my hair was at least that big every weekday. And most weekends.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 10:26 PM on July 17, 2011


The cop in the Drew Barrymore picture is such a gay porn/stripper cop. That stance! That 'stache!
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:32 PM on July 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wait... why was Lorenzo Lamas at the Oscars?
posted by crossoverman at 11:12 PM on July 17, 2011


You should be asking, why was Roy Rogers?
Just kidding. I love Roy Rogers.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:45 PM on July 17, 2011


That stance!

It is quite wide, isn't it.
posted by unigolyn at 2:06 AM on July 18, 2011


Corey Feldman looks like he's channeling Michael Jackson.

Wasn't that rumored to be literally happening at that time?
posted by fairmettle at 4:13 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Drew really does have the Barrymore profile, doesn't she?

If by the Barrymore profile you mean a gerbil implanted in her chin, then yes.

(Great post, thanks.)
posted by Gator at 4:56 AM on July 18, 2011


It's funny how some people look horrendously dated and of their time (Olivia Newton-John, I'm looking at you!) yet others manage to look timelessly elegant (Geena Davis, Sigourney Weaver). Ah, the '80s. So much hairspray, so little accessorizing restraint.
posted by Go Banana at 5:07 AM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


How has Sigourney Weaver not aged a day in 22 years? And could there be any name less sexy than "Martha Plimpton"?
posted by DU at 5:36 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw Lucille Ball on stage about to award a gong, and she humbly introduced herself as one "who used to be famous" as if she was addressing an audience of n00bz.

I am interested in how people who fall into obscurity interact with audiences who may or may not know who they are. A few years ago I saw Gabe Kaplan do his one of his first stand-up gigs in decades (he left show biz to become a professional poker player) and after he came out on stage and introduced himself, he paused for a few seconds and said, ""Right now half of you are explaining to the other half of you who I am."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:40 AM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


It took me a minute to figure out why these were so remarkable for their time, and of course it's that today, every event attendee's every move is captured on the red carpet by one million paparazzi, both professional and amateur, since everyone has a camera and video camera in their pocket these days. The window of time to stand around and be publicly gawked at is now the main event, and lasts almost as long as the awards show itself. There are simply no more moments that go undocumented.

To have seen these people at this party in 1989 meant you watched the live broadcast on Sunday night, and maybe you recorded it on VHS—that is, if your family had a VCR and if you had two blank tapes available. You may have seen a couple of best-dressed candids in People the next week, or seen the top-tier teen stars in Seventeen or Tiger Beat. (I know that as a teen in 1989, I felt obligated to watch shows like this, or else I wouldn't be able to discuss this or that outfit the next day at school, or ruminate on which Brat Packer appeared coked up or drunk.)

No one's clothing or appearance was disseminated in real time. The stars hadn't sent out via their publicist a full advance presser of the make and model of everything on their bodies down to the moisturizer. The stylists and makeup artists who created the look weren't household names; we still believed that the stars dressed themselves in plush boudoirs in Brentwood before leisurely climbing into the limousine. The stars were delivering style to us; we still believed that gowns and jewelry were chosen the same way we might choose a dress for the prom, albeit on a far grander scale. It wasn't yet common knowledge that celebs were compensated for wearing this label or that designer.

You couldn't go online and buy knock-offs of the red carpet gowns 48 hours later. And there wasn't going to be another red carpet event a few days later. If you missed the Oscars, you wouldn't see Celebs Done Up again until maybe the MTV VMAs in August.

I miss that time when celebrities 1. were famous for having some kind of skill (i.e. ≠ Kardashian, Hilton) 2. weren't so accessible to us regular people. I don't know that "familiarity breeds contempt" has ever been truer than today. I don't need to know what Demi Moore or Russell Brand is thinking every five minutes of the day. Frankly, I liked them all far better when I didn't (i.e. Charlie Sheen).

It's not only special that Alan Light got to be there and got to take these pictures, but that he is sharing them on Flickr today, rather than trying to sell them to a tabloid for some paltry amount of cash. He got access back then that precious few did, and he's sharing it with us now like we were all there. Pretty neat.
posted by pineapple at 5:41 AM on July 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


Mimi Rogers looks like Tom Cruise's mom.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:26 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sigourney Weaver looks great in everything.
posted by Trurl at 6:30 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I keep looking at the tab title and thinking I missed almost 2000 new comments.
posted by heatvision at 6:36 AM on July 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


The cop in the far right of the Drew Barrymore picture looks like he could tear off his quick-release pants at any second.
posted by Cyrano at 7:26 AM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Great find -- and the photog does indeed resemble Redford.
posted by davidmsc at 7:28 AM on July 18, 2011


Rehearsal photo of “Break-Out Super Stars Of Tomorrow” dance number:

... featuring Tracy Nelson, Keith Coogan, Patrick Dempsey, Ricki Lake, Tyrone Power Jr., Corey Feldman, Joely Fisher, Trisha Leigh Fisher, Savion Glover, Carrie Hamilton, Melora Hardin, Matt Lattanzi, Chad Lowe, Christian Slater, Corey Parker, D. A. Pawley, Holly robinson Peete and Blair Underwood


I just spent some time down the IMDB rabbit hole looking up some of those people to see (a) why they were known at the time; (b) what they did after 1989; and (c) how famous their parents were. You could pretty much break this list in half between "People With Famous Parents (plus Mr. Olivia Newton-John)" and "People Without Famous Parents" Most of the first group (Tracy Nelson, Keith Coogan,Tyrone Power Jr.,Joely Fisher, Trisha Leigh Fisher, Carrie Hamilton, Matt Lattanzi) vanished into obscurity and forgettable roles since then. Most of the rest (Patrick Dempsey, Ricki Lake, Savion Glover, Chad Lowe, Christian Slater, Blair Underwood) did fairly well for themselves. Except for D.A. Pawley. I have no idea who he is or why he was there.
posted by Dojie at 8:27 AM on July 18, 2011


Mimi Rogers' outfit was hideous even in 1989. Wow. Conversely, Goldie Hawn wears a variation on that same stunning dress every awards show, for that past 30 years. With the same hairdo, too.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:01 AM on July 18, 2011


Light's buddy Michael Levitt was the one who got him the access passes -- and it looks like he's had a fairly successful career of producing award shows.

I also found this clipping to be interesting. Sounds like he made this sort of thing a full-time hobby.
posted by paisley sheep at 10:40 AM on July 18, 2011


Corey Feldman looks like he's channeling Michael Jackson.

That's nothing.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:06 AM on July 18, 2011


While these pictures are dated 1989, I assume they were taken for the awards for best movies of 1988 which included Rain Man (Hoffman), The Accused (Foster), A Fish Called Wanda (Kline), and Accidental Tourist (Davis).

A mighty good year for films.
posted by msamsel at 11:33 AM on July 18, 2011


I like how the context makes it look like the police are wearing costumes too.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:19 PM on July 18, 2011


Lord, Mimi Rogers, with all that money Tom had even then, and this was the best thing you could find to wear? I mean, did you even look at the back of it before you bought it? Anne Archer, weren't you dying of heat in all that fur? It gives me a pang to see Patrick Swayze looking so young and alive. Jodie Foster looks like a young girl having a wonderful time at her prom, and Tom Cruise looks like a freshly scrubbed young boy. Damn, but Rob Lowe was handsome (and still is), but this was the year he got suckered into doing that notorious Snow White number. I don't know why Dale Evans and Roy Rogers thought it was a good idea to wear those tacky matching rodeo numbers at every public appearance. You didn't see Lucille Ball showing up in a housedress or with chocolate all over her face.
posted by orange swan at 12:28 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait... why was Lorenzo Lamas at the Oscars?

A better question is why isn't he always?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:19 PM on July 18, 2011


I don't know why Dale Evans and Roy Rogers thought it was a good idea to wear those tacky matching rodeo numbers at every public appearance.

Nudie's Rodeo Tailors surpasses tackiness. It surpasses style. The cowboy suits created by Nudie Cohn were, and to those who still have them, are a lifestyle.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:22 PM on July 18, 2011


Have to say, I think Roy Rogers and Dale Evans are adorable and timeless in their matching cowboy suits + neckerchiefs.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:26 PM on July 18, 2011


But Gram Parsons' Nudie suit—some say the harbinger of his death and cremation—was the finest of them all.
The white coat, cut high to show off a handtooled leather belt, had large multicolored pills along the sleeves: white-crossed amphetamines, red barbiturates, and green and blue capsules to symbolize some combination of the two. Kelly green cannabis leaves snaked up the front, and bright pink poppies stood out at each shoulder. The lapels bore carefully embroidered naked women, the cartoonish renderings recalling the cover girl from Sweetheart of the Rodeo, stripped bare. The pants flared out at the bottom with bright red inserts, and flames rose up from the flares, licking at the poppies that sat at the point of each low-cut hip. But the centerpiece was the jacket’s back, emblazoned with a red cross, rays of light streaming out of it like a massive prison tattoo, a cholo cross.

posted by pineapple at 1:48 PM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]



I don't know why Dale Evans and Roy Rogers thought it was a good idea to wear those tacky matching rodeo numbers at every public appearance.

I think if you are Roy Rogers (or the Lone Ranger), you are expected to wear stuff like that.

It's the difference between:

"who are those two old people"

and

"holy shit, it's the Lone Ranger!"
posted by gjc at 2:50 PM on July 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't know why Dale Evans and Roy Rogers thought it was a good idea to wear those tacky matching rodeo numbers at every public appearance.

I think it's sweet and awesome myself. The awards are all about show business, and, after all, who would recognize Lenny Slye and Frances Smith in standard evening wear after 100 movies wearing both the costumes and the names? It's a rare bit of honesty to treat the Academy Awards like the Rose Bowl parade, and as much a trademark as Lucy's carefully doctored red hair.

And it was all planned anyway. I have few doubts that the red carpet treatment and good seats in the auditorium were all about showing up in the costume to provide a sense of nostalgia.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:14 PM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


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