LOS ANGELES -- Dustin Hoffman was named best actor for his portrayal of an autistic man with flashes of genius in 'Rain Man' and Jodie Foster was declared best actress for her part as a rape victim in 'The Accused' at a glittering 61st annual Academy Awards ceremonies Wednesday night.
'I'm supposed to be jaded by this point,' said an emotional Hoffman, who took home his second best actor Oscar. '(But) I'm very honored. ... I want to thank all the autistic people I talked to and their families,' he said, referring to the research he did for his role.
Barry Levinson was named best director for 'Rain Man,' which led all other films with eight nominations. It also picked up an award for best original screenplay and was the favorite to bring home the coveted best picture Oscar.
The touching drama of the cross-country trek of an autistic savant and his greedy brother won universal critical acclaim and continued to top all other best picture nominees at the box office with a gross of $135 million in 15 weeks.
Geena Davis won the Oscar for best supporting actress and Kevin Kline was named best supporting actor.
'I felt I had a one in five chance at least,' Davis joked backstage. 'I'm rather stunned.' Davis won for her portrayal of a free-spirited dog trainer in 'The Accidental Tourist.'
'This is astonishing,' said Kline, who played a trigger-happy jewel thief in 'A Fish Called Wanda' and was a surprise winner for his non-dramatic role. 'So often comic performances are overlooked,' he said backstage. 'I think this is very encouraging.'
'Pelle the Conqueror' from Denmark, the story of an old Swede who immigrates to Denmark to give his son a brighter future, was named best foreign language film.
Hoffman, who has been nominated six times for best actor, previously won an Oscar for his role in 'Kramer vs. Kramer' in 1979.
Also in the running for best picture with seven nominations each were 'Dangerous Liaisons,' a study of sexual immorality in pre-revolutionary France and 'Mississippi Burning,' based on the FBI investigation into the murder of three civil rights workers in the 1960s.
'Mississippi Burning' won for best cinematography and 'Dangerous Liaisons,' an elegant period film, picked up three awards for best art direction, costume design and screenplay based on material from another medium.
Rounding out the best picture category were 'The Accidental Tourist,' a romantic drama about an introverted writer torn between two women, and 'Working Girl,' a Cinderella comedy that takes place in an office tower.
The three-hour awards presentation at the 6,000-seat Shrine Auditorium was broadcast live on ABC to an estimated worldwide audience of 1 billion viewers, according to Allan Carr, producer of the show.
The animated detective story 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit,' which has earned more money at the box-office than any other film but failed to win any major nominations, won awards for film editing, sound effects editing and visual effects, and animation director Richard Williams was given a special achievement award.
Challenging Hoffman for best actor were Gene Hackman, Tom Hanks, Edward James Olmos and Max von Sydow.
Foster's rivals for best actress were Glenn Close as an amoral marquise in 'Dangerous Liaisons'; Melanie Griffith as an upwardly mobile secretary in 'Working Girl'; Meryl Streep playing an Australian woman accused of murdering her daughter in 'A Cry in the Dark,' and Sigourney Weaver as anthropologist Dian Fossey in 'Gorillas in the Mist.'
In the director category, Levinson was up against Charles Crichton for 'A Fish Called Wanda,' Alan Parker for 'Mississippi Burning,' Mike Nichols for 'Working Girl' and Martin Scorsese for 'The Last Temptation of Christ,' the only nomination for the controversial film depicting Jesus as all-too-human.
For the first time in its 61-year history, the Academy Awards show was without a master of ceremonies. Instead, each production number, song, film clip and nominee was introduced by a different pair of performers.
Also, instead of saying, 'And the winner is ...' presenters were instructed to say, 'And the Oscar goes to ...' to make the ceremony seem less like a competition.
Carr said some 80 stars and near-stars were signed up as entertainers or presenters of the familiar golden statuettes to the winners in 23 categories.
Also taking part in the activities were veterans Cher, Michael Douglas, Bob Hope, James Stewart, Kim Novak, Doris Day, Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Jane Fonda, Walter Matthau and Lucille Ball.
In other awards, the Charlie Parker story 'Bird' won for sound, and the ghost comedy 'Beetlejuice' won for best makeup.
Dave Grusin won the award for best original score for 'The Milagro Beanfield War.' An honorary award was given to the National Film Board of Canada.
Carly Simon's 'Let the River Run' from 'Working Girl' was named best song.
'Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie' was named best feature-length documentary, and 'You Don't Have to Die' won best short subject documentary.