1968 Academy Awards Postponed Due To Martin Luther King Jr.'s Assassination

By Jacob Shelton
Sammy Davis Jr. and Barbra Streisand, as the latter presents him with an Oscar, for best song first used in an eligible motion picture, Talk to the Animals during Academy Awards presentations, April 10, 1968. Source: Bettmann / Contributor, via Getty

When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, the world was shocked. The nation paused for soul-searching and recovery, and that extended to the 40th annual Academy Awards, initially scheduled for April 8, 1968. Oscar night was postponed for two days in order to give people time to process what was happening and to allow stars who were supporters of King and who wanted to attend his funeral. 1968 was a time of social upheaval and it was clear at the Academy Awards that things were changing - from the types of films that were nominated to the way that the stars responded to current events.