53rd Academy Awards

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53rd Academy Awards
53rd Academy Awards.jpg
Date March 31, 1981
Site Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles
Hosted by Johnny Carson
Produced by Norman Jewison
Directed by Marty Pasetta
Best Picture Ordinary People
Most awards Ordinary People (4)
Most nominations The Elephant Man and Raging Bull (8)
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Duration 3 hours, 13 minutes

The 53rd Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 1980, were presented March 31, 1981, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. The ceremonies, which were presided over by Johnny Carson, were originally scheduled for the previous day but were postponed due to the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

David Lynch's The Elephant Man and Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull, with eight nominations each, had the most nominations of this year's films. Their nominations included Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. Michael Apted's Coal Miner's Daughter received seven nominations while Ordinary People and Tess received six.

The year's winner of acting categories also marked as the closest span ever between the four winners, all of whom were under 40 when they won the award. Robert De Niro was 37 when awarded Best Actor, Sissy Spacek was 31 when awarded Best Actress, Timothy Hutton was 20 when awarded Best Supporting Actor, and Mary Steenburgen was 28 when awarded Best Supporting Actress. In addition, Hutton was the youngest ever Best Supporting Actor winner. His award was one of four that Ordinary People won, more than any other movie; the movie also won Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Redford and Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for Alvin Sargent.

The lack of recognition for Christopher Tucker's make-up work on The Elephant Man prompted the creation of the Academy Award for Best Makeup the following year.

Best Supporting Actress nominee Eva Le Gallienne was born in 1899, which made her the last acting nominee to be born in the nineteenth century. As of 2017, this is the earliest Oscars for which all five directing nominees are still living.


Photo of Robert Redford at the US Embassy in London in 2012.
Robert Redford, Best Director winner
Photo of Robert De Niro at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.
Robert De Niro, Best Actor winner
Photo of Sissy Spacek receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 1, 2011.
Sissy Spacek, Best Actress winner
Photo of Timothy Hutton at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.
Timothy Hutton, Best Supporting Actor winner
Photo of Mary Steenbergen receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 16, 2009.
Mary Steenburgen, Best Supporting Actress winner

Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface and indicated with a double dagger (double-dagger).[1]

Best Picture Best Director
Best Actor Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor Best Supporting Actress
Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Documentary Feature Best Documentary Short Subject
Best Dramatic Live Action Short Film Best Animated Short Film
Best Original Score Best Original Song
Best Sound Best Costume Design
Best Art Direction Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing

Academy Honorary Award

Special Achievement Award

Presenters and performers

The following individuals, listed in order of appearance, presented awards or performed musical numbers.


Name Role
Simms, HankHank Simms Announcer for the 53rd annual Academy Awards
Reagan, RonaldRonald Reagan (pre-recorded) Gave opening remarks welcoming guests to the awards ceremony
Lemmon, JackJack Lemmon Presenters of the award for Best Supporting Actor
Moore, Mary TylerMary Tyler Moore
Arkin, AlanAlan Arkin Presenters of the Short Films Awards
Kidder, MargotMargot Kidder
Tomlin, LilyLily Tomlin Presenter of the Medal of Commendation
Down, Lesley-AnneLesley-Anne Down Presenters of the Documentary Awards
Chamberlain, RichardRichard Chamberlain
O'Toole, PeterPeter O'Toole Presenters of the award for Best Art Direction
Spacek, SissySissy Spacek
Kinski, NastassjaNastassja Kinski Presenters of the award for Best Costume Design
Weaver, SigourneySigourney Weaver
Valenti, JackJack Valenti Presenter of the award for Best Visual Effects
Peters, BernadetteBernadette Peters Presenters of the award for Best Sound
Williams, Billy DeeBilly Dee Williams
Shields, BrookeBrooke Shields Presenters of the award for Best Foreign Language Film
Zeffirelli, FrancoFranco Zeffirelli
The Nicholas Brothers Presenters of the award for Best Original Score
Pryor, RichardRichard Pryor Presenters of the award for Best Film Editing
Seymour, JaneJane Seymour
Ross, DianaDiana Ross Presenters of the award for Best Supporting Actress
Sutherland, DonaldDonald Sutherland
Dickinson, AngieAngie Dickinson Presenters of the award for Best Original Song
Pavarotti, LucianoLuciano Pavarotti
Ustinov, PeterPeter Ustinov Presenters of the Writing Awards
Redford, RobertRobert Redford Presenter of the Honorary Award to Henry Fonda
Danner, BlytheBlythe Danner Presenters of the award for Best Cinematography
Martin, SteveSteve Martin
Cukor, GeorgeGeorge Cukor Presenters of the award for Best Director
Vidor, KingKing Vidor
Field, SallySally Field Presenter of the award for Best Actor
Hoffman, DustinDustin Hoffman Presenter of the award for Best Actress
Gish, LillianLillian Gish Presenter of the award for Best Picture


Name Role Performed
Mancini, HenryHenry Mancini Musical arranger and Conductor Orchestral
Arnaz, LucieLucie Arnaz Performer "Hooray for Hollywood"
Nelson, WillieWillie Nelson Performer "On the Road Again" from Honeysuckle Rose
Cara, IreneIrene Cara Performer "Fame" and "Out Here On My Own" from Fame
Parton, DollyDolly Parton Performer "9 to 5" from Nine to Five
Warwick, DionneDionne Warwick Performer "People Alone" from The Competition
Academy Awards Orchestra, Academy Awards Orchestra Performers "Hooray for Hollywood (reprise)" (orchestral) during the closing credits

Multiple nominations and awards

See also


  1. ^ "The 53rd Academy Awards (1981) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Archived from the original on 2014-11-10. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
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