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53rd Academy Awards

53rd Academy Awards
Date Tuesday, March 31, 1981
Site Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles
Host Johnny Carson
Producer Norman Jewison
Director 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
 < 52nd Academy Awards 54th > 

The 53rd Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 1980, were presented March 31, 1981, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 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 8 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 7 nominations while Ordinary People and The Stunt Man were also nominated.

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.

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 and Hairstyling 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 2014, this is the earliest Oscars for which all five directing nominees are still living.


  • Awards 1
    • Academy Honorary Award 1.1
    • Special Achievement Award 1.2
    • Presenters 1.3
    • Performers 1.4
    • Multiple nominations and awards 1.5
  • See also 2
  • References 3


Robert Redford, Best Director winner
Robert De Niro, Best Actor winner
Sissy Spacek, Best Actress winner
Timothy Hutton, Best Supporting Actor winner
Mary Steenburgen, Best Supporting Actress winner

Winners are listed first and highlighted in boldface.[1]

Best Picture Best Director
Best Actor Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor Best Supporting Actress
Best Original Screenplay Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film Best Film Editing
Best Documentary Feature Best Documentary Short
Best Live Action Short Best Animated Short
Best Original Score Best Original Song
Best Art Direction Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design Best Sound

Academy Honorary Award

Special Achievement Award


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


Name Performed
Lucie Arnaz "Hooray for Hollywood"
Willie Nelson "On the Road Again" from Honeysuckle Rose
Irene Cara "Fame" and "Out Here On My Own" from Fame
Dolly Parton "9 to 5" from Nine to Five
Dionne Warwick "People Alone" from The Competition

Multiple nominations and awards

See also


  1. ^ "The 53rd Academy Awards (1981) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  • "The Official Academy Awards Database".  
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