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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
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, was originally scheduled the previous day but 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.


Award Winner Nominee(s)
Best Actor in a Leading Role Robert De NiroRaging Bull
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Timothy HuttonOrdinary People
Best Actress in a Leading Role Sissy SpacekCoal Miner's Daughter
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Mary SteenburgenMelvin and Howard
Best Art Direction Tess – Art Direction: Pierre Guffroy, Jack Stephens
Best Cinematography TessGeoffrey Unsworth, Ghislain Cloquet
Best Costume Design TessAnthony Powell
Best Director Robert RedfordOrdinary People
Best Documentary (Feature) From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in ChinaMurray Lerner, Producer
Best Documentary (Short Subject) Karl Hess: Toward Liberty – Roland Hallé and Peter W. Ladue, Producers
Best Film Editing Raging BullThelma Schoonmaker
Best Foreign Language Film Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears – Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Best Music (Original Score) FameMichael Gore
Best Music (Original Song) "Fame" from Fame – Music by Michael Gore, Lyric by Dean Pitchford
Best Picture Ordinary People – Ronald L. Schwary, Producer
Best Short Film (Animated) "The Fly" – Ferenc Rofusz, Producer
  • "All Nothing" – Frédéric Back, Producer
  • "History of the World in Three Minutes Flat" – Michael Mills, Producer
Best Short Film (Dramatic Live Action) "The Dollar Bottom" – Lloyd Phillips, Producer
  • "Fall Line" – Bob Carmichael and Greg Lowe, Producers
  • "A Jury of Her Peers" – Sally Heckel, Producer
Best Sound The Empire Strikes Back – Bill Varney, Steve Maslow, Gregg Landaker, Peter Sutton
Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium) Ordinary PeopleAlvin Sargent
Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) Melvin and HowardBo Goldman

Out of competition




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