54th Academy Awards

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54th Academy Awards
Official poster for the 54th Academy Awards in 1982
Official poster
DateMarch 29, 1982
SiteDorothy Chandler Pavilion
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Hosted byJohnny Carson
Produced byHoward W. Koch
Melvin Frank
Directed byMarty Pasetta
Best PictureChariots of Fire
Most awardsRaiders of the Lost Ark (5)
Most nominationsReds (12)
TV in the United States
Duration3 hours, 32 minutes[1]
Ratings46.2 million
33.6% (Nielsen ratings)

The 54th Academy Awards ceremony, organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored films released in 1981 and took place on March 29, 1982, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles beginning at 6:00 p.m. PST / 9:00 p.m. EST. During the ceremony, AMPAS presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 22 categories. The ceremony, televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Howard W. Koch and directed by Marty Pasetta.[2] Comedian and talk show host Johnny Carson hosted the show for the third consecutive time. One week earlier, in a ceremony held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, on March 21, the Academy Scientific and Technical Awards were presented by hosts Lloyd Bridges and Fay Kanin.[3]

Chariots of Fire won four awards, including Best Picture.[4] Other winners included Raiders of the Lost Ark with five awards, On Golden Pond and Reds with three, Arthur with two, and An American Werewolf in London, Close Harmony, Crac, Genocide, Mephisto, and Violet with one. The telecast garnered 46.2 million viewers in the United States.

Winners and nominees[edit]

David Puttnam, Best Picture winner
Warren Beatty, Best Director winner
Henry Fonda, Best Actor winner
Katharine Hepburn, Best Actress winner
John Gielgud, Best Supporting Actor winner
Maureen Stapleton, Best Supporting Actress winner
Ernest Thompson, Best Adapted Screenplay winner
István Szabó, Best Foreign Language Film winner
Frédéric Back, Best Animated Short Film winner
Burt Bacharach, Best Original Song co-winner
Carole Bayer Sager, Best Original Song co-winner
Christopher Cross, Best Original Song co-winner
Peter Allen, Best Original Song co-winner
Rick Baker, Best Makeup winner
Milena Canonero, Best Costume Design winner
Vittorio Storaro, Best Cinematography winner
Richard Edlund, Best Visual Effects co-winner
Joe Johnston, Best Visual Effects co-winner

The nominees for the 54th Academy Awards were announced on February 11, 1982, by Academy president Fay Kanin and actor Lloyd Bridges.[5] Reds earned the most nominations with 12; On Golden Pond came in second with ten.[6] The winners were announced at the awards ceremony on March 29. Best Director winner Warren Beatty became the first person to earn acting, directing, producing, and screenwriting nominations for the same film for the second time. He previously earned nominations in the same categories for 1978's Heaven Can Wait.[7][8] On Golden Pond was the fifth film to win both lead acting awards.[9] Best Actress winner Katharine Hepburn became the first and only performer to win four competitive acting Oscars.[10] Furthermore, the 48-year span between her first win for 1933's Morning Glory and her last win for On Golden Pond, set the record for the longest span between first and last career Oscar nominations.[11]


Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface and indicated with a double dagger (double-dagger).[12]

Honorary Academy Award[edit]

  • Barbara Stanwyck – "For superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting."[13]

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award[edit]

The award recognizes individuals whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the motion picture industry.[14]

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award[edit]

The award honors "creative producers whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production".[15]

Special Achievement Academy Award[edit]

Multiple nominations and awards[edit]

Presenters and performers[edit]

The following individuals, listed in order of appearance, presented awards or performed musical numbers.[17]


Name Role
Hank Simms[18] Announcer for the 54th Academy Awards
Fay Kanin (AMPAS President) Gave opening remarks welcoming guests to the awards ceremony
Timothy Hutton Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actress
Karen Allen
Howard E. Rollins Jr.
Presenters of the award for Best Art Direction
Kim Hunter
Vincent Price
Presenters of the award for Best Makeup
Roger Moore Presenter of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to Albert R. Broccoli
William Hurt
Kathleen Turner
Presenters of the award for Best Original Score
Morgan Fairchild
Robert Hays
Presenters of the award for Best Costume Design
Dan Aykroyd Presenter of the award for Best Visual Effects
Richard Benjamin
Paula Prentiss
Presenters of the awards for Best Documentary Short Subject and Documentary Feature
Paul Williams
Debra Winger
Presenters of the awards for Best Animated Short Film and Best Live Action Short Film
Chevy Chase
Rachel Ward
Presenters of the award for Best Cinematography
John Travolta Presenter of the Honorary Award to Barbara Stanwyck
Christopher Atkins
Kristy McNichol
Presenters of the award for Best Sound
Ornella Muti
Jack Valenti
Presenters of the award for Best Foreign Language Film
Ursula Andress
Harry Hamlin
Presenters of the award for Best Film Editing
Bette Midler Presenter of the award for Best Original Song
Gregory Peck Presenter of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Danny Kaye
Carol Burnett
Joel Grey
Presenters of the award for Best Supporting Actor
Jack Lemmon
Walter Matthau
Presenters of the award for Best Director
Jerzy Kosiński Presenter of the awards for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Jon Voight Presenter of the award for Best Actress
Sissy Spacek Presenter of the award for Best Actor
Loretta Young Presenter of the award for Best Picture


Name Role Performed
Bill Conti Musical arranger
Kermit the Frog
Miss Piggy
Performers "The First Time It Happens" from The Great Muppet Caper
Sheena Easton
Richard Kiel
Harold Sakata
Performers "For Your Eyes Only" from For Your Eyes Only
Liberace Performer Medley of the nominated scores
Lionel Richie
Diana Ross
Performers "Endless Love" from Endless Love
John Schneider Performer "One More Hour" from Ragtime
Debbie Allen
Gregory Hines
Performers Performed a musical tribute to Harry Warren[19]
Christopher Cross Performer "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" from Arthur
Academy Awards Chorus Performers "That’s Entertainment!"

Ceremony information[edit]

Johnny Carson in 1970
Johnny Carson hosted the 54th Academy Awards.

In November 1981, the Academy hired film director, screenwriter, and producer Melvin Frank to produce the telecast for the first time. "The Academy is fortunate that Melvin Frank has agreed to make himself available for our show, said AMPAS President Fay Kanin in a press release announcing the selection. "He joins a distinguished list of producers who have consistently made the Academy Awards the entertainment highlight of the year."[20] Two months later, it was announced that comedian and The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson would preside over emceeing duties for the 1982 ceremony.[21] However, in February 1982, Howard W. Koch took over producing duties after Frank had been hospitalized for complications stemming from a virus.[22] Koch stated that all artistic contributions made by Frank would remain during the production of the festivities.[23]

Introduction of Best Makeup award[edit]

Beginning with this ceremony, AMPAS introduced a new competitive award that would honor achievement in makeup. According to Academy executive administrator John Pavlik, the category would be presented if a special committee composed of makeup artists, hairstylists, cinematographers, and other related craftspeople determined that at least one film was deemed worthy of such awards. A maximum of seven films eligible would be needed for the award to be handed out. The committee would determine the number of nominees with five being the highest possible count.[24] Prior to the introduction of this category, 1964's 7 Faces of Dr. Lao and 1968's Planet of the Apes were given special honorary awards.[25]

Critical reviews[edit]

St. Petersburg Times film critic Thomas Sabulis wrote, "The Academy Awards show was a reasonably good television product. The acceptance speeches were thankfully brief and concise."[26] Columnist Janet Maslin of The New York Times remarked, "Thanks largely to the fancifulness of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' voters, Monday night's Oscar presentation was the most exciting in recent years. When the awards show itself is something less than swift or glamorous, which was certainly the case this year, it can still come to life if the voting takes a sufficiently strange turn."[19] St. Petersberg Times critic Thomas Sabulis commented, "The Academy Awards show was a reasonably good television product. The acceptance speeches were thankfully brief and concise. When winners were not present to receive awards, the presenters quickly accepted for them."[27]

Harold Schindler of The Salt Lake Tribune called the ceremony "a three-and-a-half-hour marathon which sparkled in spots, sputtered in others. and featured some of the most uneven casting in the program's history."[28] Austin American-Statesman film critic Patrick Taggart quipped, "Whether or not the awards will be taken more seriously in the future, the ceremony last Monday night certainly had the dreariness one associates with serious events."[29] The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Desmond Ryan commented that due to many winners being absent from the festivities, "An already dull evening lapsed into long stretches of tedium."[30]

Ratings and reception[edit]

The American telecast on ABC drew in an average of 46.2 million people over the length of the entire ceremony, which was a 6% increase from the previous year's ceremony.[31] Moreover, the show drew higher Nielsen ratings compared to the previous ceremony with 33.6% of households watching with a 53% share.[32]

In August 1982, the ceremony presentation received three nominations at the 34th Primetime Emmys.[33] The following month, it won an award for Ray Klausen's art direction of the program.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Including the Special Achievement Award


  1. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 612
  2. ^ Osborne 2013, p. 413
  3. ^ "Past Scientific & Technical Awards Ceremonies". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on February 13, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  4. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (March 30, 1982). "Chariots of Fire, Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda win Top Oscars". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  5. ^ "On Golden Pond Top Oscar Contender". Boca Raton News. February 11, 1982.
  6. ^ Tuck, Lon (February 12, 1982). "And the Nominees Are..." The Washington Post. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  7. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 1138
  8. ^ Emerson, Jim (February 11, 2007). "Questions for the Academy". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on March 13, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  9. ^ Osborne 2013, p. 423
  10. ^ Holden 1993, p. 608
  11. ^ Davis, Clayton (May 12, 2021). "In Celebration of Katharine Hepburn's Birthday, Here Are 12 Actors Who Should Also Have Four Oscar Wins". Variety. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  12. ^ "The 54th Academy Awards (1982) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  13. ^ a b c "Academy Awards Acceptance Speech Database". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  14. ^ "Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  15. ^ "Irvin G. Thalberg Memorial Award". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on January 1, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  16. ^ Franks 2005, p. 249
  17. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 608
  18. ^ Terrance 2013, p. 14
  19. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (March 31, 1982). "TV: Offbeat Votes Made Oscar Night a Winner". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  20. ^ "Melvin Frank to Produce 54th Oscar Show". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. November 16, 1981. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
  21. ^ "Johnny Carson to Serves As Master of Ceremonies for 54th Annual Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. January 12, 1982. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  22. ^ Pollock, Dale (February 17, 1982). "Fanfare on a Fast Track at Columbia". Los Angeles Times. p. 75.
  23. ^ "Howard W. Koch to Take Over Production of Academy Awards Show". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. February 19, 1982. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
  24. ^ Arar, Yardena (December 18, 1981). "Makeup Artists to Get Oscar Category". Oakland Tribune. p. C-4.
  25. ^ "Motion Picture Academy to Honnor Makeup Artists". Santa Cruz Sentinel. December 18, 1981. p. 29.
  26. ^ Sabulis, Thomas (March 31, 1982). "Oscar Strikes a Balance in Honoring 1981 Films". St. Petersburg Times. p. 2D.
  27. ^ Sabulis, Thomas. "Oscar Strikes a Balance in Honoring 1981 Films". St. Petersburg Times. p. D5.
  28. ^ Schindler, Harold (March 31, 1982). "Oscar Night Was a Drawn-Out Marathon". The Salt Lake Tribune. p. C5.
  29. ^ Taggart, Patrick (April 4, 1982). "New Credibility". Austin American-Statesman. p. 179.
  30. ^ Ryan, Desmond (March 31, 1982). "The Swift, The Old Shine with Oscar". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. 5D.
  31. ^ "Top-10 Most Watched Academy Awards Broadcasts". Nielsen N.V. February 18, 2009. Archived from the original on January 27, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  32. ^ Holston, Noel (April 10, 1982). "ABC Takes Ratings Top Stop with Some Help From Oscar". Orlando Sentinel. p. B10.
  33. ^ Margulies, Lee (August 6, 1982). "Emmy Award Nominations: The Peacock Shows its Colors". Los Angeles Times. pp. 101, 104.
  34. ^ "The Fifty-Fourth Annual Academy Awards". Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved September 12, 2022.


External links[edit]

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