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The 52nd Academy Awards (1980)

Held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Monday, April 14, 1980,
honoring movies released in 1979.

Best Director Robert Benton, Best Actress Meryl Streep and Best Picture winner Stanley R. Jaffe ("Kramer VS. Kramer") with Dustin Hoffman.

Directing and adapted screenplay winner Robert Benton, Best Supporting Actress Meryl Streep, Best Actor Dustin Hoffman and Best Picture winner Stanley R. Jaffe ("Kramer vs. Kramer").

Best Picture

Kramer VS. Kramer Full Image

"Kramer vs. Kramer"

Stanley Jaffe Productions; Columbia.

Best Actress

Best Actress Sally Field ("Norma Rae"). Full Image

Sally Field

Best Actress Sally Field ("Norma Rae").

Honorary Award

Honorary Award winner Alec Guinness. Full Image

Alec Guinness

Honorary Award winner Alec Guinness.

The Year

  • Meryl Streep
  • Sally Field
  • Alec Guinness
  • Best Picture: "Kramer vs. Kramer"
    • "Kramer vs. Kramer" also won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep), Directing (Robert Benton), and Writing – Screenplay based on material from another medium (Robert Benton).
  • Eight-year-old Justin Henry became the youngest nominee in a competitive category in the Academy’s history for his supporting performance in “Kramer vs. Kramer.”
  • Johnny Carson was the master of ceremonies for the second year in a row.
  • Presenters included Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Gene Kelly, Dolly Parton, and Bo Derek.
  • Donald O’Connor and 32 dancers saluted famous movie choreographers and the musical film genre in a number called “Dancin’ on the Silver Screen.”
  • Kermit the Frog sang one of the year’s nominated songs, “The Rainbow Connection” from “The Muppet Movie.” (View Image)
  • On March 28, 1979, a partial core meltdown occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear  power plant in Pennsylvania.
  • In April 1979, President Jimmy Carter was “attacked” by a swamp rabbit while fishing in Georgia.
  • In August 1979, the first British “naturist” beach at a major resort was approved by the town council of Brighton.
  • In August 1979, Michael Jackson released his breakthrough solo album, “Off the Wall.”
  • On September 7, 1979, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) made its debut.
  • On November 4, 1979, Islamic militants seized the American Embassy in Tehran, and 66 people were taken as hostages.
  • On November 5, 1979, the radio program “Morning Edition” premiered on NPR.
  • On December 6, 1979, “Star Trek – The Motion Picture” premiered in Washington, D.C. It opened nationwide on December 7, 1979, and broke box office records by grossing almost $12 million in the U.S. in its first three days of release.

Special Achievement Award

To Alan Splet for Sound Editing, “The Black Stallion.”

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

To Robert Benjamin.

Honorary Award

To Alec Guinness for advancing the art of screen acting through a host of memorable and distinguished performances.

Honorary Award

To Hal Elias for his dedication and distinguished service to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

To Ray Stark.

See all Nominees and Winners