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Year: 1981 (54th) Academy Awards
Category: Actor in a Leading Role
Film Title: On Golden Pond
Winner: Henry Fonda (not present; accepted by his daughter, Jane Fonda)
Presenter: Sissy Spacek
Date & Venue: March 29, 1982; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Oh, Dad, I'm so happy and proud for you. My father didn't really believe that this was going to happen but he told me a while back that if it did he wanted his wife Shirlee to accept the award for him. But Shirlee wanted to be with him tonight, as is her way, and so I'm here.
And first and foremost I want to thank on behalf of my father the members of the Academy who voted to give him this award. I know that he's watching right now and I know that he's very, very honored and very happy and surprised. And I'll bet when he heard it just now, I bet he said, "Hey, ain't I lucky?" As though luck had anything to do with it. I know also that he has tremendous respect for the other actors that were nominated and has always felt a little strange about these things, these competitions, because it's like comparing apples and oranges, and he feels very proud to have been among such a wonderful group.
And I know that he feels that he would never have won this if it hadn't been for Katharine Hepburn. And if "On Golden Pond" is one of the highlights of his life, one of the main reasons is because of her, having the chance to work with her and to become her friend. And I know that one of the other reasons that he feels the film was so special is because of the quality of the crew. Every one of them, many of whose talents have been recognized tonight in the nominations. And the wonderful cast: Dougie McKeon, Dabney Coleman, Bill Lanteau, me—he's a proud father. The man who pulled us all together, our producer Bruce Gilbert. He is, my father is so happy, he feels so fortunate to have been able to play the role of "Norman Thayer," a character that he loves a lot and understands very well. And for this he'd like to thank the sensitive man who wrote the words, who's already been honored tonight, Ernest Thompson. And for the tremendous talent and guidance of our director Mark Rydell, he's very, very grateful. We all became like a family during the filming and we sort of stayed together since. People call him up and stay in touch and come to visit him, and so it's like we've stayed a family, and it's made my father very, very happy. And he wants to thank Marble Arch and Universal for their support of the movie "On Golden Pond."
He also feels very lucky to have been able to spend a summer in such a beautiful part of our country, northern New Hampshire, and he wants to thank all the people there who were so friendly and welcoming to us. And he was very happy, and so was I and are we, to have had our two families together, the Haydens and the Fondas, on the beautiful shores of that lake so that we could get to know each other even more. He wishes my brother Peter were here tonight, but Peter is somewhere in the jungles of the Philippines in front of a camera right now, like a good Fonda. And I know that lastly, but really first, he is thanking Shirlee Fonda who has been his loving support for seventeen years, who he calls his Rock of Gibralter. I think she's his "Ethel Thayer." Dad, me and all the grandchildren are coming over with it right away. Thank you.
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]