Michael J Fox receives emotional standing ovation at BAFTAs as he presents Best Film to Oppenheimer

18 February 2024, 22:18

Michael J Fox appears at the 2024 BAFTAs
Michael J Fox appears at the 2024 BAFTAs. Picture: Getty/BBC

By Tom Eames

Michael J Fox was honoured with a standing ovation from the star-studded audience at the 2024 British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, as he presented the prestigious Best Film award to Oppenheimer.

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The beloved actor, who has been living with Parkinson’s disease for over three decades, was wheeled to the stage at the glamorous event at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

The 62-year-old received a warm and heartfelt applause from the likes of Margot Robbie, Bradley Cooper and Barry Keoghan, who were among the Hollywood A-listers in attendance.

Michael, who rose to fame in the 80s with iconic roles in Back To The Future and Teen Wolf, looked emotional as he thanked the crowd for their support and admiration.

He then proceeded to announce the nominees and the winner of the Best Film category, which went to Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, a biopic about the American physicist who led the development of the atomic bomb.

EE BAFTA Film Awards 2024 - Show
EE BAFTA Film Awards 2024 - Show. Picture: Getty

Oppenheimer was the big winner of the night, taking home seven awards out of 13 nominations, including Best Actor for Cillian Murphy, who played the titular role, Best Supporting Actor for Robert Downey Jr, and Best Director for Nolan.

Michael praised the nominated films for their excellence and impact, saying: "Five films were nominated in this category tonight and all five have something in common. They are the best of what we do.

"No matter who you are or where you’re from, these films can bring us together.

"There’s a reason why they say movies are magic because movies can change your day. It can change your outlook. Sometimes it can change your life."

Michael also had a personal connection to the BAFTAs, as his documentary Still: A Michael J Fox Story was nominated for Best Documentary. The film, which was released on Apple TV+ in 2023, chronicles his remarkable career and his journey with Parkinson’s disease, which he was diagnosed with at the age of 29 in 1991.

Michael J Fox with wife Tracy Pollan
Michael J Fox with wife Tracy Pollan. Picture: Getty

In an interview before the ceremony, Michael described his condition as "a gift that keeps on taking, but it’s a gift", and said that he wanted to share his story with the world.

He also spoke about his efforts to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s research, through his foundation, which he established in 2000.

He said: "I realised I had to turn it around and turn it into something and make it some positive thing that affected other people in a positive way.

"So I think that’s why I started the foundation, but it took me a long time to get there."

Watch the trailer for STILL: A Michael J Fox Movie

The BAFTAs, which are considered the British equivalent of the Oscars, were hosted by David Tennant, who entertained the audience with his witty jokes and commentary.

Prince William, who is the president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, also made an appearance at the event, without his wife Kate Middleton, who is recovering from abdominal surgery.

The other major winner of the night was Poor Things, a dark comedy based on the novel by Alasdair Gray, which follows the adventures of a young woman who is brought back to life by a mad scientist.

The BAFTAs celebrated the best of British and international cinema, and showcased the talent and creativity of the film industry.