Entertainment

Michael J. Fox gets standing ovation after surprise appearance at BAFTAs

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Actor Michael J. Fox received a rousing standing ovation during a surprise appearance at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday.

Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease, was presenting the award for best film and was introduced by BAFTAs host David Tennant as a “true legend of cinema.” As the “Back to the Future” star was taken to the stage in a wheelchair, fellow actors and audience members rose to give Fox his recognition. The applause grew louder when he stood up to the microphone. 

“Five films are nominated in this category tonight, and all five have something in common, they’re the best at what we do,” Fox said on stage. “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, ’cause movies can change your day, they change your outlook, it can sometimes even change your life.”

EE BAFTA Film Awards 2024 in London
Michael J. Fox and his wife Tracy Pollan attend the BAFTA Film Awards ceremony at The Royal Festival Hall in London, United Kingdom on February 18, 2024.

Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images


He went on to give the award to Christopher Nolan and his team for “Oppenheimer” – the atom bomb epic. Fox was also in attendance as the film “Still,” which is about the actor’s journey with the disease, was up for best documentary at the BAFTAs. 

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991 at age 29. The neurological disorder causes unintended stiffness, shakiness and difficulty with coordination, and worsens over time, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Fox. who has been open about his condition, told Variety last year that he had mental health struggles and suffered a number of injuries as a result of his Parkinson’s disease. He also talked about having hope as he deals with Parkinson’s with “CBS Sunday Morning.”

“I recognize how hard this is for people, and I recognize how hard it is for me,” he said. “But I have a certain set of skills that allow me to deal with this stuff. And I realized, with gratitude, optimism is sustainable. And if you can find something to be grateful for, then you can find something to look forward to, and you carry on.”

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