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Michael J. Fox gets standing ovation for surprise BAFTAs appearance

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A-list celebrities leaped to their feet on Sunday night when movie icon Michael J. Fox made a surprise appearance at the BAFTA awards in London.

The “Back to the Future” star was greeted with rapturous applause when he was introduced by the event’s host, “Doctor Who” star David Tennant, who described him as a “true legend of cinema.”

The camera panned around the audience at the Royal Festival Hall as surprised stars including Robert Downey Jr., Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling stood up for the 62-year-old actor who, Tennant said, was “the film star of the 1980s.”

Fox, who rose to fame as Alex P. Keaton on the hit 1980s sitcom “Family Ties,” was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1991, at age 29. Parkinson is an incurable degenerative condition that affects the nervous system and motor skills, including walking and speech.

The five-time Emmy Award-winning actor, who also has four Golden Globes, a Grammy and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, came onto the stage in a wheelchair but made the final few steps to the podium unaided.

Fox was there to present the Best Film award, which eventually went to “Oppenheimer.” The four other contenders were: “Anatomy of a Fall,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “The Holdovers” and “Poor Things.”

Before revealing the winner, Fox said: “All five of them have something in common: They are the best of what we do.

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

“There’s a reason why they say movies are magic, because movies can change your day, they can change your outlook, sometimes it can even change your life.”

Viewers took to social media to react to Fox’s emotional appearance, with many saying they were “in tears” after hearing the 62-year-old actor speak.

In 2000, the actor started the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Tennant told the audience that the foundation has raised more than SU$2 billion to date.

Fox’s life with his family, and how living with Parkinson’s affects their day-to-day reality, is the subject of the Apple TV+ documentary “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie.”

It intercuts the actor’s narration of his life - more than 30 years of which have been with Parkinson’s - with clips from movies like “Back To The Future” and his many other career highlights.

In it, Fox talks about the shock of his diagnosis, which led to heavy drinking and other coping mechanisms, the massive impact on his family and his feelings about the future.

The film received a BAFTA nomination for the best documentary award but lost out to “20 Days in Mariupol.”

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