The 1981 Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo was presented September 6 at Denvention Two.
- The Empire Strikes Back (1980) [Lucasfilm] Screenplay by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan; Story by George Lucas; Directed by Irvin Kershner
- The Lathe of Heaven (1980) [WNET/PBS] Screenplay by Diane English and Roger Swaybill; Directed by Fred Barzyk and David R. Loxton; based on the novel by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Cosmos (TV Series) (1981) [KCET/PBS] Written and directed by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan
- The Martian Chronicles (1980) [BBC/NBC] Screenplay by Richard Matheson; Directed by Michael Anderson; based on the collection by Ray Bradbury
- Flash Gordon (1980) [20th Century Fox/De Laurentiis] Screenplay by Lorenzo Semple, Jr.; Adaptation by Michael Allin; Directed by Mike Hodges; based on the comic strip by Alex Raymond
Superman II received enough nominating votes to appear on the final ballot, but was ruled ineligible.
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