With all signs pointing to a posthumous win for the late Chadwick Boseman, producers of Sunday night’s 93rd annual Academy Awards ceremony made a drastic change, swapping the order of Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Actor announcements. But the predicted winner didn’t come out on top: Instead of a celebratory moment for Boseman, Best Actor went to Anthony Hopkins for his (devastating, beautiful) turn in The Father. And he wasn’t actually in the house to accept the award. So the show just kinda ... ended.
But Hopkins, ever the gentlemen, woke up on Monday morning at his home in Wales, received the news of his win, and recorded this lovely message for both the Academy and viewers.
“I did not expect to get this award. I really didn’t,” Hopkins said. “I’m very grateful to the Academy. Thank you. And I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us far too early.”
Presented by last year’s Best Actor winner, Joaquin Phoenix, the award was handed out with every expectation that Boseman would win for his portrayal of Levee Green, the ambitious young trumpet player, in George C. Wolfe’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, based on the play by August Wilson. Boseman passed away during the film’s post-production last summer, after a four year battle with colon cancer that he and his family had kept largely secret from the rest of the world. Boseman’s win would have marked the third time an actor had been posthumously awarded, following Peter Finch (Network) and Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight).
For those following the awards race, the snub was less unexpected. The Father, directed by Florian Zeller, and adapted by legendary screenwriter Christopher Hampton and Zeller from the filmmaker’s own play, was well represented in the nominations, announced back in March. Zeller’s experimental approach to a man diminished by Alzheimer’s disease, and a family struggling with his ailment, earned the film high praise from critics, even while a slow rollout into theaters and on VOD made it a less-obvious champion for audiences. When love for The Father showed up earlier on Oscar night, Zeller and Hampton picking up a win for Best Adapted Screenplay, Hopkins’ chances of winning Best Actor improved.
The Best Actor twist cements its own Oscar history: Hopkins, at the age of 83, became the oldest actor to win an Academy Award. He was previously nominated for his work in The Two Popes, Amistad, Nixon, The Remains of the Day, and won a Best Actor Oscar in 1992 for The Silence of the Lambs.
He’s also exceptional at Instagram. Honestly, great follow.