Sir Anthony Hopkins made history when he won an Oscar for Best Actor last night, making him the oldest actor to ever win the honour in the Academy Awards’ 93 year history.
Yet, despite the Welsh actor’s stellar performance in The Father, many were surprised by his win, believing the Oscar should have gone posthumously to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’s Chadwick Boseman.
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In a short video on Instagram, Hopkins paid tribute to the late Boseman, and expressed his own surprise at winning the award.
“At 83 years-of-age, I did not expect to get this award, I really didn’t. I’m very grateful to the Academy,” he said. “I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us far too early.”
“I really did not expect this, so I feel really privileged and honoured,” he added.
In an unexpected departure from previous years’ lineups, the Best Actor winner was the final award presented at the Academy Awards ceremony this year, which was held at the Union railway station in Los Angeles. Usually, the award for Best Picture is slotted last.
Online, some speculated that the Best Actor category had been scheduled last because Boseman would win posthumously.
The 43-year-old actor, who was best known for his portrayal of the Black Panther, died in August following a private four-year battle with colon cancer.
Boseman had won a Critics’ Choice award and Golden Globe award for his portrayal of Levee Green, opposite Viola Davis’ Ma Rainey, in the 2020 film. It was his last performance.
In December, Davis told USA Today that she “really didn’t see” Boseman being sick on set.
“He was thin, he was tired a lot, but there’s a lot of people who are thin and tired a lot in our profession. You know, it’s brutal,” she told the outlet. “But there was nothing about the way he acted on set that made us believe that this was the end.”
In an anti-climactic end, Hopkins was awarded the Oscar Sunday night and, since the 83-year-old was in his “homeland” Wales, no acceptance speech was made. Instead, Joaquin Phoenix, who won the Best Actor award in 2020, presented and then accepted the award on Hopkins’ behalf.
“Tony was in Wales, where he grew up, and he was asleep at 4 in the morning when I woke him up to tell him the news,” the actor’s long-time agent Jeremy Barber told People. “He was so happy and so grateful.”
Hopkins won his first Oscar for Best Actor at the 64th Academy Awards for his unnerving performance as psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.
In The Father, Hopkins plays an elderly man with dementia, who refuses to allow the caregivers — introduced by his daughter (The Crown’s Olivia Colman) — to look after him, and begins to doubt what is real and what is imagined.
Hopkin’s performance in the film, which was called “devastating” and “bone-chilling” by The Guardian, was his sixth Oscar nomination.