Of all nominees snubbed at Sunday night’s Oscars, no one would have predicted Chadwick Boseman, the Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Black Panther star who died of colon cancer at age 43 last year would be amongst them. Best Actor instead went to Anthony Hopkins, for his titular role as an aging man with dementia in Florian Zeller’s The Father. The award already stood out from Hopkins’s previous win and five nominations. The 83-year-old is four years older than the then 79-year-old star of 1999’s The Straight Story, Richard Farnsworth, making him is the oldest Best Actor nominee to date.
With Best Picture already out of the way, the ceremony then abruptly ended. Even more perplexingly, Hopkins was not present to deliver an acceptance speech. The actor was fittingly visiting the grave of his father in South Wales, where it was around 4:30 a.m. That makes twice that Hopkins was a no-show this awards season. The actor, who is also a prolific artist, skipped the BAFTAs, which awarded him in the same catagory, after deciding to paint in his hotel room instead. “I heard a cheer from next door,” he said at a virtual post-show press conference. “I thought, 'What the hell is happening?' I thought they were watching a football match. Then I got a message from [The Father director] Florian.”
Hopkins didn’t completely ghost. He posted a video thank-you speech on Instagram in the early hours of Monday morning, feeling “very privileged and honored” in a chic black leather blazer. “Here I am in my homeland of Wales,” Hopkins said. “And at 83 years of age, I did not expect to get this award. I really didn’t.” He then went on to pay tribute to Boseman, whom he described as “taken from us far too early.” Many of Hopkins’s 2.8 million followers kept things on the bright side in the comments, with peers like Kate Beckinsale, Michael Douglas, Alec Baldwin, and Catherine Zeta-Jones joining Hugh Jackman in congratulating the actor on a “gorgeous performance.”