It was the ending no one saw coming, though perhaps we should have. In a room full of industry figures, is it really a shock that Hollywood flipped the script?
As the 93rd annual Academy Awards came to a close, the stage was set for a sombre conclusion. The late Chadwick Boseman was the odds on favourite to posthumously take out the Best Actor Academy Award for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Boseman’s incredible work had already been recognised with statues at both the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, events that typically foreshadow an Oscars win. A Boseman win seemed like a foregone conclusion, so much so that other nominees felt perfunctory.
But when the moment finally arrived after what felt like hours (3 hours 19 minutes to be exact), it didn’t go as planned. The incumbent Best Actor winner Joaquin Phoenix was handed the envelope, but it almost seemed as if he had fluffed his lines when he read out the winner.
“And the Oscar goes to…Anthony Hopkins for The Father.”
— adore Joaquin Phoenix (@jokeswitharthur) April 26, 2021
While Boseman being overlooked sparked some outcry online (by online, we, of course, mean Twitter), Hopkin’s surprise win was a reminder of just how incredible his body of work is.
As much as I love Anthony Hopkins, Chadwick Boseman was robbed tonight… deeply disappointed… what a downer to end on after what was an enjoyable ceremony #Oscars
— Olivia Fahy (@Toxicolly) April 26, 2021
With his win in the Best Actor category for his performance in The Father, a heartbreaking deep drive into the continual disappointment of dementia, Hopkins made history as the oldest winner in the show’s history.
Such was the element of surprise in Hopkins’ win; the Welsh actor didn’t make the trip to Los Angeles for the ceremony, nor did he record an acceptance speech. Instead, he took to Instagram this morning, expressing his shock at the victory and paying tribute to his fellow nominees, most notably Boseman.
“Good morning, here I am in my homeland in Wales,” Hopkins said. “And at 83 years of age, I did not expect to get this award. I really didn’t. I’m very grateful to the Academy and thank you, and I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us far too early. And again, thank you all very much. I did not expect this, so I feel very privileged and honoured. Thank you.”
At 83-years-old Hopkins returned to the winner’s circle precisely thirty years after he won his first Oscar In 1991, Anthony Hopkins and co-star Jodie Foster pulled off a rare double, winning Best Actor and Best Actress for their performances in the 1991 thriller classic The Silence of the Lambs.
His haunting portrayal of cannibal Hannibal Lecter would become something of a signature for Hopkins, a role he would revisit twice more in the 2001 sequel of the hit, Hannibal, and the 2002 prequel, Red Dragon.
But in a career that spans more than six decades, the sum of the man, and the actor, reaches far beyond his eerie ‘Hello Clarice’ delivery. Hopkins got his start way back in 1965 when the legendary Laurence Olivier spotted him. Olivier invited him to join the Royal National Theatre in London, and the two grew close, Hopkins working as Olivier’s understudy.
Life on stage led to life on screen, and by the mid-1970s, Hopkins was working solidly in Hollywood. In 1980 he landed one of his most iconic roles, starring as the English doctor Sir Frederick Treves in The Elephant Man.
The Elephant Man would prove a springboard to Hollywood’s elite, and a little over ten years later, Hopkins would star in Silence of the Lambs. Following the eye-watering success of Silence of the Lambs, Hopkins hit a purple patch in the 1990s. He received three further Academy Award nominations in the decade; The Remains of the Day (1994), Nixon (1996) and Amistad (1998).
Despite being an artist in the truest sense, Hopkins is also happy to straddle commercial cinema, appearing in box office hits The Mask of Zorro, Meet Joe Black, and more recently, playing Odin, the Allfather or “king” of Asgard, in Marvel’s Thor universe.
While most people might choose to see out their twilight years with a cup of tea, a biscuit and an episode of Antiques Roadshow, Anthony Hopkins seems to be at his most prolific. In the last few years, he has successfully conquered television, appearing as Robert Ford in the HBO sci-fi series Westworld. He received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for his performance.
Continuing his habit of aging like a fine wine (perhaps a nice chianti!), Hopkins returned to the big screen in 2019 to play Pope Benedict XVI in Fernando Meirelles’s The Two Popes. The film was a global hit, masterfully weaving in the truth with a rigorous debate about the future of organised religion. Hopkin’s performance received widespread praise, and he found himself nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2020 Academy Awards.
He went home empty-handed that night, but the 83-year-old Welshman wouldn’t have to wait too long until his subsequent victory: Anthony Hopkins, the original gentleman and the Best Actor once more.
All The Best Anthony Hopkins Films To Stream Now
Fracture: An attorney intending on climbing the career ladder toward success finds an unlikely opponent in a manipulative criminal he is trying to prosecute.
The Two Popes: Behind Vatican walls, the conservative Pope Benedict XVI and the liberal future Pope Francis must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.
Silence of Lambs: A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.
Chaplin: An elderly Charlie Chaplin discusses his autobiography with his editor, recounting his amazing journey from his poverty-stricken childhood to world-wide success after the ingenious invention of the Little Tramp.
Hannibal: Living in exile, Dr. Hannibal Lecter tries to reconnect with now disgraced F.B.I. Agent Clarice Starling, and finds himself a target for revenge from a powerful victim.
Hitchcock: The relationship between Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho (1960) in 1959 is explored.
The Mask of Zorro: A young thief, seeking revenge for the death of his brother, is trained by the once great, but aged Zorro, who also pursues vengeance of his own.
Nixon: A biographical story of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, from his days as a young boy to his eventual Presidency, which ended in shame.