Watch: Sir Anthony Hopkins takes major acting Oscars
Anthony Hopkins was the surprise winner of the Best Actor award at Sunday's Oscars, ending the ceremony on a rather strange note.
The Academy chose to break with tradition this year, announcing the two leading actor prizes after they had awarded Best Picture to Nomadland.
That film's star, Frances McDormand, won the wide open Best Actress race, but it was Hopkins's victory for portraying a man struggling with dementia in The Father that was saved for the climactic moment.
Chadwick Boseman was the bookies' favourite to win the award, with his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom lauded as almost a dead cert for a posthumous prize following his tragic death last year at the age of just 43 due to colon cancer.
The Hopkins upset was not without precedent, with the 83-year-old Welshman — now the oldest ever winner of an acting Oscar — rewarded ahead of Boseman at the Baftas.
Many on social media speculated that the Academy had deliberately structured the show around the emotional catharsis of a likely Boseman victory and were blindsided by Hopkins coming out on top.
Hopkins did not attend the Oscars — he has been a no-show throughout awards season — and so presenter Joaquin Phoenix passed over to musical guest Questlove for a rather muted end to the ceremony.
Coupled with the very brief speech delivered by McDormand — who had only just left the stage after Nomadland's Best Picture win — this made for a strange conclusion to the three-hour telecast.
Twitter users noted they were "absolutely heartbroken" at the show's ending, both for Boseman and for Hopkins.
Some people even compared the scenario to the infamous mix-up that led to La La Land being mistakenly announced as the Best Picture winner instead of actual victor Moonlight.
Wow. I kinda have no words now. They clearly rearranged all this hoping to end on Chadwick. And now this great moment for Hopkins also feels ruined. What a bad way to end all this. #Oscars
— Josh Parham (@JRParham) April 26, 2021
There’s no issue with Anthony Hopkins winning (nor with an elderly man not travelling to an awards ceremony during a pandemic for it) but through no fault of his moving the order around to end with that feels very baity and kinda gross given the inevitable speculation around why
— Cal (@wyattyhalpert) April 26, 2021
With all that being said.
I hope it doesn't spark a fierce backlash towards Sir Anthony Hopkins and THE FATHER in general. Because it is truly fantastic and its final salvo floored me.
But the Academy made CHOICES with the show tonight that will undoubtedly tarnish that win.
— Darryl Griffiths 🌈✨ (@LegallyBOD) April 26, 2021
Absolutely heartbroken about Boseman, just devastated.
— Sam (@SamHMedia) April 26, 2021
didn’t think we’d ever see another #Oscars ending as bizarre as the Moonlight // La La Land mixup, but its like i’ve always said: if a man can form a friendship with an octopus then i guess anything is possible!
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) April 26, 2021
Hopkins previously won Best Actor in 1992 for his role as cannibal psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.
He has received six nominations in total, with four for Best Actor and two in the Best Supporting Actor category.
It was Nomadland which proved to be the big winner overall at the Oscars in 2021, scoring three awards.
Six films managed to win two gongs at the unconventional ceremony, including both The Father and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
Watch: Trailer for The Father