One of the biggest changes introduced to the 93rd Academy Awards was the restructuring of the sequence in which the categories were presented. Normally, the Best Picture Oscar is the last to be given out, but this year, the ceremony concluded with the Best Actor award, resulting in one of the biggest anticlimaxes in recent Oscar memory.
Many had pegged the late Chadwick Boseman as the firm favourite to win the award, for his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Indeed, several commentators noted that the ceremony had been designed to conclude with a Boseman victory. But to everyone's surprise, Anthony Hopkins was announced as the winner, for his performance in The Father. And he wasn't even present to collect the award.
Fans took to Twitter to express their shock.
This is Hopkins' second Oscar. He previously won for his iconic turn in The Silence of the Lambs, in which he famously had only around 16 minutes of screen time. His win on Monday also makes him the oldest ever winner of an acting Oscar, at 83.
In an interview with The New York Times, he said that playing his dementia-riddled character in the film was 'just so easy'. "It was an easy part to play," he said said, "because it was such a good script." He added, "When you watch Olivia and that face crumbles and the tears come out, you think, 'Oh, I don't need to act anymore.'"
Boseman died last year after a four-year private battle with cancer. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom was his final screen appearance. He also won acclaim for a supporting role in Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods.