Sunday night's 93rd Academy Awards ended with an upset when an absent Anthony Hopkins took home the 2021 Oscar for Best Actor. Scoring the award for his performance in The Father, presenter Joaquin Phoenix, who won the category last year for his performance in Joker, accepted the award on Hopkins' behalf. On Monday morning, however, Hopkins gave his belated Oscars acceptance speech, in which he paid homage to the late Chadwick Boseman, who had also been nominated in the category for his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
The two-time Oscar winner, whose Sunday night win made history when he became the oldest actor to take home the statuette at 83, delivered his speech from his native Wales in an Instagram video. He began by stating his disbelief, explaining, "at 83 years of age I did not expect to get this award. I really didn't. I'm very grateful to the Academy, thank you." Hopkins, who previously won the BAFTA Award for the role but lost at both the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards to Boseman, went on to pay tribute to the actor. Boseman died in August following a battle with colon cancer. He was just 43.
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"I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman who was taken from us far too early, and again, thank you all very much. I really did not expect this, so I feel very privileged and honored," he said. In the caption for the video, he also expressed his gratitude to "The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Sony Pictures Classics, Florian Zeller, UTA, Jeremy Barber, Christine Crais, Mitch Smelkinson, Juan Miguel Arias, my wife, Stella, and family."
Along with Boseman, who was believed to be the sure-fire winner for the award, Hopkins also beat out fellow nominees Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Gary Oldman (Mank), and Steven Yeun (Minari). Typically handed out earlier in the ceremony, the Best Actor category was saved for last, leading to an anti-climatic ending for many hoping to see Boseman posthumously win. Hopkins was not in attendance of the ceremony, with his long-time agent Jeremy Barber explaining to PEOPLE that the actor "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." Hopkins' initial reaction to hearing news of his win, Barber said, "he was so happy and so grateful." Barber added that Hopkins "loved the role in The Father – it's his proudest performance – and to be the oldest living actor to win in the category means so much to him."