Sunday marked the biggest night in Hollywood, but the glamorous 2021 Oscars ceremony ultimately ended with a major disappointment for viewers after the Best Actor category closed out the night with Anthony Hopkins taking home the award. As a presenter and last year's winner in the category Joaquin Phoenix opened the envelope and read the winner's name, social media erupted with disbelief when Hopkins took home the Oscar instead of Chadwick Boseman.
When the ceremony kicked off the award for Best Original Screenplay, which ultimately went to Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman, it had largely been believed that the Best Actor in a Leady Role category was moved to the final category of the night, a spot otherwise reserved for Best Picture, because Boseman was going to win. Before the Oscars, Boseman had already posthumously beaten out his fellow nominees, including Hopkins, at both the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards. He earned rave reviews for his final performance as Levee, a gifted but troubled trumpet player, in Netflix's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
The Best Actor Oscar, ultimately being handed to Hopkins, who was not in attendance, immediately ignited debate on social media. As Phoenix accepted the award on Hopkins' behalf, viewers tuned into the hours-long broadcast took to Twitter to air their grievances. Keep scrolling to see what people had to say about the major upset that ended the night.
They build the entire show around a Chadwick Boseman ending and then Anthony Hopkins won and didn't show up— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) April 26, 2021
"The Oscars were so sure that Chadwick Boseman was going to win that they REARRANGED THE ENTIRE CEREMONY so his category could be last, and then they gave the award to Anthony Hopkins instead," one person reacted online. "The most chaotic and unhinged thing I've ever seen."prevnext
And that, folks, is why you end with Best Picture— Jason Bailey PLUS (@jasondashbailey) April 26, 2021
"Anthony was phenomenal. good for him truly. but how are you gonna 1) speed the absolute f– out of the in memoriam segment and 2) switch up the order of the awards to make your audience think you’re gonna give chadwick some sort of tribute and then just....... not," another viewer tweeted. "Feels cruel."prevnext
Sooooooo lemme get this straight:
They rushed the 'in memoriam' section to get to Chadwick's face last
Changed the order of the winners to tease Chadwick winning last
and then at the end of the night everyone gets an NFT of Chadwick's head?
This all feels wrong.#Oscars— Rendy Jones (@Rendy_Jones) April 26, 2021
"Anthony Hopkins is without fault. Class-act and brilliant performance in The Father. Truly, he, Boseman, and Ahmed were all neck and neck for me," another person wrote. "Fault is on the Oscar producers who, for ratings, needlessly made the loss of an icon even harder on those anticipating his honor."prevnext
changing the order building up to chadwick and having joaquin phoenix announce anthony hopkins pic.twitter.com/BXfmZDKkub— NJ Transit (@SamScarf1) April 26, 2021
"An absent Anthony Hopkins winning over Chadwick Boseman during a ceremony built to end around a Boseman win while Joaquin Phoenix awkwardly stumbles through it all is...wow," somebody else added. "Chaos!"prevnext
The Best Picture whiff in 2017 was an honest mistake. Switching the big categories seemingly so the #Oscars could end on Chadwick Boseman's Best Actor win only for him to lose to an absent Anthony Hopkins was a cynical pitch at a melodramatic finale that gloriously backfired. pic.twitter.com/p63PwanIhd— Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) April 26, 2021
"Holy s– Anthony Hopkins beating the late Chadwick Boseman AND Riz Ahmed AND Steven Yeun for Best Actor is just some go home with your heart in your belly stuff. What is even happening," tweeted one viewer. "And he couldn’t even accept by Zoom? The Academy is just going to Postmates his statue to him, I guess? Presumably the producers didn’t know, but what a total anticlimax for an incredibly exciting evening."prevnext
Anthony Hopkins is brilliant but Chadwick Boseman brought such an incredible performance for his final role.
They restructed the #Oscars just to fuck us like that?— Jacob (@JacobDFilm) April 26, 2021
"I don't blame Anthony Hopkins for giving a great performance or the Academy for awarding it," commented one person. "I take issue with the producers of the ceremony blatantly exploiting Chadwick for an ending high note only to tarnish the work of both thespians. Appalling."prevnext
Both Anthony Hopkins and Chadwick Bozeman deserved the Oscar for their performances, and the only reason this sucks is because they hinged the entire ending of the ceremony on the assumption that the latter would win #TheOscars pic.twitter.com/LTPJgzatd9— Dany Vasquez (@danyvasquez_) April 26, 2021
Although Hopkins did not attend the ceremony, he took to Instagram Monday morning with a belated acceptance speech in which he paid tribute to Boseman. In the clip, Hopkins said, "I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman who was taken from us far too early, and again, thank you all very much."prev