Anthony Hopkins' Win Was the Biggest Anticlimax in Oscars History

Sir Anthony Hopkins' Best Actor win at this year's Academy Awards proved anticlimactic when the Welsh actor did not show up to accept his award, ending the show on an abrupt note. The announcement also led to controversy, as disappointed viewers accused the Academy of baiting expectations of a posthumous win for late actor Chadwick Boseman.

Hopkins won the Oscar for his role as an English man struggling with dementia in The Father, beating out Boseman in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal, Gary Oldman in Mank and Steven Yeun in Minari.

In a muted ceremony amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Joker actor Joaquin Phoenix announced Hopkins as the winner without the suspense-filled cadence typical of award shows. As the audience clapped, Phoenix said: "The Academy congratulates Hopkins and accepts the Oscar on his behalf, thank you."

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. Chaos!

— Jacob Hall (@JacobSHall) April 26, 2021

At 83 years old, Hopkins became the oldest actor to ever win an Oscar. His agent Jeremy Barber told PEOPLE magazine the actor was asleep in his native Wales when his win was announced, and was "so happy and grateful" upon finding out.

"Tony 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," said Barber.

"After a year in quarantine, and being double-vaccinated, he was finally able to return to Wales, and age 83, it was a great relief after such a difficult year," he continued. "But he 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."

The Oscar is Hopkins' second, having won Best Actor in 1992 for his role as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

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

Hopkins' victory awkwardly and unceremoniously concluded this year's Oscars, as the Best Actor category was the ceremony's final award to be handed out. The unusual decision to close the show with the Best Actor award led to much speculation that the Academy planned to announce Boseman–who died of colon cancer at 43 last August–as the posthumous winner.

In his final role before his passing, Boseman played talented trumpeter Levee Green opposite Viola Davis in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Boseman's portrayal posthumously earned him multiple awards, including a Golden Globe, a Critics' Choice Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. The Oscar nomination was his first.

The Best Actor upset led to condemnation from social media users, who accused the Academy of exploiting the Black Panther actor's memory in order to bait viewership, only to snub him at the end of the show. The show's producers also came under fire, as critics believed them to have staged the ceremony around the assumption Boseman would win.

Wait what was that Game of Thrones style ending?? Andra Day and Chadwick Boseman were robbed... #Oscars pic.twitter.com/ykMorfq6qy

— Joy-Ann Pro-Democracy & Masks Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) April 26, 2021

"Every single indication felt like they moved around the categories so that Chadwick Boseman would win best actor at the very end of the show," tweeted user @blockbustedpod. "And then Anthony Hopkins wins, doesn't give a speech, and they roll credits. This is MAXIMUM chaotic energy"

Film critic Dan Murell posted: "Wow, what a massively bad idea. And this overshadows the fact that both Anthony Hopkins and Chadwick Boseman were brilliant and one of them had to win. The spotlight is now shining solely on the producers. Huge mistake. From In Memoriam on, this show was a disaster."

La La Land trended on Twitter following the ceremony, as viewers compared the show's ending to the controversial error that concluded the 2017 Oscars, when the musical film was mistakenly announced as having won Best Picture instead of Moonlight, the actual winner.

During the ceremony, Boseman was featured in a speedy In Memoriam reel. Oscar nominees also received an "Everyone Wins" gift bag that included digital artwork of Boseman's head in the form of a non-fungible token, or NFT. Following the ceremony, the NFT of Boseman was announced to be up for auction, with half the proceeds earmarked for The Colon Cancer Foundation.

The artwork prompted further outrage from the actor's fans, who slammed the decision to add the NFT in nominee swag bags as commodifying his death.

Y’all commodified Chadwick Boseman into a NFT for swag bags but couldn’t give him an Oscar.... lol okay

— black boy bulletin (he/him) (@blkboybulletin) April 26, 2021
Anthony Hopkins attends AFI FEST screening
Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins attends the AFI FEST gala screening of "The Two Popes" at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 18, 2019, in Hollywood. VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images