Sunday’s 93rd Academy Awards ceremony ended abruptly after veteran actor Anthony Hopkins was awarded the Oscar for best actor, shocking many who had predicted that the final prize of the night would go to the late Chadwick Boseman.
Actor Joaquin Phoenix presented the award, named Hopkins the winner and then told viewers the academy would accept the award on his behalf, as Hopkins was not in attendance and no video speech was recorded.
The closing of the broadcast stunned viewers, who were left to process that Boseman’s last chance to receive an award had vanished.
Boseman, who died at 43 in August after a private battle with colon cancer, was nominated for his performance as trumpeter Levee Green in the film adaptation of famed playwright August Wilson’s play, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
Boseman won a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an NAACP Image Award for his on-screen role.
Los Angeles Times writer Glenn Whipp and others had predicted a Boseman win, noting that Hopkins’s performance as an aging man coping with memory loss in “The Father” could be a strong contender.
The academy had rearranged the entire ceremony so that the best actor category could be presented last, according to BuzzFeed deputy editorial director Spencer Althouse.
Disbelief over the letdown swiftly spread across social media.
Hopkins, 83, seemed just as surprised as viewers that he won the Oscar for best actor.
Hopkins’s win makes him the oldest actor to secure the highly coveted award in the acting category — a feat he said he didn’t anticipate in a Monday morning Instagram post shot in his home country of Wales.
The visibly stunned best actor paid tribute to Boseman in his first statement since his win, adding that Boseman was “taken from us far too early.”
Boseman would’ve been the third actor to win a posthumous Oscar in the acting category, joining Heath Ledger and Peter Finch, according to the Hollywood Reporter.