Oscars 2021: No-show Anthony Hopkins becomes oldest-ever Best Actor winner – but where was he?

'The Father' star later posted a video to his Instagram account thanking the Academy for the award, and paying tribute to fellow nominee Chadwick Boseman

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 18, 2019 Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins attends the AFI FEST gala screening of "The Two Popes" at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Anthony Hopkins won the award for best actor at the Oscars on April 25, 2021 for his role in "The Father". / AFP / VALERIE MACON

It was, arguably, one of the most anticlimactic ends to the Oscars.

Finishing the night off with the prestigious Best Actor trophy, the 93rd Academy Awards did not end with the usual tear-filled acceptance speech.

Instead, it closed with a headshot and a quick sentence from last year's category winner, Joaquin Phoenix.

Sir Anthony Hopkins claimed this year's Best Actor trophy, for his stirring performance in drama The Father, but the Welsh star was not in attendance at the Sunday night event.

Instead, after the actor beat out Riz Ahmed and the late Chadwick Boseman for the trophy, a simple portrait appeared on screen, as Phoenix stated: "The Academy congratulates Anthony Hopkins and accepts the Oscar on his behalf."

The show then drew to an abrupt close.

However, hours after his win, Hopkins posted a video to his Instagram account thanking the Academy for the award, and paying tribute to his fellow nominee Boseman.

"Good morning, here I am in my homeland in Wales and at 83 years of age, I did not expect to get that award, I really didn’t," he said, set against the backdrop of the sunny Welsh countryside. "I am very grateful to the Academy.

"I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman who was taken from us far too early, and again, thank you very much. I really did not expect this, so I feel very privileged and honoured, thank you."

In his accompanying caption, he also thanked members of the film's team and his family. "Thank you to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Sony Pictures Classics, Florian Zeller, UTA, Jeremy Barber, Christine Crais, Mitch Smelkinson, Juan Miguel Arias, Tara Arroyave, my wife and family," he wrote.

At 83, the actor is now the oldest-ever winner of an Academy Award in the acting categories, usurping the late Christopher Plummer, who previously held the title for his 2011 Best Supporting Actor win for Beginners.

In The Father, directed by Florian Zeller, Hopkins put in an acclaimed, heart-wrenching portrayal of a man with dementia.

It is not yet known exactly why Hopkins forewent the glitzy event, but his non-appearance sparked plenty of humorous reactions on social media.

A victory speech had been anticipated to be delivered by Hopkins's The Father co-star, Olivia Colman, who joined the Oscars from a satellite hub in London, but did not materialise.

Hopkins's win was one of the biggest surprises of the 93rd Academy Awards, with Boseman widely expected to win for his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, after similar success at the Golden Globes and Sag Awards.

The actor, who died last year aged 43 after privately battling colon cancer, was posthumously nominated for Best Actor.

Ahmed, who plays a drummer losing his hearing in Sound of Metal, was also a contender, with his nomination making him the first Muslim actor honoured in the category.

Sunday night's gong marked the second Oscar win for Hopkins, who won Best Actor in 1992 for his performance as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

The star, who won Best Actor at this month's Baftas, was also absent from the London event. He had earlier declined to attend the ceremony via Zoom and was in a hotel in Wales when his name was announced as the winner. However, he was so immersed while painting in a room next door, he missed giving an acceptance speech.

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