Why did Sir Anthony Hopkins miss his Baftas Best Actor acceptance speech? He was painting

The actor, who won for his role in 'The Father', was in his hotel room in Wales when the winners were announced

Sir Anthony Hopkins won the Best Actor Bafta for his role in 'The Father'. AP 
Sir Anthony Hopkins won the Best Actor Bafta for his role in 'The Father'. AP 

Sir Anthony Hopkins was so immersed in his painting, he’d forgotten he was nominated for Best Actor at the Baftas on Sunday. The actor, 83, who had earlier declined to attend the ceremony via Zoom, was in a hotel in Wales when his name was announced as the winner for The Father.

“I heard a cheer from next door. I thought, ‘what the hell is happening?’ I thought they were watching a football match. Then I got a message from Florian [Zeller],” the celebrated actor said in a post-event interview.

Zeller, who co-wrote and directed The Father, read a pre-prepared message on behalf of Hopkins, who’s won two Baftas for Best Actor in the past – for The Silence of the Lambs in 1992 and The Remains of the Day in 1994.

He was also honoured with the Bafta Fellowship in 2008.

“He arrived yesterday and was very jet lagged and didn’t think he would win,” a representative for the actor told The Telegraph. “Once he did, we were able to get hold of him.”

This year, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards were held mostly virtually, with a toned-down ceremony from London’s Royal Albert Hall and a few stars in attendance on Sunday. An opening-night ceremony took place on Saturday, which mainly focused on the craft of filmmaking and handed out nine awards.

In The Father, Hopkins plays a retired engineer struggling with the loss of his independence because of the onset of dementia. The film also won Zeller and co-writer Christopher Hampton a Best Adapted Screenplay Bafta on the night.

Olivia Colman, left, and Anthony Hopkins in a scene from 'The Father'. Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics 
Olivia Colman, left, and Anthony Hopkins in a scene from 'The Father'. Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

Hopkins, who is now the oldest Best Actor winner in Bafta history, beat out strong contenders for the honour, including the late Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Riz Ahmed for Sound of Metal. He will again compete against them in the same category at the Oscars, where the winners will be announced on Sunday, April 25.

Hopkins the painter

Hopkins, who also won an Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs, as well as two Emmys and the Cecil B DeMille Award at the Golden Globes for outstanding contribution to cinema, is an avid painter, with some of his works selling for as much as $80,000.

He’s not in it for the money, but he paints because “it keeps my brain functioning, and it makes me laugh”, he told W magazine in 2007.

He said it was his wife, Stella Arroyave, who pushed him to paint more in 2003.

“[She found some drawings of mine and said, ‘Did you do these? Why don’t you paint this?’ I told her, ‘I can’t paint,’ and she said, 'Just do it.’ So I did, and they worked out so well now that’s what I do. And then she decided she wanted to have shows and exhibitions of my paintings and I thought, ‘Well, I’m not really a painter’. She said, ‘Yes you are.’”

Click through the gallery below to see all the celebrity arrivals at the 2021 Baftas:

Updated: April 12, 2021 05:01 PM

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