Sir Anthony Hopkins made history at the 2021 British Academy Film Awards on Sunday as he became the oldest man in history to be awarded Best Leading Actor.
The screen veteran, 83, who had already received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2008, was awarded the prize for his acclaimed performance in The Father, beating out favourite Chadwick Boseman.
However despite the historic win, Anthony was a surprise no-show as he failed to appear at the virtual ceremony and later revealed he had been working on a painting in his hotel room in Wales.
Milestone: Sir Anthony Hopkins made history at the 2021 British Academy Film Awards on Sunday as became the oldest man in history to be awarded Best Leading Actor
Anthony, who has been living in Wales during the pandemic, admitted he wasn’t even aware he’d won the prize for Leading Actor, and was only alerted to the news by his family who were watching the ceremony unfold.
He said: ‘This is wonderful, never in my life did I expect I’d get this. I got to a point in my life, this particular film which is a powerful film I know.
‘So for me this is a bonus, it’s a fun bonus, and I wish all the other nominees and winners congratulations I’m just so astounded I was sitting here painting in fact in my hotel, and I heard this cheer go off next door, I thought they were watching a football match next door.’
He wasn’t the only big winner of the night not to show up: Frances McDormand also didn’t appear to accept her Leading Actress award, leaving the end of the ceremony somewhat flat.
Whoops! Anthony, who has been living in Wales during the pandemic, admitted he wasn’t even aware he’d won the prize for Leading Actor
No show: Renée Zellweger presented the award but Anthony failed to accept the gong because he was so focused on doing a painting in his hotel room
Anthony’s trophy had to be accepted by The Father’s screenwriter Florian Zeller.
Anthony was nominated for Leading Actor opposite Riz Ahmed for Sound of Metal, Mads Mikkelsen for Another Round, Tahar Rahim for The Mauritanian, Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Adarsh Gourav for The White Tiger.
For many it was thought that Chadwick was the favourite to win for his final ever screen role following his death in August 2020.
But it was Anthony who was announced as the winner of the coveted BAFTA prize, by presenter Renée Zellweger during the ceremony.
Anthony’s victory made him the oldest in history to win Leading Actor, but the title of the oldest ever BAFTA winner still belongs to Emmanuelle Riva, who at aged 84 was awarded Leading Actress for Amour in 2012.
Incredible: The screen veteran, 83, who had already received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2008, was awarded the prize for his acclaimed performance in The Father (pictured)
After it was announced he’d won the coveted prize, Renee revealed he wasn’t present to accept, and so The Father’s screenwriter Florian Zeller spoke in his place.
Despite being absent for the ceremony itself, Anthony did speak at the post-awards press conference about his historic victory, telling MailOnline and other media he found it ‘easy’ to adapt to his acclaimed role.
He said: ‘It keeps me out of trouble, I don’t want to sound heavy about it but it’s the only thing I know how to do, I don’t know how I became an actor, but it’s something that’s in my blood.
Here for a friend: The actor’s trophy was accepted by The Father’s screenwriter Florian Zeller (pictured)
‘I enjoy it, I keep it simple, I love it, it’s a great life and to be able to express things. I hope I don’t take myself too seriously.
‘The Father was quite easy because I didn’t have to act much, because I am old, so it made it so easy, and when you’re working with a great great cast of actors, when you’re working with a cast like this, it makes it so easy.
‘It’s astonishing, it made it easy, I’d come in the morning ready for work because I’m not a method actor but when you have a perfect script it’s like a road map, and we’d have a go at it and we’d have some fun at it. The whole cast was perfect so it made it easy for me.’
Wow: Anthony’s victory made him the oldest in history to win Leading Actor, but the title of the oldest ever BAFTA winner still belongs to Emmanuelle Riva, who was 84 at the time of her win
In the film Anthony plays the role of an elderly father who has been struggling with dementia, and the actor admitted that he is yet to have a loved one who has gone through the same thing.
He said: ‘My mother and father didn’t suffer dementia, but I did have a friend whose father in law suffers from dementia in America and he never knew where he was.
‘I saw the reaction of the family, and he kept thinking his daughter was his wife. And they were very patient with him, and he died very peacefully, that was my only connection with that.’
The BAFTA and EE British Academy Film Awards 2021 was the first of the Academy’s film ceremonies to be held virtually.
Nomadland was the big winner, taking home four gongs on the night, including the coveted Best Film award.
The American drama – which stars Frances McDormand as a modern-day nomad travelling through America in her van after losing her livelihood in the Great Recession – also picked up Best Leading Actress for McDormand, Best Director for Chloe Zhao and Best Cinematography.
Elsewhere Yuh-Jung Young was awarded Best Supporting Actress for her work in Minari, in which she played the grandmother character Soonja from Korea visiting relatives in Arkansas in the 1980s.
Candid: Anthony did speak at the post-awards press conference about his historic victory, telling MailOnline and other media he found it ‘easy’ to adapt to his acclaimed role
BAFTA 2021 WINNERS
BUKKY BAKRAY Rocks
RADHA BLANK The Forty-Year-Old Version
VANESSA KIRBY Pieces of a Woman
FRANCES McDORMAND Nomadland – WINNER
WUNMI MOSAKU His House
ALFRE WOODARD Clemency
RIZ AHMED Sound of Metal
CHADWICK BOSEMAN Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
ADARSH GOURAV The White Tiger
ANTHONY HOPKINS The Father – WINNER
MADS MIKKELSEN Another Round
TAHAR RAHIM The Mauritanian
THE FATHER Philippe Carcassonne, Jean-Louis Livi, David Parfitt
THE MAURITANIAN TBC
NOMADLAND Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao – WINNER
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN Ben Browning, Emerald Fennell, Ashley Fox, Josey McNamara
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 Stuart Besser, Marc Platt
OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
HIS HOUSE Remi Weekes (Writer/Director) – WINNER
LIMBO Ben Sharrock (Writer/Director), Irune Gurtubai (Producer) [also produced by Angus Lamont]
MOFFIE Jack Sidey (Writer/Producer) [also written by Oliver Hermanus and produced by Eric Abraham]
ROCKS Theresa Ikoko, Claire Wilson (Writers)
SAINT MAUD Rose Glass (Writer/Director), Oliver Kassman (Producer) [also produced by Andrea Cornwell]
FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
ANOTHER ROUND Thomas Vinterberg, Sisse Graum Jørgensen – WINNER
DEAR COMRADES! Andrei Konchalovsky, Alisher Usmanov
LES MISÉRABLES Ladj Ly
MINARI Lee Isaac Chung, Christina Oh
QUO VADIS, AIDA? Jasmila Žbanić, Damir Ibrahimovich
ANOTHER ROUND Thomas Vinterberg
BABYTEETH Shannon Murphy
MINARI Lee Isaac Chung
NOMADLAND Chloé Zhao – WINNER
QUO VADIS, AIDA? Jasmila Žbanić
ROCKS Sarah Gavron
THE DIG Moira Buffini
THE FATHER Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller – WINNER
THE MAURITANIAN Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani, M.B. Traven
NOMADLAND Chloé Zhao
THE WHITE TIGER Ramin Bahrani
CALM WITH HORSES Shaheen Baig
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH Alexa L. Fogel
MINARI Julia Kim
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN Lindsay Graham Ahanonu, Mary Vernieu
ROCKS Lucy Pardee – WINNER
THE FATHER Yorgos Lamprinos
NOMADLAND Chloé Zhao
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN Frédéric Thoraval
SOUND OF METAL Mikkel E.G. Nielsen – WINNER
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 Alan Baumgarten
AMMONITE Michael O’Connor
THE DIG Alice Babidge
EMMA. Alexandra Byrne
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM Ann Roth – WINNER
MANK Trish Summerville
BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION
THE FIRE NEXT TIME Renaldho Pelle, Yanling Wang, Kerry Jade Kolbe
THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT Mole Hill, Laura Duncalf – WINNER
THE SONG OF A LOST BOY Daniel Quirke, Jamie MacDonald, Brid Arnstein
BRITISH SHORT FILM
EYELASH Jesse Lewis Reece, Ike Newman
LIZARD Akinola Davies, Rachel Dargavel, Wale Davies
LUCKY BREAK John Addis, Rami Sarras Pantoja
MISS CURVY Ghada Eldemellawy
THE PRESENT Farah Nabulsi – WINNER
GREYHOUND Beau Borders, Christian P. Minkler, Warren Shaw and David Wyman
NEWS OF THE WORLD Michael Fentum, William Miller, Mike Prestwood Smith, John Pritchett, Oliver Tarney
NOMADLAND Sergio Diaz, Zach Seivers, M. Wolf Snyder
SOUL Coya Elliott, Ren Klyce, David Parker
SOUND OF METAL – Jaime Baksht, Nicolas Becker, Phillip Bladh, Carlos Cortés, Michelle Couttolenc – WINNER
NIAMH ALGAR Calm With Horses
KOSAR ALI Rocks
MARIA BAKALOVA Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
DOMINIQUE FISHBACK Judas and the Black Messiah
ASHLEY MADEKWE County Lines
YUH-JUNG YOUN Minari – WINNER
DANIEL KALUUYA Judas and the Black Messiah – WINNER
BARRY KEOGHAN Calm With Horses
ALAN KIM Minari
LESLIE ODOM JR. One Night in Miami…
CLARKE PETERS Da 5 Bloods
PAUL RACI Sound of Metal
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
CALM WITH HORSES Nick Rowland, Daniel Emmerson, Joe Murtagh
THE DIG Simon Stone, Gabrielle Tana, Moira Buffini
THE FATHER Florian Zeller, Philippe Carcassone, Jean-Louis Livi, David Parfitt, Christopher Hampton
HIS HOUSE Remi Weekes, Martin Gentles, Edward Kings, Roy Lee
LIMBO Ben Sharrock, Irune Gurtubai, Angus Lamont
THE MAURITANIAN Kevin Macdonald, Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani, M.B. Traven
MOGUL MOWGLI Bassam Tariq, Riz Ahmed, Thomas Benski, Bennett McGhee
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN Emerald Fennell, Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Josey McNamara – WINNER
ROCKS Sarah Gavron, Ameenah Ayub Allen, Faye Ward, Theresa Ikoko, Claire Wilson
SAINT MAUD Rose Glass, Andrea Cornwell, Oliver Kassman
COLLECTIVE Alexander Nanau
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET Alastair Fothergill, Jonnie Hughes, Keith Scholey
THE DISSIDENT Bryan Fogel, Thor Halvorssen
MY OCTOPUS TEACHER Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed, Craig Foster – WINNER
THE SOCIAL DILEMMA Jeff Orlowski, Larissa Rhodes
ONWARD Dan Scanlon, Kori Rae
SOUL Pete Docter, Dana Murray – WINNER
WOLFWALKERS Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young
ANOTHER ROUND Tobias Lindholm, Thomas Vinterberg
MANK Jack Fincher
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN Emerald Fennell
ROCKS Theresa Ikoko, Claire Wilson
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 Aaron Sorkin
MANK Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
MINARI Emile Mosseri
NEWS OF THE WORLD James Newton Howard
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN Anthony Willis
SOUL Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross – WINNER
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH Sean Bobbitt
MANK Erik Messerschmidt
THE MAURITANIAN Alwin H. Küchler
NEWS OF THE WORLD Dariusz Wolski
NOMADLAND Joshua James Richards – WINNER
THE DIG Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana Macdonald
THE FATHER Peter Francis, Cathy Featherstone
MANK Donald Graham Burt, Jan Pascale – WINNER
NEWS OF THE WORLD David Crank, Elizabeth Keenan
REBECCA Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
MAKE UP & HAIR
THE DIG Jenny Shircore
HILLBILLY ELEGY Patricia Dehaney, Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM Matiki Anoff, Larry M. Cherry, Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal – WINNER
MANK Kimberley Spiteri, Gigi Williams
PINOCCHIO Mark Coulier
SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
GREYHOUND Pete Bebb, Nathan McGuinness, Sebastian von Overheidt
THE MIDNIGHT SKY Matt Kasmir, Chris Lawrence, David Watkins
MULAN Sean Faden, Steve Ingram, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN Santiago Colomo Martinez, Nick Davis, Greg Fisher
TENET – Scott Fisher, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Lockley – WINNER
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO BRITISH CINEMA