Anthony Hopkins was denied the ability to give his acceptance speech on the night of the Oscars due to the Academy's rules about no Zoom calls. In a move that shocked many, the Academy moved the Best Actor award to the final award of the night. Many figured this was because the Academy anticipated that the late Chadwick Boseman would win the award for his role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, but in a surprise upset, Hopkins won for his performance in The Father.
Unlike other awards shows, which implemented Zoom calls for nominees to account for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy vetoed Zooms so the nominees had to attend in-person at one of the many hubs they had set up across the globe to broadcast. Hopkins was nowhere to be seen, and The Academy accepted the award on his behalf. With the final award of the night presented with no one there to accept it, the ceremony ended on a rather lackluster note with no big speeches or tributes.
According to IndieWire, Hopkins' request to accept the award via Zoom was denied by the producers of the Oscar telecast. The 83-year-old actor (now the oldest acting Oscar winner) resides in Wales and had no intention to travel to the hubs in Dublin or London, so the actor opted to stay home and was asleep when the award was announced. This also was the case for 89-year-old Ann Roth, who won the Oscar for Best Costume Design for her work on Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
Given the eight-hour time difference between Los Angeles and Wales, Hopkins would have had to travel to Dublin or London location and be up until 4 a.m. Boseman was the projected frontrunner for much of the awards seasons, so Hopkins safely assumed it would be okay to miss the ceremony, given that traveling at 83 during a pandemic can be dangerous. When he woke up to discover he won, he released an acceptance speech thanking the Academy and honoring Boseman.
The Oscars' insentience on not having Zoom calls to accept awards but changing so much of the Academy Awards' tradition is bound to leave many baffled. Unlike the La La Land/Moonlight debacle back in 2017, which was a huge but also simple mistake, having the ceremony end with no one accepting an award was a mistake that they could have easily avoided had they allowed Hopkins to either safely accept his award from his home or by not pushing Best Actor to the final award on the night, given they couldn't know the outcome. One reason why Best Picture is the final award of the night is because someone will always be there to pick up the Oscar at the end of the night.
With the 93rd Academy Awards now in the books, it's clear that this Best Actor blunder capped off Hollywood's Biggest Night in the most frustrating way since 2017's Moonlight/La La Land debacle. With 2020's deluge of misfortune, it's become almost tiresome to trot out the word "unprecedented" when describing the general state of things, and the film industry has faced its fair share of challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps, then, it should come as no surprise that the Oscars celebrating the films which weathered a 2020 release still bore the rotten luck of their given year.
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