Anthony Hopkins Makes Oscar History as Oldest Acting Winner Ever

In a surprise, the British actor won in the Best Actor category for his performance in “The Father”

Anthony Hopkins in The Father
Sony Pictures Classics

With Anthony Hopkins’ surprise win as Best Actor at the 2021 Academy Awards for his performance in “The Father,” the British star became the oldest acting winner in Oscar history.

Hopkins, who previously won Best Actor for playing Hannibal Lecter in 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs,” is 83 years and 115 days old on Sunday, the day of the Oscars; the previous oldest acting winner was the late Christopher Plummer, who won his first Oscar at 82 years and 75 days for his supporting role in 2010’s “Beginners.”

Hopkins was considered an upset winner since the vast majority of earlier awards shows this season had honored the late Chadwick Boseman for his role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” — a performance that had been heavily favored this year. This year’s other nominees were Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal“), Gary Oldman (“Mank“) and Steven Yeun (“Minari“).

Hopkins did not attend Sunday’s ceremony, either at L.A.’s Union Station or in London; Joaquin Phoenix, who presented the award after winning Best Actor last year for “Joker,” accepted on his behalf.

The Father” was directed by Florian Zeller and follows a Hopkins as an elderly man in the throes of dementia who refuses assistance from his daughter as he ages, but soon begins to doubt his loved ones and even his own reality. The film also stars Olivia ColmanMark Gatiss and Olivia Williams.

In addition to his Oscar wins, Hopkins has been nominated four other times — in 1994 for “The Remains of the Day” in the Best Actor category, in 1996 for “Nixon” in the Best Actor category and two supporting nominations for 1997’s “Amistad” and 2019’s “The Two Popes.”


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