In the aftermath of last night’s Oscars upset in the Best Actor category, a lot of talk is flying around over the ending that saw Anthony Hopkins win over Chadwick Boseman. Apparently that’s not the end of the story though, as the rather weird and abrupt ending to the 93rd Academy Awards was due to an ill-timed flub. It reportedly comes down to Joaquin Phoenix’s presenting gig, which ended with a pretty big misunderstanding.
While Anthony Hopkins wasn’t present to accept his award for his performance in director Florian Zeller’s The Father, there was a plan already in place for Hopkins’ absence. Judging by the supposed details The Guardian reported on said plan, it could have turned this twist ending into a moment of bittersweet Oscar joy. This is because the original plan, according to the publication, was that Sir Anthony Hopkins' co-star from The Father, Olivia Colman, was supposed to accept the award on his behalf.
Now even in an unconfirmed capacity, that totally sounds like something the Oscars would have done. Even in the supposedly unlikely event that Anthony Hopkins won, the show's producers probably thought that Olivia Colman would have delivered a speech that would have absolutely crushed at the ceremony. Between Colman's humor-tinged acceptance and presenting speeches through the last two years of Oscars history, and her ability to also balance the air of celebration with the somber undercurrent of the 93rd Academy Awards, it feels like this alternate scenario would have been A+.
Anyone who watched the 93rd Academy Awards last night knows that’s not how the story ended though. Instead, the night’s festivities concluded in a rather abrupt fashion, with Joaquin Phoenix accepting the award for Sir Anthony Hopkins, on behalf of the Academy. This basically closed out the night and threw things to Questlove to sign off for the evening. Here’s what the world saw, in real time:
Now, of course, someone from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences would need to weigh in on this Joaquin Phoenix story to either confirm or deny if that supposed plan was in place. But it already sounds like this huge upset that has the internet talking could have been mitigated with the right acceptance speech. It’s just that should the story above be true, Olivia Colman wasn’t given a chance to make that speech, ending the evening on a very weird note.
Eventually, Anthony Hopkins would give his own acceptance speech, full of genuine surprise and containing a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman. If anything, his final word on the moment should be what’s remembered in terms of the competition for Best Actor itself; especially when the humble surprise Hopkins had for his win shows that even he probably thought Boseman was going to win that golden statuette.
Again, this story about Joaquin Phoenix’s handling of the Best Actor announcement could be pure rumor. Whether we’ll get any sort of closure on the validity of this story has yet to be seen. Though no matter the outcome, Anthony Hopkins’ Best Actor win should go down as yet another reminder of just how unpredictable Oscar night truly is. As we’ve seen before, the presenters are very human, and once that envelope opens, anything can happen.