BAFTA 2021 Film Awards: Anthony Hopkins makes history as oldest star to win Leading Actor

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

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

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.’   

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

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

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

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

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

The actor’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)

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)

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)

Here for a friend: The actor's trophy was accepted by The Father's screenwriter Florian Zeller (pictured)

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

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

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

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

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

LEADING ACTRESS 

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  

LEADING ACTOR 

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

BEST FILM 

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

DIRECTOR 

ANOTHER ROUND Thomas Vinterberg

BABYTEETH Shannon Murphy

MINARI Lee Isaac Chung

NOMADLAND Chloé Zhao – WINNER

QUO VADIS, AIDA? Jasmila Žbanić

ROCKS Sarah Gavron

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

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

CASTING 

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

EDITING 

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

COSTUME DESIGN

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

SOUND

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

SUPPORTING ACTRESS 

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

SUPPORTING ACTOR 

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

DOCUMENTARY 

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

ANIMATED FILM

ONWARD Dan Scanlon, Kori Rae

SOUL Pete Docter, Dana Murray – WINNER

WOLFWALKERS Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

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

ORIGINAL SCORE 

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

CINEMATOGRAPHY

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

PRODUCTION DESIGN

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

Noel Clarke

BAFTA FELLOWSHIP

Ang Lee 

 

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