Viewers expected Chadwick Boseman to win Best Actor to end last night’s Oscars, and when he didn’t, the show spiraled into chaos
There were many memorable moments at last night’s Oscars, but to viewers at home, one definitely stood out: The entire ending of the show, which appeared to have been built around Chadwick Boseman posthumously winning the Best Actor award — only he didn’t win, and it seemed to send the show into absolute chaos.
Here’s what happened: As Oscars fans know, the show traditionally ends with the award for Best Picture, which is widely considered to be one of the most important awards of the night. This year, however, it was announced at the last minute that the awards for Best Actress and Best Actor would close out the show for the first time in decades. Viewers assumed this was because Chadwick Boseman would win the Best Actor award for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which has been scooping up awards all season — allowing the show to end on an emotional moment honoring the late actor.
And then, Anthony Hopkins won the category. To make matters even worse, Hopkins wasn’t at the ceremony to accept his award, so Joaquin Phoenix, the presenter, awkwardly accepted it on his behalf before the show’s credits abruptly started to role.
To say that viewers were confused by the sudden turn of events would be putting things lightly.
So many people described the ending as “chaos,” because, let’s be honest, that’s pretty much what it was.
Critics of the show were quick to point out that their issue was not with Hopkins winning the category, but with producers who bet on Boseman winning, only to end up with this incredibly awkward moment at the very end of the show.
There was also criticism rightly pointing out that despite several incredible performances from actors of color in the category, the Oscar went to a white man, because of course it did.
To his absolute credit, Hopkins was incredibly gracious about the whole situation. He posted a video to social media this morning, thanking the Academy for his award, but also paying his respects to Boseman, who died at age 43 from colon cancer last August.
“At 83 years of age, I did not expect to get this award. I really didn’t,” he said. “I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us far too early.”
If anything, this is proof that the show’s producers really don’t know what’s in those envelopes until they’re opened onstage. But that won’t stop Boseman’s snub from going down as one of the most awkward moments in Oscars history.