Anthony Hopkins, who took home the award for his role in The Father, said he was absent from the BAFTAs because he was "painting in my hotel"

By Georgia Slater
April 12, 2021 11:06 AM
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Anthony Hopkins is making awards show history for the second time in a month.

On Sunday, the 83-year-old was awarded the best leading actor award at the 2021 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) for his role in The Father, making him the oldest actor in history to win the title.

The star was absent from the virtual ceremony, later revealing in a backstage interview that he was painting in his Wales hotel room and was unaware of his win.

"This is wonderful, never in my life did I expect I'd get this ... So for me, this is a bonus, it's a fun bonus, and I wish all the other nominees and winners congratulations," the actor said.

"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," he admitted.

Hopkins, who already made history last month as the oldest Best Actor nominee in the history of the Academy Awards, also opened up about his love for his profession, as well as his experience working on The Father.

LEAP Foundation: Sir Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
| Credit: Greg Doherty/Getty

"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," he said.

"I enjoy it, I keep it simple, I love it, it's a great life and to be able to express things," Hopkins added. "I hope I don't take myself too seriously."

In The Father, the iconic actor plays Anthony, a charming man struggling to keep events — and people — in line as he deals with dementia. Olivia Colman plays his character's daughter Anne in the drama.

The actor said filming The Father was "quite easy" as he "didn't have to act much, because I am old."

"We had the perfect script so it made it so easy, and when you're working with a great cast of actors, when you're working with a cast like this, it makes it so easy," he continued.

During Sunday's awards show, The Father writer and director Florian Zeller accepted Hopkins' trophy on his behalf and shared a message from the actor.

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"My heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in the making of The Father, extraordinary screenplay, and cast and crew. Everyone involved made it an unforgettable experience. It was an honor, thank you, merci Florian and thanks BAFTA," Zeller said.

The Father
Olivia Colman as Anne, Anthony Hopkins as Anthony
| Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Hopkins' victory marks his fifth BAFTA win and eighth nomination. He was previously awarded the BAFTA fellowship in 2008.