The two-time Oscar winner beat out fellow nominees Riz Ahmed, Chadwick Boseman, Gary Oldman and Steven Yeun

By Elizabeth Leonard
April 26, 2021 02:57 AM
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Sir Anthony Hopkins
Credit: Timothy Hiatt/Getty

Anthony Hopkins made history when he won the Best Actor honor at Sunday's 93rd Academy Awards for his starring role in The Father.

The only hitch? The celebrated star, 83, was asleep in bed at the time and had no idea he'd won what was the final award of the evening or that he had become a record holder as the oldest star to win an Oscar in the category.

"Tony was in Wales, where he grew up, and he was asleep at 4 in the morning when I woke him up to tell him the news," Hopkins' long-time agent Jeremy Barber tells PEOPLE.

"He was so happy and so grateful."

Listen below to the episode of our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on the 2021 Oscars. 

The two-time Oscar winner, who beat out fellow nominees Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom)Gary Oldman (Mank), and Steven Yeun (Minari), had recently returned to his native Wales.

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

"After a year in quarantine, and being double-vaccinated, he was finally able to return to Wales, and age 83, it was a great relief after such a difficult year," says Barber. "But he loved the role in The Father – it's his proudest performance – and to be the oldest living actor to win in the category means so much to him."

Presenter Joaquin Phoenix, who won the category last year for his performance in Joker, accepted the award on Hopkins' behalf. 

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The Welsh actor won his first at the 64th Academy Awards, earning the Best Actor award for his iconic performance as the expert psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the 1992 psychological thriller The Silence of the Lambs opposite Oscar winner Jodie Foster.

In The Father, Hopkins plays Anthony, an 80-year-old man with dementia who defiantly rejects the caregivers that his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) introduces to him. As his condition worsens, Anthony's confusion surrounding his memories affects his identity and the relationships around him. 

This was Hopkins' sixth Oscar nomination.