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Chadwick Boseman Losing At The Oscars Has Sparked A Ton Of Drama After People Accused The Academy Of "Building The Entire Show" Around Him

"Did the Academy hold Best Actor until the end because they assumed Chadwick Boseman would posthumously win and then he didn't?"

Last updated on April 26, 2021, at 1:14 p.m. ET

Posted on April 26, 2021, at 6:01 a.m. ET

The Academy is facing backlash and being accused of building Sunday night's Oscars ceremony around the late Chadwick Boseman and betting on him to win, only for the end of the show to fall into chaos when Anthony Hopkins won instead.

Pool / Getty Images

It's been a tradition since 1940 that the final category presented at the Oscars every year is Best Picture, with it widely being regarded as the biggest award of the night.

Patrick Wymore / Walt Disney Television via Getty

However, after the running order was kept under wraps in the lead-up to the show, it was then revealed that there would be a change — for the first time in decades, the Best Actress and Best Actor categories would respectively conclude the show.

When it became apparent that the Best Actor category would be the final award of the night, many thought that this would be an emotional and heartfelt nod to Chadwick Boseman, who was nominated for the first time.


Boseman, who died of colon cancer at the age of 43 last August, had been a frontrunner throughout the award season for his starring role alongside Viola Davis in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, scooping up wins at the Critics' Choice Awards, the Golden Globes, and the SAG Awards.

However, in what looked like a bet gone very wrong, people were left stunned when the award was eventually given to Anthony Hopkins for his role in The Father.

Sony Pictures Classics

To make matters all the more awkward, Hopkins wasn't present to accept the award, meaning presenter Joaquin Phoenix accepted it on his behalf before the show then ended abruptly.

Todd Wawrychuk/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

In a video posted on social media the morning after the show, Hopkins thanked the Academy and paid his respects to Boseman.

Sir Anthony Hopkins showing nothing but grace and class with a tribute to Chadwick Boseman after winning Best Actor. #Oscars

Twitter: @MeAloneInMyMind

"At 83 years of age, I did not expect to get this award — I really didn't," Hopkins said. "I'm very grateful to the Academy, and thank you. And I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us far too early."

Considering the awards had been rejigged in order for Best Actor to come last, it seemed that the producers of the show had potentially pinned their hopes and bets on Boseman winning, only for it to backfire, and people weren't happy.

Yeah the “let’s put Best Actor last so, obviously, we can celebrate the life of Chadwick Boseman” really backfired

Twitter: @mikeryan

Critics accused the Oscars of "[building] the entire show" around Boseman.

They build the entire show around a Chadwick Boseman ending and then Anthony Hopkins won and didn't show up

Twitter: @kylebuchanan

The Oscars were so sure that Chadwick Boseman was going to win that they REARRANGED THE ENTIRE CEREMONY so his category could be last, and then they gave the award to Anthony Hopkins instead...the most chaotic and unhinged thing I've ever seen.

Twitter: @SpencerAlthouse

And many described the final moments of the night as awkward and chaotic.

An absent Anthony Hopkins winning over Chadwick Boseman during a ceremony built to end around a Boseman win while Joaquin Phoenix awkwardly stumbles through it all Chaos!

Twitter: @JacobSHall

Wait, did the Academy hold Best Actor until the end because they assumed Chadwick Boseman would posthumously (and rightly) win and then he didn't, so they're like "WELP, good night!" #Oscars

Twitter: @cmclymer

People were also quick to point out that they weren't upset with Hopkins winning, but with the Academy for shuffling the order of the categories and seemingly setting up Boseman for the win.

To be clear bc I know this will be misconstrued- I haven’t seen The Father and have no opinion on the performance, it’s just that the re-structuring of the ceremony made it feel like a slap in the face

Twitter: @Will_Kellogg

Wow, what a massively bad idea. And this overshadows the fact that both Anthony Hopkins and Chadwick Boseman were brilliant and one of them had to win. The spotlight is now shining solely on the producers. Huge mistake. From In Memoriam on, this show was a disaster.

Twitter: @MurrellDan

Every single indication felt like they moved around the categories so that Chadwick Boseman would win best actor at the very end of the show. And then Anthony Hopkins wins, doesn’t give a speech, and they roll credits. This is MAXIMUM chaotic energy

Twitter: @blockbustedpod

The climax of the 2021 Oscars was maybe proof of one thing — that the crew working behind the camera really aren't privy to the upcoming results and who's won what before the envelope itself is opened on stage.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Academy votes are tallied by a third party — accountancy firm PwC — and envelopes are placed in locked briefcases backstage before they are presented.

You can read more about the process here.

In an interview on Monday with Variety, top ABC/Disney producer Rob Mills confirmed they had made a bet on Boseman winning and were just as stunned as the rest of us when that turned out to not be the case.

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

But Mills said it all the categories were mixed up to try to keep things fresh.

"It was not meant to end on somebody who was not present,” Mills conceded. “It was a calculated risk, that I think still paid off because everybody was talking about it."

Correction: Presenter Joaquin Phoenix accepted the award on Anthony Hopkins' behalf. The winning actor's video speech was not shared on social media until Monday morning. A previous version of this story misstated this timeline.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.