Palisadians (Past and Present) Play a Role in 2021 Academy Awards Ceremony

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Anthony Hopkins received the Oscar for best actor at the 2021 Awards and accepted the award the next day while in Wales, where he is visiting.

By BERNICE FOX

Special to Circling the News

Former Pacific Palisades honorary mayor Anthony Hopkins says he “really did not expect” to win the best actor Oscar at Sunday’s Academy Awards. But he did win for taking movie-goers inside the mind of a man with dementia in “The Father.”

Hopkins was not at the Oscar ceremony, held at Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. Instead, he was in Wales, where he’s been visiting for most of April. Unlike other nominees in international locations throughout the evening, he was not on screen, ready to go live if he won. So, presenter Joaquin Phoenix said “the Academy congratulates Anthony Hopkins and accepts the Oscar on his behalf.”

Hopkins waited a few hours until the sun came up in Wales Monday morning to express his gratitude. With a rolling green and golden landscape behind him, Hopkins spoke on video to his nearly three-million Instagram followers.

“Good morning. Here I am in my homeland in Wales. And at 83 years of age, I did not expect to get this award. I really didn’t. Very grateful to the Academy and thank you.”

Then Hopkins praised the fellow-nominee who had been a favorite by many to win a posthumous Oscar.

“I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us far too early.”

Boseman was 43 when he died in August from colon cancer. His role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was his last role and his last chance for an Oscar.

Anthony Hopkins from a scene in ‘The Father.’
Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

Hopkins wrapped up his 38-second comments with “and again, thank you all very much.  I really did not expect this. So I feel very privileged and honored. Thank you.”

This is the second Oscar for Hopkins, who has a total of six nominations over his lengthy career. He won his first Oscar for playing a frightening guy who liked a nice Chianti with his fava beans in the 1991 thriller, “The Silence of the Lambs.”

At 83, Hopkins becomes the oldest to win an Oscar for acting. Christopher Plummer held that record after winning best supporting actor for the 2011 film, “Beginners” at age 82.

Palisadian Don Cheadle got some time in the Oscar spotlight when he presented Oscars to the hair and makeup team and to the costume designer on “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Former Palisadian Reese Witherspoon, who now lives in Brentwood, presented the Oscars for best animated short and animated feature. Her pal, Laura Dern, was an executive producer on the winning animated short, “If Anything Happens I Love You” about parents grappling with the death of their preteen daughter in a school shooting.

A previous honorary mayor of Pacific Palisades, Rita Moreno, was given the honor of presenting film clips for the eight best picture nominees and announcing the winner, “Nomadland.”

Before that, Moreno introduced a trailer for Steven Spielberg’s new version of “West Side Story,” scheduled to open December 10. Moreno noted that the original film version from 1961 won 10 Academy Awards including her own for best supporting actress. She’s in the upcoming version, playing a new character.

Rita Moreno (right) and daughter Fernanda Gordon before the Oscar ceremony. Moreno, another Pacific Palisades honorary mayor, announced the winner of the best picture.

And remembering that even without winning, it’s an honor just to be nominated. There are several other nominated films with links to the Palisades.

Michael Keaton is in the cast of “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” which was up for best picture, original screenplay, director and editing.

Two movies starring Tom Hanks and produced by his Playtone production company were nominated for technical awards. “Greyhound” was up for best sound. “News of the World” also was nominated for best sound, along with cinematography, production design and original musical score.

Chris Pratt is the voice of a main character in “Onward,” which was nominated for best animated feature.

And Adam Brody has a small, but important role in “Promising Young Woman,” which was up for best picture and won for best original screenplay (by Emerald Fennell, who was also nominated for best director).

See Anthony Hopkins’ thank-you speech here: https://www.instagram.com/anthonyhopkins/

Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern on the red carpet before the Oscar ceremony.
Photo: ABC/A.M.P.A.S.

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