When it comes to the Best Actor race at this year’s Oscars, a posthumous win for Chadwick Boseman has seemed all but guaranteed for months. But could a massive upset actually be in the cards?
Boseman has long been considered the Best Actor frontrunner for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the final film he completed prior to his death, and the late actor has already won at the Golden Globe Awards, the Critics’ Choice Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
But also in the mix is Anthony Hopkins, whose performance in The Father was hailed as one of the best of his career, and Hopkins recently won over Boseman in an upset at the British Academy Film Awards. Pundits generally chalked that up to the BAFTAs, the British equivalent of the Oscars, simply favoring a celebrated British actor, and most experts are still predicting Boseman will win the Academy Award.
But days ahead of the big night, Variety reports that based on conversations with some Academy voters, the Best Actor race “may not be as clear as it once seemed.” Indeed, the report quotes one voting member as saying that even though they believe Boseman will win, they personally voted for Hopkins. That’s a sentiment that Variety‘s Clayton Davis writes has been expressed by “multiple voters over the past few days.” Might voters perceive Boseman’s win as such a slam dunk that they think backing Hopkins won’t make a difference, only for this to tip the scales?
I feel like I’ve read a dozen anonymous Oscar ballots that say, “Chadwick Boseman has this, but I’m voting for Anthony Hopkins.”
— Guy Lodge (@GuyLodge) April 21, 2021
A Hopkins upset would call to mind Olivia Colman’s shock Best Actress victory over frontrunner Glenn Close at the 2019 Oscars, though this situation is clearly much different given this will be the Academy’s last chance to award Boseman an Oscar following his tragic death. Ultimately, Boseman’s win is still quite likely, but for a race that has appeared all locked up, there might be a bit of unexpected suspense involved after all. Brendan Morrow