Poor old Anthony Hopkins was Public Enemy Number One last week when he won Best Actor at the Oscars. The late Chadwick Boseman had been favourite and fans took to social media to express their displeasure in strident terms.
o make matters worse, Hopkins was nowhere to be found in Hollywood’s Union Station, having taken to his bed in a very different timezone in Wales. All of which meant that the 93rd Academy Awards ended with a whimper and much dark muttering.
But Hopkins may well have been the worthy winner. The Father is practically the only one of last week’s Oscar winners I haven’t seen, but American reviewers have described his portrayal of a man angrily battling dementia as a brilliant, mercurial tour de force.
At 83, he is the oldest winner of an acting Oscar, which is surely a cause for celebration. At a time of life when most actors – and civilians – have their trotters up, he shows no sign of slowing down: in the last year, he has starred in three movies, one of them (Elyse) directed by his wife, Stella.
This is not his first Best Actor Academy Award, of course: he won back in 1992 for his unforgettable portrayal of urbane maniac Hannibal Lecter in Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs.
That performance, often imitated, much lampooned, remains his most famous, but is only one highlight in a truly remarkable career.
Like most of the great actors of his generation, he started on the stage, but Hopkins came to hate it. In 1973, he walked out of a National Theatre production of Macbeth in mid-run and moved to Los Angeles.
There, after several false starts, he would eventually establish himself as a major star and, since winning that first Oscar, has had his pick of roles.
Despite his many triumphs, Hopkins has never taken…