Oscars producer Steven Soderbergh confirms best actor award was moved to last expecting Chadwick Boseman win

Oscars 2021, Chadwick Boseman.
Fans hoped Chadwick Boseman would win a posthumous award (Picture: Getty)

Confirming what so many Oscars fans had assumed, show producer Steven Soderbergh said they’d moved the best actor category to the end of the ceremony, almost expecting the late Chadwick Boseman to win.

Many fans of the Black Panther star – who died in August last year after a private battle with colon cancer were left disappointed after he failed to win a posthumous Oscar for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Instead, the award went to The Father’s Sir Anthony Hopkins, who wasn’t at the awards to accept his gong and the televised event ended in bafflingly abrupt fashion.

Now Soderbergh has shed light on the rare re-ordering of the awards, with the best picture historically the final award of the evening.

Instead, in 2021 it was the third last (and was won by Chloe Zhao for Nomadland), followed by best actress (Frances McDormand took that one, also for Nomadland) and then best actor.

Soderbergh explained he and fellow producers Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins decided to end the ceremony on best actor due to the possibility of Boseman winning – and made the move in January, before nominations were announced.

Steven Soderbergh at the 93rd Annual Academy Awards.
Soderbergh opened up on the re-ordering of the awards (Picture: Getty Images)

He told Los Angeles Times: ‘It’s our belief – that I think is not unfounded – that actors’ speeches tend to be more dramatic than producers’ speeches.’

According to the report, he felt an emotional speech from the actor’s widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, meant there would be nowhere for the show to go from there and cemented the new order.

While Boseman was the favorite going into the April 25 ceremony to take the award, for his final performance in the film alongside Viola Davis, Soderbergh didn’t say he assumed he would win.

However, he did insist had he have won it ‘would have been such a shattering moment’ that ‘to come back after that would have been just impossible.’

He added: ‘I said if there was even the sliver of a chance that he would win and that his widow would speak, then we were operating under the fact that was the end of the show.’

Sir Anthony became the oldest Oscar winner in history after scooping the best actor gong, however Boseman’s brother Derrick insisted the family had no hard feelings towards Sir Anthony and wished him the best as ‘he’s ‘sure [Anthony] would if Chad won’.

Derrick told TMZ the family aren’t upset over the loss as the late actor didn’t put much value on the Oscars and ‘always described them to me as a campaign’.

According to his brother, Boseman would have seen winning an Oscar as an achievement but never an ‘obsession’.

He added that every nominated actor was deserving of the coveted award.


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