Oscar Producer Steven Soderbergh Says Chadwick Boseman Was Part of the Reason for Awards Order Change

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Oscars producer Steven Soderbergh is opening up about the controversial decision to switch up the show order of this year’s ceremony. In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Soderbergh revealed that he and his fellow producers were trying to do something different given the unusual nature of this year's awards season.

"We thought it might be fun to mix it up, especially if people didn’t know that was coming,” Soderbergh said. "So that was always part of the plan."

The producer added that the possibility that Chadwick Boseman could posthumously win the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his work in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom further fueled that desire.

"And then when the nominations came out and there was even the possibility that Chadwick could win posthumously, our feeling was if he were to win and his widow were to speak on his behalf, there would be nowhere to go after that. So we stuck with it," he added.

While Boseman winning was not certain, Soderbergh admitted that the possibility was enough reason to move the Best Actor and Best Actress awards to the end of the show.

"So it wasn’t like we assumed it would, but if there was even a possibility that it would happen, then you have to account for that," Soderbergh maintained. "That would have been such a shattering moment, that to come back after that would have been just impossible."

The shocking upset of an ending that saw the Best Actor Oscar go to Anthony Hopkins for his role in The Father was even more anticlimactic when Hopkins was not present to accept the award. With Zoom acceptance speeches not allowed at the 2021 Academy Awards, the show ended and the internet uproar ensued, but it's not a decision Soderbergh regrets.

When it comes to whether or not he would rethink the decision to not allow Zoom for anybody who couldn’t make it to the production sites, Soderbergh simply said, "No."

Despite his absence at the show, Hopkins caught wind of the controversy and took to Instagram to release a video, giving a belated speech and noting that he was not expecting to win his second-ever Oscar at this year's show. 

"Here I am in my homeland of Wales. At 83 years of age, I did not expect to get this award," Hopkins shared, standing in front of the sunny rolling hills. "I really didn't. I'm very grateful to the Academy, thank you." 

Hopkins previously won the BAFTA Award for the role, but lost out at the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards to Boseman's performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

"I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us far too early," Hopkins added in his speech of the late Black Panther star. "Again, thank you all very much. I really did not expect this, so I've been very privileged and honored." 

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