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Anthony Hopkins' Oscar win, 20 years on

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Laura Chamberlain Laura Chamberlain | 15:38 UK time, Thursday, 29 March 2012

Twenty years ago Anthony Hopkins scooped one of the most prestigious accolades that Hollywood has to bestow, the Academy Award for best actor.

Hopkins won the gong on 30 March 1992 for his role as the brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic murderer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, adapted from the novel by Thomas Harris.

The Margam-born actor shone in the film as the murderer who helps FBI agent Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster) to catch serial killer Buffalo Bill.

As the late film critic and historian Dave Berry commented, "The screen career of Anthony Hopkins reached its zenith spectacularly when, in his 50s, a string of films allowed him to capitalise on his innate talent for playing reflective, introverted roles with rare intelligence."

"Hopkins played his role, occupying little screen time, with a twinkle, as Hannibal relishes the discomfort and asinine mistakes of his jailers, and the actor displayed hitherto unexplored extrovert facets of his extraordinary acting range."

Watch this archive clip of Hopkins talking to Terry Wogan just a day after his Oscar win.

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Hopkins' win marked the third year in succession that a British actor had been awarded the prize, with Jeremy Irons winning the previous year and Daniel Day-Lewis in 1990.

Hopkins beat some heavyweight acting peers to the award. Fellow nominees in 1992 included Warren Beatty, for his role as gangster Ben 'Bugsy' Siegel in the star-studded Bugsy; Robert De Niro for Martin Scorsese's thriller Cape Fear; Robin Williams for Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King and Nick Nolte for The Prince of Tides.

Did you know? Billy Crystal was the host of the 64th annual Academy Awards in 1992 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles. Such was the impact of The Silence of the Lambs on the cinematic world that for his first entrance Crystal was wheeled on stage, by two uniformed orderlies, strapped to a stretcher and wearing a replica of the Hannibal Lecter mask Hopkins had worn in the film.

The Silence of the Lambs scooped five Oscars in total at the 64th Academy Awards, for best actress in a leading role and best director for Jodie Foster and Jonathan Demme respectively plus best screenplay and best picture.

Following his win in 1992, Hopkins has received three more Oscar nominations so far in his career.

In 1994 he was again nominated for best actor in a leading role for the screen adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's best-selling novel The Remains of the Day (1993), in which he played butler James Stevens. He was beaten to the prize by Tom Hanks, who won for his role in Philadelphia.

Hopkins was nominated in same category in 1996 for Nixon (1995), the biographical story of the former US president Richard Nixon. He was pipped this time by Nicholas Cage for Leaving Las Vegas.

In 1998 he received a nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997) but he was beaten to the statuette by Robin Williams for his role in Good Will Hunting.

Try out your Oscar knowledge with a mini quiz - it's just for fun, find the answers at the foot of the article.

Quiz: Wales at the Oscars

  1. For what film did Richard Burton receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor?
  2. How many Oscar nominations did Burton receive in total?
  3. Which Neath-born actor won the best actor gong in 1946 for The Lost Weekend?
  4. What was the name of Hugh Griffith's character in Ben-Hur, which secured him the best supporting Oscar?
  5. And in which year did Griffith scoop the Oscar?
  6. Christian Bale won the best actor gong in 2011 for The Fighter, but in which Welsh town was he born?
  7. Which two Welsh-language films have been shortlisted in the Oscar category for best foreign language film?
  8. For which film did Rachel Roberts receive a nomination for best actress? (She missed out on the Oscar but picked up the Bafta for the role in the same year.)
  9. For which film did Catherine Zeta Jones scoop the Oscar for best supporting actress, and in what year did she claim the gong?
  10. Jack Howells' 1963 Oscar-winning documentary short, starring Richard Burton, was about which Welsh author?

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Quiz answers: 1. My Cousin Rachel (1952), 2. Seven: six for best actor and the one for best supporting actor, 3. Ray Milland, 4. Sheik Ilderim, 5. 1960, 6. Haverfordwest, 7. Paul Turner's Hedd Wyn (in 1994) and Paul Morrison's Solomon and Gaenor (in 2000), 8. This Sporting Life, 9. Chicago in 2003, 10. Dylan Thomas.


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