McAvoy’s experience of helping his “Last King of Scotland” co-star Forest Whitaker campaign for an Oscar left him sour in the process.
With awards season in full swing, the stars of this year’s best films are spending increasing amounts of time connecting with Academy members in a bid to secure Oscar nominations for themselves. Most actors and filmmakers have accepted awards campaigns as part of the film funding process, but not every actor is willing to participate.
James McAvoy, for example, won’t be launching an Oscar campaign any time soon. In a new interview with GQ UK, the actor revealed he refused to endorse an Oscar nomination for his role in Atonement. Although his performance in Joe Wright’s 2007 film was warmly received, he was uncomfortable with the level of self-promotion required.
McAvoy made the decision after successfully helping Forest Whitaker campaign for an Oscar for The Last King of Scotland the year before. While he was happy to support his co-star, the experience angered him throughout the process.
“[During the ‘Last King of Scotland’ campaign], I was made to realize that I was doing it for the good of other people,” McAvoy said. “And I was totally done with it. But when ‘Atonement’ came out, I was 26 or 27 and I was like, ‘I can’t do it, I won’t do it, I don’t want to do it.’
McAvoy stated that he doesn’t mind promoting his films when they first come out, he just doesn’t want to actively seek awards for himself.
“I didn’t want to play that role. I’ll push the movie, I’ll try to get bums in the seats. But the campaign made me feel … I felt cheap.”
The aversion to awards shows is part of a larger shift in the way McAvoy thinks about life in Hollywood. The actor explained that he’s trying to work less and only prioritize projects that really excite him.
“I like doing it, but I don’t like the day-to-day life of the film and television business,” he said. “Even though it’s a good script, I certainly can’t rationalize going to work at five or six in the morning and staying in until eight at night. When my character doesn’t play an interesting role in telling this story, it’s pretty soul crushing. I’m always looking for interesting experiences.”
https://www.indiewire.com/2022/12/james-mcavoy-refused-oscar-campaign-atonement-1234787952/ James McAvoy turned down Oscar campaign for Atonement