James McAvoy is opening up about his refusal to campaign to win an Oscar which led to him not scoring a nod for his work on Atonement (2007).
In an interview with British GQ, McAvoy said that he saw first-hand what it took for Forest Whitaker to land his leading actor Oscar for his work on The Last King of Scotland, a film both actors starred in. McAvoy was seemingly not overjoyed with the way actors have to cozy up to members of the Academy to get a nod or a vote to win.
“[With the Last King of Scotland campaign], it was made clear to me that I was doing it for the benefit of other people. And I was totally down with that,” he told the publication. “But by the time Atonement came along, I was 26 or 27, and I was just like, I can’t do it, I’m not doing it, I don’t wanna do it.”
Atonement went on to receive 7 nominations at the Oscars including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Saoirse Ronan. The film directed by Joe Wright took a trophy for Best Original Score that went to Dario Marianelli.
“I didn’t want to play that part. I’ll push the film, I’ll try and get bums on seats. But the campaign, I felt… I felt cheap,” he added.
McAvoy has a 27-year-long career and says that he now only looks for “interesting experiences.”
“I love doing it, but I don’t love the daily grind of the film and telly business,” he explained. “Even if it’s a good script, I certainly can’t rationalise going to work at five or six in the morning and staying out till eight o’clock at night. If my character hasn’t got an interesting part in telling that story it’s quite soul destroying.”