James McAvoy says he will no longer participate in Oscar campaigns because it made him feel ‘cheap’

James McAvoy says he will no longer participate in Oscar campaigns because it made him feel ‘cheap’

James McAvoy has said he refuses to participate in Oscar campaigns because doing so in the past made him feel “cheap”.

During awards seasons, stars of films are expected to spend time socialising with members of the Academy in order to hopefully secure nominations for themselves and their films.

Oscars campaigns are an accepted part of awards season for most actors and filmmakers. McAvoy, however, has opened up on his decision not to participate in the self-promotion.

In a new interview with GQ, the actor said that he had refused to campaign for an Oscar nomination for his role opposite Keira Knightly in 2007’s Atonement.

McAvoy said that he made his decision not to partake in the Oscars campaign after he had successfully campaigned on behalf of Forrest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland the previous year.

Whitaker won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the 2006 film.

“[During the Last King of Scotland campaign], it was made clear to me that I was doing it for the benefit of other people,” McAvoy said. “And I was totally down with that. 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.”

McAvoy, 43, explained that he is not opposed to promoting his films when they are released, only that he does not want to go out of his way to seek awards for himself ahead of awards season.

James McAvoy in ‘Atonement’ (Universal Pictures)
James McAvoy in ‘Atonement’ (Universal Pictures)

“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 said.

McAvoy has said that he is trying to work less now, stating that while he loves acting, he does not enjoy the “daily grind of the film and telly business”.

He said: “If my character hasn’t got an interesting part in telling that story it’s quite soul destroying. More and more I’m looking for interesting experiences.”

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that ‘The Last King of Scotland’ was released in 2016 rather than 2006.