James McAvoy says he shunned Oscar campaign for Atonement because it made him feel ‘cheap’
James McAvoy has said that he refused to take part in the awards circuit for Atonement because the process made him feel “cheap”.
The actor starred opposite Keira Knightley in the film adaptation of Ian McEwan’s bestselling novel, which was nominated for six Oscars.
While McAvoy’s performance was singled out and lauded in many reviews, he did not earn a Best Actor nomination, with only a young Saoirse Ronan gaining an acting nod.
But in a new interview with GQ Hype, McAvoy said that, while he’d missed out on a Best Supporting Actor nod forThe Last King of Scotland the year before, he decided to take a step back when it came to Atonement.
Having watched other actors go through the process of trying to secure a nomination, McAvoy said that “it was made clear to me that I was doing it for the benefit of other people”.
“I was totally down with that [for The Last King of Scotland]. 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.”
He continued: “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.”
Beginning in the 1930s, Atonement centres around a crime and the lasting impact it has on a family over 60 years.
Elsewhere in the interview, Scottish actor McAvoy discussed his biggest criticisms of the X-Men film franchise, in which he played a young version of Patrick Stewart’s Professor Charles Xavier.
Questioned whether he’d been asked to reprise his role of Mr Tumnus in a Chronicles of Narnia reboot, McAvoy firmly and colourfully denied the claims.
“Have they f***,” he said.