The director of Les Miserables has told Sky News how the stars of the Oscar-nominated film had to "prove themselves" to win their parts.
Tom Hooper described how some of Hollywood's biggest names were put to the test.
He said: "Everyone auditioned - Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and even Russell Crowe. But I think it was good because it created a level playing field where no one had a pre-ordained right to get the part.
"Also, because we were doing the singing live it was really important that they showed me that they were capable of working in that way - they all had to prove they were up to singing this amazing score."
But he said the cast felt the process was worth it.
He said: "If you're an actor it's one of those things you grow up loving. It's very much in the culture of an actor's upbringing, so everyone felt very lucky to be there."
Les Miserables is up for eight Academy Awards including nominations for Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, who is tipped to win Best Supporting Actress.
Despite boasting a huge international cast the director insists it is very much a British film.
He said: "We built huge sets at Pinewood Studios in London and we shot in and around the South East in many locations. We had well over a thousand people working on it and it was a British team.
"With the actors, yes we had some Americans and Australians so it wasn't entirely British, but I think it can count as a British film."
The filmmaker, who won an Oscar for directing The King's Speech in 2011, has been snubbed in the best director category this time round.
But he said: "I'm in good company with Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow in that sense."