James McAvoy opted out of campaigning for an Oscar for his 2007 movie Atonement because he “felt cheap”.
The Scottish actor supported his drama The Last King of Scotland and his co-star Forest Whitaker during the 2006-2007 awards season and his eyes were opened to the months-long slog of schmoozing and networking that was expected of them.
When he received buzz for Atonement the following season, he choose not to go through the rigmarole again.
“(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. 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 said to GQ. “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.”
Despite his decision, the 43-year-old still managed to receive BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations – but they didn’t convert into wins.
Reflecting on his career now, McAvoy told the publication that he’s “getting long in the tooth” and is no longer bothered about booking roles that aren’t fun or interesting.
“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. More and more I’m looking for interesting experiences.”