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Mike Leigh blasts BAFTA and Oscars

September 17, 2010 |  7:01 pm

Notoriously candid director Mike Leigh really let loose when I sat down with him at the Toronto International Film Festival and asked him what he thought about showbiz awards. He's grateful for the love he gets from Yankee and European kudos, but — yikes — quite upset over being snubbed by the top film awards in his native Britain.

"Let's put it this way," he said. " 'Happy-Go-Lucky.' Sally Hawkins got the Silver Bear for best actress (at the Berlin Film Festival). She got a Golden Globe. We had Oscar nominations and a huge number of critics' awards in the States. We had no nominations in any categories at all in the BAFTAs."

"Why do you think that is?" I asked.

"God only knows and if he existed I would ask him!" Leigh harrumphed. When I pressed him further, he added, "BAFTA genuflects to Hollywood. The result of that is that some kinds of British films get neglected."

And what about the Academy Awards?

"I've been to the Oscars a few times," he replied. "Fascinating experience. We know we're never going to win because the guys from Hollywood do. I don't mind that. It's the name of the game. From the point of view of what actually matters most, which is getting our films in front of audiences, it's a terrific bonus."

Video by Paul Sheehan

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