Anthony Hopkins on Oscar campaigns: ‘Disgusting. Don’t they have any self respect?’

Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins is an utter curmudgeon, but he’s a lovable one because he really tells it like it is. He’s not complaining for the sake of it but makes some valid points in a new interview with HuffPo about those actors (and directors) who actively campaign for Oscars. From a gossip standpoint, I actually enjoy when celebs put themselves out there — like Anne Hathaway and Ben Affleck are currently doing — for those silly Academy Awards because we usually end up getting some good dirt in the process, you know? But I can see why it might be somewhat tiresome for these candidates’ fellow actors to witness.

Also and for better or worse, Anthony Hopkins is no Daniel Day Lewis because he doesn’t feel the need to immerse himself in a character to the point where he’s living that life even while the cameras aren’t rolling. Of course, this is acceptable because DDL and Hopkins are both very well-respected actors who do disappear in their roles where it really matters … onscreen. Here’s some excerpts from the HuffPo interview within which Hopkins discusses his own “process” and much more:

Anthony Hopkins

On Alfred Hitchcock: “I think later in his years, he could have retired because some of the films became terrible.”

He loves Helen Mirren: “She was exactly what I expected. Very professional, friendly, very good. Excellent actress. No-nonsense.”

Does he stay in character during production? “No, I don’t. There’s no such thing. Well, you can do it if you want, but I don’t go along with being called ‘Mr. Hitchcock.’ I think that’s a lot of crap. I just don’t understand that. If actors want to do that, fine. If they want to be miserable, that’s up to them. I’m not interested. It’s a job. I do the job. I’m certainly not going to make my life miserable just to be a character. It’s a pain in the ass. Who the hell wants to be with some miserable grump because he wants to get his performance right, so you have to call him this or call him that? It’s so boring. I’ve been with actors like that and they’re a pain in the ass, they really are. They’re unpleasant to work with and I don’t think they’re always that good either. I go out of my way never to work with them again.”

Does he ever want to retire? “No, I did a few years ago. I didn’t actually plan it, but I thought, ‘Maybe I should just slow down and call it a day.’ My wife said to me, ‘You do that, you will die. You can’t retire. It’s your work, it’s your life. You love working.’ When men retire — particularly men — if they get out too early, they usually die of stress or loneliness or they drink too much or their hearts give out. I think a certain amount of stress in life is good. The stress of just working, which takes effort — I think it keeps you going.”

On Oscar campaigns: “You know, I’ve been around — I’ve got the Oscar myself for Silence of the Lambs — and having to be nice to people and to be charming and flirting with them … oh, come on! People go out of their way to flatter the nominating body and I think it’s kind of disgusting. That’s always been against my nature. You know, kissing the backside of the authorities that can make or break it; I can’t stand all that. I find it nauseating to watch and I think it’s disgusting to behold. People groveling around and kissing the backsides of famous producers and all that. It makes me want to throw up, it really does. It’s sick-making. I’ve seen it so many times. I saw it fairly recently, last year. Some great producer-mogul and everyone kisses this guy’s backside. I think, ‘What are they doing? Don’t they have any self respect?’ I wanted to say, ‘F#@! off.’

[From HuffPo]

Hmm, I wonder who the “producer-mogul” is that Hopkins is talking about in that last excerpt — Harvey Weinstein? He’s a big player in the Oscars every damn year. Between the Oscars and Marchesa, I think it’s pretty clear that everyone in Hollywood kisses Harvey’s butt.

So the question remains: Will Anthony Hopkins catch heat for his negative Oscar remarks like Joaquin Phoenix did? Somehow, I can’t see Anthony responding, “I guess I sound like a d-ck.” It would be funny if he did though.

Anthony Hopkins

Photos courtesy of WENN

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71 Responses to “Anthony Hopkins on Oscar campaigns: ‘Disgusting. Don’t they have any self respect?’”

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  1. Eleonor says:

    I’m totally with him on this, the academy award should be an achievement to talent and work, not pr.

    • Nola says:

      In a perfect world the academy would award talent but its never been that way. It’s all about awarding an image or idea. Sometimes they get it right but not all the time.
      In the age if the Internet it seems that many actors and spectors have become disillusioned with Oscar and his (sweat pervy producer) friends.

      • V4Real says:

        I’m with AH on this; the Oscars are definetely not what it used to be. Maybe that’s why some have lost a lot of respect for it. People no longer let the talent speak for itself and it is all about campaigning; it has become to political for me.

  2. Calimero says:

    I love him, he’s a fantastic actor and I agree with him about kissing the backside

  3. brin says:

    That’s a big side eye to Ben “Good Daddy” Affleck.

  4. Riana says:

    I find it disgusting, it reduces what little importance the awards were supposed to have down to who puts on the better show.

    Then it’s not about best actor at all, your skill or your onscreen accomplishments.

    Then its just King and Queen of the Prom Hollywood style.

    P.S. that first picture is absolutely adorable.

  5. GoodCapon says:

    Paging Anne Hathaway! :D

    As for the “producer-mogul” bit, I’m pretty sure it’s Harvey Weinstein he was talking about.

  6. stacey says:

    He looks fantastic for his age! He so needs to bring back Hannibal Lecter for just one more movie!!

  7. L says:

    I don’t think he will as 1) He’s more classy and well respected and 2) He actually made it about the oscar campaigning (without dropping tons of F-bombs). Joaquim ranted about the award season and then had to explain he meant campaigning.

  8. Fancyamazon says:

    I completely agree with him.

  9. ernie says:

    I get what he’s saying. I’m not into what the Clooneys, Pitts, Weinsteins and the like have done to the Oscars. It’s like a goddamn presidential campaign. It really is interesting from a standpoint of pride. For me it would really be a bitter pill to swallow. I’m not sure I would be able to appreciate the award if I knew my actual work had about 40% share of the total victory. That it was won more by shaking hands and kissing ass than the actual work and talent. So I hope Sir Anthony doesn’t take it back.
    This is one of my problems with Pitt and Clooney. Those two really get their hands dirty. They want it too hard. For the sake of just getting their hands on the statue.

  10. smith says:

    A self-respecting man – you go sir!!

  11. Theuth says:

    The thing is, he’s a theatre actor first. He became famous for Hannibal Lecter later in life, and I love what he has always said – that “extreme method” actors are a pain in the ass to work with (true), that whoring for awards is not worth it if you really enjoy acting. Especially if you know how the backstage works.
    If you have never watched his interviews about Silence of the Lambs, this is always been his opinion.

  12. mln76 says:

    Meh I mean he has done some clunkers that were clearly for the paycheck (Wolfman anyone?) . I think in Hollywood everyone is playing a game…SOME have the talent to trancend the game but they are all playing it.

    • LAK says:

      The first thing I saw him in was HOLLYWOOD WIVES based on a Jackie Collins’s hard to take him seriously as a serious actor after that rather than someone who is just taking a cheque.

      I do agree with his opinion on ‘method’ actors. And he doesn’t make you eyeroll when discussing his process.

    • Fancyamazon says:

      Well, he said he likes/needs to work. Maybe he felt like he needed to just do something. Or perhaps he doesn’t take himself as seriously as people want him to. I don’t think it was necessarily just “for the money”.

      It isn’t like he’s gone the route of some actors and simply taken job after job just because he’s offered one, but I think that even “serious” actors can take a job “on a lark”, as it were. He’s proven himself already, so why not?

  13. Tuxedo Cat says:

    Well…He has an Oscar, so it’s easy for him to say….

  14. KellyinSeattle says:

    He’s a great actor….and he actually stands up and says what he thinks. The man deserves R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
    I don’t even watch the oscars anymore; they’re so commercial.

    • Cameron says:

      I totally disagree with his assessment. Why? I don’t see Sean Penn kissing anyones butt. Who’ve won an Oscar twice in the past 10 years. Same goes for forJamie fox , Denzel Washington , Adrian Brody , and Daniel day Lewis . I’m not of fan of Ben affleck but I dont know how being seen as a family man would give him an oscar. When Sean Penn obviously never had that mo attributed to him. To say that it wasn’t a popularity contest back in a day. There always was talk that Liz Taylor won her first oscar because she was very sick and thought to be dying . And she’s another one who didn’t have stelllar rep. So please share your thoughts as to why Ben A should trot out the dimple ones to win an oscar or nom? I don’t get it based on previous winners.

  15. dorothy says:

    I agree. Oscars should be about the work, the art…it’s become a popularity contest now. It is disgusting.

  16. normades says:

    I totally read that interview with his speaking voice in my head!

  17. Saphana says:

    He is right with everything he says.

    The acting awards lost meaning over this but i think the rest of the awards who are not so much in the spotlight, like writing and costumes for example are really based on talent.

    Weinstein really is the worst.

  18. Faye says:

    I *love* his nasty comments about actors who “become” the part off-screen. It’s completely douche-tastic, and if you’re a good actor, you shouldn’t need to do that — that’s why it’s called “acting!”

    • Flo says:

      Me too! I f**cking love that he tells it like it is. DDL is a great actor but I’ve always found that let’s-stay-in-character-off-screen-the-whole-time-the-movie-is being-shot process absolutely silly and pretentious. Sure what counts after all is the result on the screen but it’s still incredibly ridiculous and pretentious.

  19. flor says:

    Guys, take some time to read this piece. It’s hilarious how bad SLP cast want that Oscar. And taht director…

  20. lizzi says:

    I didnt think I could, but i love him even more now!! You tell em!

  21. AC says:

    Folks need to remember that academy awards are not given for artistic achievement but for “achievement in motion picture INDUSTRY” — industry beng the key word here.

  22. Messenger says:

    am in total agreement with hopkins. i have always been of the opinion tht your work should speak for itself. no self-respecting man or woman would subject themselves to the humiliation tht passes for the ‘oscar campaign’. all that does is give the peripheral people (gossip columnists, pr people, paparazzi, aka bottom feeders) jobs. i too have observed the process for the last few years and despite the groveling some do the academy honors whomever it wants to, usually a foreigner. you’d think these actors would’ve wised up by now. artists shouldn’t have to sink so low.

  23. Cam S says:

    Just googled “curmudgeon”. Had no idea what that word meant…

  24. mln76 says:

    LOL I missed that one but I will be searching…I mean he’s done Lion In Winter, Silence of the Lambs and Nixon but he also did Wolfman and Bad Company and Hannibal so…

      • LAK says:

        i really shouldn’t throw shade on the 80s because it was not a good decade for films. Some seriously respectable actors were in some really dodgy films in the 80s.

        Jackie Collins/Barbara Cartland/Judith Krantz/Barbara Taylor Bradford kept so many of the more respectable actors employed during the 80s than the actors will acknowledge.

        it makes me laugh though because many of them can’t claim that they were at the start of their careers. Most were very respected stage actors with impressive credits early on, but i guess if you couldn’t do a blockbuster type film, then Jackie Collins was the alternative.

  25. salamanca says:

    He’s amazing in every way! Love him.

  26. carrie says:

    it’s why and how Sandra Bullock won her Oscar.She didn’t win because she’s a great actress,she won because she’s so likeable

  27. andy says:

    Brilliant actor. Love watching the video of him winning his Oscar for SOTL.

  28. Dana says:

    The problem with the industry is that is shite… Last night I was talking to my friend about the Oscars and all and for the love of God, I couldn’t remember who won for best actor in 2009… They’re not memorable… the roles aren’t memorable… SLP might me a great film but really will anyone remember it in 10 years.. No… As for Hopkins, please… at he’s age he’s allowed to play in whatever he likes… He doesn’t even watch them afterwards.. he said that about Troy too… It’s more of paid hobby for him at this point… And please, I’d watch Hopkins in any silly thing than watch Day-Lewis’ pretentious art… I know everyone’s in awe with Daniel but he’s just not my cup of tea… and really, best actor in the world… way, way overrated.

    • Messenger says:

      am in total agreement with your assessment of ddl. everyone bows to his supposed artistry, but i can’t remember ever seeing him do anything remotely watchable. and cast as Abraham Lincoln? please. i was unaware Lincoln sounded like a sissy.

      • Dana says:

        *his not he’s – ha ha
        And yes… starring in bad movies, it’s not really commendable but if you just want to keep working, how many great scripts are there? The vast majority of movies are made by appealing to the lowest denominator, even the Oscar baits or the campaigns.

  29. Mira says:

    I understand the need to campaign. I mean, there’s an Academy and people will campaign. It’s a competition and people need incentives. What I don’t understand is the need to reflect incessantly on an off-screen life that is all honey and peach. Why don’t they, especially actors, just stick to selling their movies? I don’t see the correlation between Ben Affleck having to promote an image of being a great dad/husband and getting nominated/winning an award. It’s those cheesy OTT personal interviews that bug me more then the right share of political campaigning. Clooney, Pitt, Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman – all of them went balls out blabbering about their private lives last year. How does that increase their chances of winning an award?

    • gogoGorilla says:

      Well, I think in Ben’s particular case, the idyllic home life is a required image fix because he was previously known as a massive d##chebag. His acting skill is pretty paltry, but he’s a good director; I hope he goes in the latter direction and gets out from in front of the camera, frankly.

      As to awards show in general, I find only the red carpet portions and sometimes the musical acts of any interest.

  30. s says:

    Wonder what Natalie Portman would say about Anthony’s comments.

  31. valleymiss says:

    I can see both sides of this. As someone upthread pointed out, he already has an Oscar for “Lambs.” Of course he doesn’t have the hunger for another Oscar, and to have his acting recognized, because it’s already been recognized and rewarded. I tend to think of Oscars as the Super Bowl or World Series for actors. Not everyone can just do a job and go home. When you put in the work, year after year, you do want to be called “the best.” But, I will admit that Sean Penn’s right – how can you judge one performance against another? In sports, you score points and all that…so that’s where the analogy falls apart.

    As I posted at the time, I personally was thrilled when Jean Dujardin beat Clooney last year. I was happy that all of Clooney’s campaigning didn’t work.

  32. Jaxx says:

    I love him, but what the heck happened to his eyebrows?

  33. dj says:

    Love him! He’s fantastic and does not take himself very seriously. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall on the little conversations he had with Helen Mirren. Last thing, it is definitely Harvey.

  34. Ms Kay says:

    Whenever I come across another actor who speaks his mind out loud regarding the Oscars it takes me right back to these :

    “The (Academy Award) ceremonies are a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons.”

    “I have nothing against Oscar. I know what he stands for and it’s terrific. And I think when people used to hang around and pat each other on the back over a drink and dinner it was wonderful. But when it became an international hoopla, where careers lived and died on whether or not you did or didn’t get an Oscar, then it got out of hand.”

    George C. Scott (aka the Man who refused an Oscar)

  35. Isla says:

    I love Anthony Hopkins – he’s a brilliant actor, seems humble and while he’s deemed a curmudgeon, for me, he’s simply speaking his mind, his truth and cranky or not, I respect him for that. This is what’s lacking in Hollywood actors today.

    I also side with him in that campaigning for an Oscar is akin to whoring yourself out – it should be based on talent and the work you put into the role you were given.

    Clooney and the Jolie-Pitts are notorious for this and frankly, it makes me think less of them but I doubt they or anyone else cares how I feel about that – onward and upward!

  36. Mary says:

    I know this site is about film industry, bet let’s face it, backside kissing is everywhere, regardless of the job or position. This is scary, people won’t speak up and stand for the right thing, cause, everyone is scared. And those with dignity and self respect are absolutely the minority, getting punished. Do we have to be Antony Hopkins age to be able to express honestly what we are thinking?

  37. ClaireB says:

    Yes. All of it. The campaigns shouldn’t even be allowed. The movies, only the movies.

  38. Madison says:

    Sadly over time the Oscars have become more about the campaign than the acting, but as George Clooney proved last year you can spend millions campaigning, you can suck up to and kiss the ass of the media and academy members it still won’t win you an oscar, hope the same happens to that smug jerk Affleck this year.

  39. Jayna says:

    I don’t understand campaigning and I don’t understand ads for the movies campaigning by the studios. Just let the members vote after viewing all the movies.

    I still love him in Shadowlands. He and Debra Winger broke my heart in that movie. I’ve seen it so many times because I love it and it is based on the true story of C.S. Lewis, the author, and his love for a younger Jewish divorcee.

  40. LeeLoo says:

    The Lion in Winter is my all time favorite movie, ever.

    Speaking of The Lion in Winter, let’s discuss why Peter O’Toole lost to Cliff Robertson that year. Let’s face it, Peter O’Toole was not about to kiss anyone’s @$$ for an Oscar. Whereas Cliff Robertson ended up being the ultimate winner for his role in Charlie. If my memory of Hollywood history serves correctly, many felt Peter O’Toole was robbed but Cliff at the time was the supposed new up and comer everyone wanted to work with and was likely more amiable with the big wigs in Hollywood at the time. Whereas Peter O’Toole was…well…Peter O’Toole. Same with Richard Burton, Richard Burton was Richard Burton, he wasn’t going to kiss anyone’s @$$ for an Oscar and that’s why he was nominated 8 times and never won.

    My point is that winning an Oscar has always boiled down to who can do the most groveling in Hollywood. The biggest problem is that big wig crowd in Hollywood has gotten to be a very large size. So whereas the groveling used to only take place behind the scenes it now takes place in the media and the general public gets dragged into this fight now because now the public can make or break films in such a way that Hollywood has a vested interest to listen to the public. So the fact of the matter is, the backside kissing has always been there, it’s just only gotten to the point where we all have the opportunity to see it.

    • LAK says:


      Alot of what we know about the world in general is not new. Just more transparent with advances in technology and media.

      you read about old hollywood and frankly they are all toothless babies now in terms of scandal, media manipulation, oscar campaigns etc. The only difference is that it was all behind closed doors….until the inevitable tell-all was written. usually after the protagonists were dead.

  41. Dea says:

    I hope The Affleck family reads this.

  42. Str8Shooter says:

    I love this guy even more now! So refreshing to hear him tell it like it is, especially with all that pretentious Method BS and the whole disgusting Oscar ‘campaign’

    I remember a few years ago I saw the movie The Fighter. Excellent film, amazing cast. And then I came home to open my copy of Variety and saw the woman that plays the mother (can’t recall the name) took out a FULL PAGE AD wearing a fur coat!

    WTF did that have to do with her performance? Absolutely NOTHING. All about her apparently massive ego.

    Good call, Anthony.

  43. A Fan says:

    Well Mr. Hopkins, self-respect has gone down the same road as common sense. Bye-bye.

  44. loma says:

    And this, my friends, is a man..

  45. kelbravura says:

    If they televized the shameful backside smooching, the utter degradations and told it like it was when Travolta’s chin dimple was basically the 3rd hole he was willing to let any producer abuse for any Hollywood goodie around I’d watch.

    Faze it in. Year one the filth they do for the award, cutaway from deed to statue holding.

    Next year, the Oscar doesn’t even have to show up.

  46. Mrs. Ari says:

    @LeeLoo – great post!
    I really hope there is some kind of backlash to the Oscar campaigning and it gets (at least) toned down. The Oscar itself is meaningless to the general audience. They remember great roles.