WORKING class actors are not getting the getting the same chances as their “posh” counterparts to make it in the movies, James McAvoy has claimed.
The X-Men and Star Wars actor, who attended a Catholic state school in Glasgow, warned the trend was “damaging to society”.
The 35-year-old spoke out as British Oscar hopes are dominated by “posh” actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne.
Cumberbatch, nominated for best Actor in a Leading Role for The Imitation Game, was educated at the private boys’ school Harrow in north-west London.
While Eddie Redmayne, favourite to win the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, studied at Eton alongside Prince William.
McAvoy’s comments also come as Bafta organisers were under fire for not including legendary actor Bob Hoskins, who died aged 71 last year, in the In Memoriam segment at Sunday’s ceremony.
Hollywood icon Hoskins, who starred in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Long Good Friday, was well known for his working class roots.
McAvoy, who is currently treading the boards in London in The Ruling Class, in which he plays an aristocrat, said: “Whenever we talk about this we have to be very, very clear. There’s a lot of posh actors, that have been to boarding school and all that, who are feeling very embattled.
“Nobody has got anything against an actor who is posh and is doing really well.
“But we are really worried about a society that doesn’t give opportunities to everybody from every walk of life to be able to get into the arts, and that is happening.”
He continued: “That doesn’t affect us right now, but it will affect us five years from now, 10 years from now, certainly further down the line.
“That’s a frightening world to live in because as soon as you get one tiny pocket of society creating all the arts, or culture starts to become representative not of everybody, but one tiny part, and that’s not fair to begin with, but it’s also damaging to society.”
Stars including writer David Baddiel, Sherlock Holmes actor Eddie Marsan and talk show host Piers Morgan spoke out about Bafta’s decision not to include Hoskins in the ceremony.
David Baddiel said: “The omission of Bob Hoskins in the Bafta remembrance montage seems symbolic of the erasure in modern times of the working-class actor.”