If you're having an Oscar party Sunday night and you've invited Ethan Hawke, don't count on him showing up.
Gotham Magazine has published an interview with Hawke in which the actor has gone on record about how he feels about the Academy Awards, and his opinions are not exactly kind. "People want to turn everything in this country into a competition," Hawke said. "It's so asinine ... if you look at how many forgettable, stupid movies have won Oscars and how many mediocre performers have Oscars above their fireplace. Making a priority of chasing these fake carrots and money and dubious accolades, I think it's really destructive."
At least Hawke speaks from a position of experience. He's been nominated twice for an Oscar -- he was up for Best Supporting Oscar for 2001's "Training Day," and he was one of four writers nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for 2004's "Before Sunset." But if Hawke was hoping for some Oscar action for "Before Midnight," the "Before Sunset" follow-up that recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, he should probably get ready for a letdown.
Hawke, of course, is hardly the first or only actor to question the worth of the Oscars. Joaquin Phoenix, nominated this year for his striking performance in Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," told a reporter for Interview Magazine that he believed the Academy Awards were "total, utter bulls---, and I don't want to be a part of it. I don't believe in it. It's a carrot, but it's the worst-tasting carrot I've ever tasted in my whole life. I don't want this carrot. It's totally subjective. Pitting people against each other ... It's the stupidest thing in the whole world."
Anthony Hopkins, who took home an Oscar for his performance as Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence Of The Lambs," spoke to the Huffington Post about the film industry's campaigning for awards and nominations, and declared, "You know, I've been around -- I've got the Oscar myself -- 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."
And the late George C. Scott felt so strongly that it was wrong for actors to be asked to compete against each other (calling it a "meat
parade") that when he won the Oscar for "Patton" in 1971, he refused to accept it.
Thankfully for the Academy, Daniel Day-Lewis looks likely to win the Best Actor prize for his performance in "Lincoln," and having already won two Oscars (for "My Left Foot" and "There Will Be Blood"), they should be able to count on a courteous and sincere acceptance speech.
The Oscars will be broadcast Sunday at 7 pm on ABC.