HOLLYWOOD star James McAvoy has stepped into the row about posh actors, warning that a wealthy elite running the arts can be "damaging for society."

 

The Glasgow-born actor who paid his way through drama school by working in a bakery, said he had nothing against public school educated television and film stars doing well

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But McAvoy, 35, who is currently appearing to rave reviews as an aristocrat in The Ruling Class, said it was unrepresentative.

Oscar nominee Julie Walters spoke out that working class children could no longer afford drama school, and "soon the only actors are going to be privileged kids ."

This year's British contingent for the Academy Awards is dominated by Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne, from Harrow and Eton respectively.

McAvoy, who attended St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary in Jordanhill, Glasgow, 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, sort of cornered.

"Nobody has got anything against an actor who is posh and is doing really well."

The actor, who is playing the fictional 14th Earl of Gurney, added: "But we are real 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.

"That doesn't affect us right now, but it will affect us 5 years from now, ten 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 of one tiny part, and that's not fair to begin with, but it's also damaging for society."

McAvoy, who is married to award winning actress Anne-Marie Duff, who also went to a comprehensive, lives an unshowey life off stage, living in Crouch End, North London. They have a young son Brendan.

Meanwhile, Bafta organisers have been criticised for not including late actor Bob Hoskins, who died aged 71 last April, in their customary In Memoriam segment at Sunday's awards ceremony.

Hoskins starred in Hollywood hits such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the homegrown underworld classic The Long Good Friday, while his role as George in the 1986 hit Mona Lisa won him an Oscar nomination for leading actor.

Organisers said Hoskins' death was included in last year's academy television awards - which traditionally run later in the year - and that it was common practice only to feature in one ceremony.

Stars last night hit out at what they considered a snub to the veteran actor.

Writer and actor 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."

Actor Zoe Wanamaker said: "Saddened and disappointed that Bob Hoskins wasn't mentioned at the Baftas last night. Bad form to say the least."

Sherlock Holmes actor Eddie Marsan added: "Bafta didn't remember the great, kind and talented Bob Hoskins. But he'll always be inspirational to us."

Former journalist and television host Piers Morgan added: "No tribute to, or mention of, Bob Hoskins at the Baftas - seriously?"

Mr Selfridge star Amanda Abbington paid her own tribute. She wrote simply: "Bob Hoskins. I salute you."

Bafta organisers said: "Due to the timing of his death in April last year, and the fact that his credits included television as well as film (he was Bafta-nominated for Pennies from Heaven in 1979), Bob Hoskins was included in the televised obituaries package at the British Academy Television Awards last year."

"Bafta features individuals in televised obituaries only once, sadly due to the number of people we'd like to recognise at any one time, and that means difficult decisions have to be made as to which ceremony they should be included in."