Ethan Hawke Blasts Oscars, Calls Past Winners 'Mediocre'

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Ethan Hawke sounds off on the Oscars in the latest issue of Gotham magazine, taking aim at "forgettable, stupid movies" and "mediocre performers."

Echoing The Master best-actor nominee Joaquin Phoenix's assertion that award season is "total utter bullsh--," Hawke -- who was nominated himself for his supporting role in 2001's Training Day and for co-writing the screenplay to 2004's Before Sunset -- rails against the Academy Awards and the heated competition surrounding the ceremony.

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"People want to turn everything in this country into a competition," he tells Gotham (via The New York Post), so "it's clear who the winner is and who the loser is. ... It’s why they like to announce the grosses of movies, because it's a way of saying, ‘This one is No. 1.'"

He continues: "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."

Hawke, whose recent film credits include the 2012 horror movie Sinister, is currently acting off-Broadway in the play Clive, about a hedonistic songwriter in '90s-era New York. He'll next be seen on the big screen in the thriller The Purge as well as Richard Linklater's buzzy Before Midnight, the latest drama in the evolving romantic saga of Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy). That film opens in limited release May 24.

UPDATE: Hawke released the following statement to THR:

“I think the Oscars do a very good job in representing much of the great work in a given year. Inevitably though, many great films and performances are not recognized and can be overlooked due to the mass marketing and PR machines that march through the awards season. I don’t mean to take anything away from the genuine and deserved excitement that every nominee should feel.”

Twitter: @ErinLCarlson

Email: erin.carlson@thr.com

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