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'Shame' Director Steve McQueen: Oscars Snubbed Michael Fassbender because America Is 'Too Scared of Sex'

Steve McQueen,
Dave Hogan/Getty Images

The actor was ignored in the best actor category despite his acclaimed role in the graphic, NC-17-rated drama.

When the Oscar nominations arrived, and Michael Fassbender wasn't on the list for best actor alongside George Clooney and Brad Pitt, many fans of the actor and his work in Shame raised eyebrows in disbelief.

But Steve McQueen -- who directed Fassbender in his fearless, (literally) stripped-down role as a sex addict -- blames Oscar voters' hangups about the taboo subject matter.

"In America they're too scared of sex, that's why he wasn't nominated," McQueen said in an interview with the Press Association, via Yahoo. "If you look at the best actor list you're saying, 'Michael Fassbender is not on that list?' It's kind of crazy. But that's how it is, it's an American award, let them have it."

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Fassbender's star (and industry cred) is on the rise, thanks to acclaimed roles in Shame (alongside Carey Mulligan), A Dangerous Method (with Keira Knightley) and the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre, in which he portrays the literary antihero Rochester opposite Mia Wasikowska. Last year, he led a team of superheros in X-Men: First Class; in 2012, he headlines Ridley Scott's sci-fi adventure Prometheus, co-starring Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace. (View the trailer here.)

"He's a once in a generation actor," McQueen raved of Fassbender. "He's an actor who can transform and transcend, and you actually believe him, so that's the kind of guy he is."

A shirtless Fassbender recently graced the cover of The Hollywood Reporter, and in the article inside the magazine, he discussed what it was like to shoot nude scenes for his role as Brandon in the Fox Searchlight indie.

VIDEO: Steve McQueen Discusses Making 'Shame'

"We moved very fast. We shot it in 25 days, so I kind of had to get over it and get on with it," he said in an interview, wherein he was more open about nudity than the possibility of an Oscar nomination.

"It would just be a bonus, but of course I would take my mom down the red carpet," he noted.