Toronto: 'Blackbird' Star Susan Sarandon Talks Assisted Suicide, Oscar Campaigns

Courtesy of TIFF
'Blackbird'

"It's an individual choice," Sarandon told a press conference at the Toronto Film Festival as she defended physicians helping the terminally ill end their own lives.

Susan Sarandon on Friday jumped into the hot button debate over physician-assisted suicide as she discussed her latest role playing a terminally ill family matriarch saying goodbye to her family in Roger Michell's Blackbird.

"Everybody has the right to do that without your family members being charged with homicide. You should be able to be surrounded by those people. It's an individual choice," the Oscar winner told a press conference at the Toronto Film Festival.

Sarandon added that doctor-assisted suicide has always been available to the wealthy, and should be made accessible to ordinary people who are also terminally ill and unable to end their own lives with dignity and without pain.

"If you're wealthy, just like abortion, you'll always have access to things that are controversial. If you're wealthy, your doctor will make sure, whether it means upping the morphine, that you're not suffering. It's not something that's new," Sarandon argued.

But while respecting the right to choose medically assisted suicide, the Hollywood actress said she would be unable in real life to say goodbye to her own children by opting for euthanasia. "I couldn't have done it. Personally, not in a million years. Even knowing what's in store later for her, it would have been difficult to leave my children behind, at that point," Sarandon conceded.

She also talked Friday about her role in the family drama, where she stars alongside Kate Winslet, Mia Wasikowska and Sam Neill, possibly netting her a sixth Oscar nomination after she won the best actress crown for her star turn in Tim Robbins' Dead Man Walking, which co-starred Sean Penn.

"Of course, I would love it," Sarandon said, but quickly cautioned that Oscar campaigns are very expensive and competitive in an increasingly corporate Hollywood where award season glory is more elusive than ever.

"You have to have so much behind you, so much money. You have to start six months of a campaign to get a nomination. Things have really changed ... You have to work your ass off now to be able to get a film to compete with what all the Harvey Weinsteins of this world are pushing," she added.

The Toronto Film Festival continues through Sept. 15.