Bryan Cranston said more funding should be made available to the arts, as he was named best actor at the Olivier Awards.
The Breaking Bad star won the award for his portrayal of Howard Beale in Network.
He took the opportunity to urge governments to spend more money on the arts for young people, rather than focusing on them “learning dates of war”.
He said: “There is a trend in the United States, when faced with fiscal challenges, to look immediately at the arts as the first red line.
“I think it’s very short-sighted because to support children’s imagination and ability to grow in a social, emotional way, is more important, I would contend, than learning dates of a war.”
Cranston, 62, was then asked if he thought the UK did not have those red lines, and said: “It doesn’t seem to be that way. There are challenges everywhere.
“By virtue of the fact I worked at the National Theatre and their first and foremost mission is to put on good stories that resonate with audiences and if it happens to make money, then great. But that’s their first and foremost.
“We had a lot of kids come to the show and I talked to a lot of kids and I go to colleges and acting schools to talk to them about the idea of being involved in the arts and trying to continue that.”
Cranston beat off competition from Paddy Considine, Andrew Garfield and Andrew Scott to win the best actor gong at the ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Sunday night.
Elsewhere, Bertie Carvel won the award for best actor in a supporting role, Denise Gough won best actress in a supporting role and Laura Donnelly won the award for best actress.