Jim Broadbent has revealed he turned down an OBE as he felt vanity “didn’t suit” him and there were more deserving recipients than actors.
The 72-year-old has won a host of other awards during his career, including an Oscar, two Golden Globes and two Bafta awards.
Explaining to the Radio Times why he declined the OBE in 2002, he said: “We get treated well all the time. Actors who get these awards have all won lots of treats along the way doing what they love doing – they don’t need more presents.
“But the main reason for turning it down is this. Richard Eyre, when asked why he accepted his knighthood, said, ‘Vanity’, and when I’m asked why I turned it down, I say the same. ‘Vanity. Not a good look. Didn’t suit me.’”
Broadbent’s film credits include the 2001 biographical film Iris, which won him the Oscar and Golden Globe for best supporting actor.
He also starred in 2006 TV crime drama Longford, 2001’s Moulin Rouge! and the Paddington and Bridget Jones movies.
The actor is returning to screens this month in comedy film The Duke, based on a true story of the theft of a valuable portrait from the National Gallery in London.
Broadbent plays Kempton Bunton, a 60-year-old taxi driver who allegedly stole Goya’s painting of the Duke Of Wellington in 1961, and Dame Helen Mirren plays his wife.
Bunton sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition the government invested more in care for the elderly, having long campaigned for pensioners to receive free television.
Broadbent said he loved every aspect of the script, written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman, adding: “The humour, the characters and the story. And the fact that there is a point to it.
“It’s a dig at the Establishment, which is always fun and is always needed. The Establishment is portrayed beautifully. They get a good kicking!”
The actor revealed he also “sort of loved” his character as his heart is in the right place but he is also flawed and muddled.
He added: “He loves his wife but he lies to her. But then I’ve been fairly selfish myself with my career and putting myself out there.
“I’ve been obsessed with acting to the exclusion of other people’s interests.
“I must have been extremely frustrating to my wife an awful lot. Hopefully, I haven’t lied blatantly.”
Broadbent has been married to painter and former theatre designer Anastasia Lewis for more than 30 years.
The Duke will be released in UK cinemas from February 25.
The full interview is in this week’s Radio Times.