Oscar-nominated British director urges winners not to 'babble' on about politics

The British director of an Oscar best film nominee has urged this year’s winners not to “babble” on about political issues.

Scottish film-maker David Mackenzie directed Hell Or High Water starring Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine, which has earned four Academy Award nominations including best picture.

Sunday’s ceremony is expected to be dominated by political speeches about US president Donald Trump and his controversial travel ban.

Chris Pine and director David Mackenzie (Ian West/PA)

But speaking at a pre-Oscars party celebrating British nominees, David told the Press Association: “It’s interesting. I think there’s a lot of politicising going on at the moment.

“I hope the message doesn’t get diluted by too much babble so I have mixed feelings about that.”

British actor David Harewood, who starred in TV shows Homeland and The Night Manager, said he supported Oscar winners who wished to criticise Trump.

“Any attempt to bash Trump is good,” he said, adding: “It’s going to be a fun night. Definitely get your recorders out for some fun speeches.”

David Harewood (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Singer Jessie J, who performed at the Film Is Great event in Los Angeles, said the Oscars were a “perfect situation” to address political issues that “people are avoiding talking about”.

She said: “Artists and performers and people in the limelight have to reflect the times. It is crucial for artists to reflect the times.

“For people to be able to have freedom in their speeches is a perfect situation to talk about what people are avoiding talking about.

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not listening.”

Jessie J (Ian West/PA)

Cara Speller, the British producer of Pear Cider And Cigarettes, which is nominated for best animated short film, said artists had a “responsibility to speak out”.

“Our very way of life is being threatened and curtailed,” she said.

“I won’t be doing that. Other people will put it much better than me but I think that’s great and I think it’s important actually.”

The Oscars take place on Sunday night (Ian West/PA)

But British special effects superviser Neil Corbould, nominated for his work on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, said he believed political messages were for “another platform”.

“It should be for the film people I think,” he said.

“Political is another platform. People are allowed to say what they want I suppose.”

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