Emma Thompson Says Intense Campaigns for Two Oscar Wins Made Her 'Seriously Ill'

"I found the pressure and glare of it too much," the 63-year-old British actress revealed Tuesday

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Dame Emma Thompson arrives at the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2023 at The Royal Festival Hall on February 19, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Photo: Dave Benett/Getty

Emma Thompson is reflecting on her Oscar wins.

On Tuesday, the Cruella star revealed that campaigning to win Academy Awards for actress in a leading role in 1992 (Howards End) and best adapted screenplay in 1995 (Sense and Sensibility) left her feeling "seriously ill."

"Both times I had to do the Oscars I got seriously ill," she told the Radio Times, reported The Times in London. "I found the pressure and glare of it too much. It's astonishing."

"Afterwards you want to lie down in a dark room," added the 63-year-old actress and screenwriter to the outlet. "You think: 'Please don't ask me any questions or make me talk about myself.'"

"I quickly developed a sort of allergy to that part of the job," continued Thompson. "I'm lucky — I think it must be awful if you're James Bond."

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29: English actress Emma Thompson arrives at the 1993 Oscar awards March 29, 1993 Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, California (Photo by Paul Harris/Getty Images)
Paul Harris/Getty

Despite receiving critical praise for her role in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, Thompson is not nominated for the 2023 Academy Awards — although she did earn a Bafta nomination but lost to Cate Blanchett for her role in Tár.

Her comments come after Andrea Riseborough addressed the debate surrounding her own Oscar nomination, following a last-minute social media campaign with endorsements from celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Edward Norton during the voting period.

On Feb. 15, the To Leslie actress — whose nomination sparked "a review of the campaign procedures around this year's nominees" by the Academy — told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview that her experience since receiving the nomination had been "confusing."

Emma Thompson during The 68th Annual Academy Awards at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Emma Thompson at the 68th Annual Academy Awards. Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty

"It not only makes sense that this conversation would be sparked, but it is necessary," the actress, 41, wrote of commentary surrounding this year's Oscars, after Danielle Deadwyler (Till) and Viola Davis (The Woman King) were not nominated for Best Actress despite receiving several other lead-up nods and being considered possible shoo-ins.

"The film industry is abhorrently unequal in terms of opportunity," Riseborough told THR in an email. "I'm mindful not to speak for the experience of other people because they are better placed to speak, and I want to listen."

On Jan. 27, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement that it would review its policies about campaigning and see if updates need to be made in the modern social media age. Days later, it announced that the British actress would keep her nomination.

Andrea Riseborough attends The BAFTA Tea Party at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 14, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Andrea Riseborough. Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage

"Based on concerns that surfaced last week around the To Leslie awards campaign, the Academy began a review into the film's campaigning tactics. The Academy has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film's nomination should be rescinded," Academy CEO Bill Kramer said in a statement. "However, we did discover social media and outreach campaigning tactics that caused concern. These tactics are being addressed with the responsible parties directly."

"The purpose of the Academy's campaign regulations is to ensure a fair and ethical awards process — these are core values of the Academy. Given this review, it is apparent that components of the regulations must be clarified to help create a better framework for respectful, inclusive and unbiased campaigning. These changes will be made after this awards cycle and will be shared with our membership. The Academy strives to create an environment where votes are based solely on the artistic and technical merits of the eligible films and achievements."

The 95th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will be held March 12 and televised live on ABC.

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