An OBE just wasn’t for me, reveals Jim Broadbent

Jim Broadbent has revealed he turned down an OBE because he felt vanity “didn’t suit him” and there were more deserving recipients than actors.

The 72-year-old has won numerous other awards during his career, including an Oscar, two Golden Globes and two Bafta awards.

Explaining to the Radio Times why he turned down the OBE in 2002, he said: ‘We are treated well all the time. The actors who get these awards have all earned plenty of goodies doing what they love to do – they don’t need more goodies.

“But the main reason to refuse it is the following. Richard Eyre, when asked why he accepted his knighthood, replied “Vanity”, and when asked why I refused it, I say the same. ‘Vanity. Not a good look. Didn’t suit me.’”

Broadbent’s film credits include the 2001 biopic Iris, which won him the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.

He also starred in the 2006 television crime drama Longford, 2001’s Moulin Rouge! and the Paddington and Bridget Jones films.

The actor returns to screens this month in comedy film The Duke, based on a true story of the theft of a valuable portrait from London’s National Gallery.

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 he would return the painting on the condition that the government invest more in care for the elderly, after he had 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 humor, the characters and the story. And the fact that there’s a point to it.

“It’s a dig at the Establishment, which is always fun and always necessary. The Establishment is represented beautifully. They get a good kick!

The actor revealed that he “kinda loved” his character because his heart is in the right place, but he’s also flawed and confused.

He added: “He loves his wife, but he is lying to her. But then I was pretty selfish myself with my career and pushed myself.

“I was obsessed with acting against the interests of others.

“I must have been extremely frustrating to my wife. I hope I didn’t blatantly lie.

Broadbent has been married to painter and former theater designer Anastasia Lewis for over 30 years.

The Duke will be released in UK cinemas from February 25.

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