Film Stars Who've Refused To Campaign For An Oscar

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MICHAEL FASSBENDER
Michael Fassbender refused to campaign for an Oscar this year. | AP
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The politics of Hollywood awards-season campaigning has become the stuff of headline news, and Michael Fassbender is far from the first actor to refuse to lobby for an Oscar. The actor, who has a chance at being nominated this year for "12 Years a Slave" and "The Counselor," made a splash last week when an interview with GQ revealed that he would not participate in awards-season electioneering because he'll be in New Zealand for a project.

Fassbender's reason for dipping out of the pre-Oscar scene is tame when compared to the smattering of stars who've outright lambasted the politicking that takes place during the lead-up to Hollywood's biggest night. Here's a look at six famous faces who made waves with their anti-Oscar sentiments.

  • Mo'Nique
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    Mo'nique sparked controversy by refusing to do press for 2009's "Precious" long before Oscar season heated up. The stand-up comedian turned actress appeared at the film's Sundance premiere and then skipped out on Cannes, Toronto and New York festivals. Mo'nique publicly questioned the purpose of Oscar campaigning, with some pundits starting to speculate that, as a relatively unestablished actress, she'd be shut out for the win. In the end, it turned out not to matter. Mo'nique remained the overwhelming favorite in supporting-actress categories throughout that season and took home her statue on Oscar night. "First, I would like to thank the Academy for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics," she said during her acceptance speech.
  • Joaquin Phoenix
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    At one point considered the frontrunner for 2012's "The Master," Joaquin Phoenix seemed to puncture his Oscar gumption when he called awards season "total, utter bulls---" that he "[doesn’t] want to be a part of." He walked back those comments, if only slightly, in a second interview that found him crediting the Academy's recognition for some of his success. Phoenix snagged the nomination, but many pundits agreed that, coupled with the mixed reactions "The Master" received, his attitude hurt his chances at winning.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
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    Leonardo DiCaprio has a troubled history with the Oscars. Before being shut out two years in a row for "J. Edgar" and "Django Unchained," the actor ran into some hullabaloo over his campaigns for "Blood Diamond" and "The Departed." Both movies were released in 2006 and featured DiCaprio in a lead performance. Not wanting to split the votes between two of his roles, Warner Bros. pitted "Diamond" as a potential Best Actor nomination and "Departed" as Best Supporting Actor. That prompted DiCaprio's refusal to campaign against fellow supporting contenders from "The Departed," including Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon. Warner Bros. purchased no ads for DiCaprio's Supporting Actor bid, and -- despite earning a "Diamond" nod -- he failed to garner recognition for the much stronger "Departed."

    "It's his own fault," GoldDerby editor Tom O'Neil said. "If he'd agreed to campaign in lead for 'The Departed' instead of supporting, he would've been nominated for that instead and probably would've won, riding its Best Picture sweep."
  • Anthony Hopkins
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    "I find it nauseating to watch and I think it’s disgusting to behold. People groveling around and kissing the backsides of famous producers and all that. It makes me want to throw up, it really does," Hopkins told HuffPost Entertainment in 2012 when asked about awards speculation. Whether those remarks truly hurt his chances at being nominated for that year's "Hitchcock" is questionable, as the movie received lukewarm reviews and Hopkins was also shut out at the Golden Globes and most critics' awards. Might it hinder his future Oscar chances, though?
  • Marlon Brando
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    The voracious Oscar campaigning that is a staple of awards season today didn't look quite the same 40 years ago, but that doesn't mean everyone was complacent with the politics of Hollywood honors. Marlon Brando boycotted the 1972 Oscars, the year he won for his career-redefining role in "The Godfather." The politically outspoken actor was dissatisfied with movies' portrayal of Native Americans and sent actress Sacheen Littlefeather to read a statement he'd written about "degrading the Indian."

    (Brando is seen here with Grace Kelly in 1954, when he won for "On the Waterfront.")
  • Phil Collins
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    It seems unlikely that a non-actor would be in a position to decline Oscar publicity, but Phil Collins did just that. After taking home the Best Original Song honor in 2000 for "Tarzan," Disney wanted the singer to fly from Switzerland to Los Angeles the following year to hobnob with voters in hopes of capturing the award for "The Emperor's New Groove." Collins refused, saying he didn't want to travel thousands of miles to convince people to vote for him. He lost to Bob Dylan.
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