Education International
Education International

The Oscars trigger debate on elitist revolving doors

published 23 February 2015 updated 25 February 2015

The Academy awards have ignited a debate on the chances of working-class actors to climb the ladder of success, given the increasing proportion of ‘posh actors’ hailing from elite schools sitting atop the acting summit.

While many of the evening’s winners voiced concern on issues such as gender equality and fair wages during their acceptance speeches at the Dolby Theatre last night in Los Angeles, behind the scenes a debate was brewing on the success and dominance of a new wave of so-called ‘posh actors’. In the United Kingdom the media has picked up the discussion and turned it into a national polemic on the revolving door between private elite schools and success.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, today’s leading male and female actors are mostly alumni from private schools like Eton, Harrow, Reed, Exeter, that are only accessible to a certain economic elite.

Actors from working-class backgrounds, like the Scot James McAvoy, who paid his way through drama school by working in a bakery, look at this trend with great concern. They underline that people from all walks of life are not getting the same opportunities to work in the arts. If the trends are allowed to continue, McAvoy said "that's a frightening world to live in, because as soon as you get one tiny pocket of society creating all the arts, or culture starts to become representative not of everybody but of one tiny part, and that's not fair to begin with, but it's also damaging for society."