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Wednesday, 29 January, 2003, 08:57 GMT
O'Toole 'puts Oscar on hold'
Peter O'Toole
O'Toole has new films in the pipeline
Acting legend Peter O'Toole has asked Academy Awards organisers to give him more time to win an acting Oscar outright before presenting him with an honorary award, it has been reported.

O'Toole - who has been nominated for best actor seven times but never won - has been chosen to get an honorary statuette at this year's ceremony.

But the 70-year-old has sent a handwritten letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asking them to wait, according to industry paper Variety.

The award is for achievement and contribution to the art of the motion picture, not for retirement

Frank Pierson
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
He said that since he was "still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright, would the Academy please defer the honour until I am 80?"

The letter said he was "enchanted" by the gesture, Variety said.

O'Toole was first nominated for Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, and his other nods included Becket, Goodbye Mr Chips and My Favorite Year.

When he was chosen for an honorary award, Academy president Frank Pierson said: "The board of governors felt it was time for him to hold his own Oscar in his hands."

PETER O'TOOLE'S OSCAR NOMINATIONS
1962 - Lawrence of Arabia
1965 - Becket
1969 - The Lion in Winter
1970 - Goodbye Mr Chips
1973 - The Ruling Class
1981 - The Stunt Man
1983 - My Favorite Year
The Academy still hopes to persuade O'Toole to collect the statuette at the Hollywood ceremony on 23 March.

Mr Pierson told Variety the mood at the Academy was "bemused and sorry" and "it would be great if he decides to change his mind and join us".

"We will have the Oscar for him and if he cares to pick it up, that would be great," he said.

Mr Pierson sent a reply to the actor saying: "The board unanimously and enthusiastically voted you the honorary award because you've earned and deserved it."

"As to being 'in the game', nobody ever thought you were out of it. The award is for achievement and contribution to the art of the motion picture, not for retirement."

The reply added that the statuette "will be at the Academy for you to pick up when you're 80 or whenever you're ready", Variety said.

Glittering night

O'Toole is still making films, and forthcoming releases include showbusiness drama The Final Curtain and Stephen Fry's Bright Young Things.

The film world is gearing up for the ceremony, which is the biggest night of the movie year.

The nominations will be unveiled on 11 February, six weeks before the winners are announced.

The show will be hosted by comic Steve Martin and seen by millions around the world.

Actors Julianne Moore and Denzel Washington have already been lined up to present awards.

See also:

26 Jan 03 | Entertainment
04 Apr 00 | Entertainment
18 Feb 00 | Entertainment
24 Jan 02 | Entertainment
20 Jan 03 | Entertainment
05 Aug 99 | Entertainment
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