We all know that Best Film Oscars always go to "worthy" films – things about racism, war or one-legged, lesbian firefighters. So it’s refreshing to hear the director of one those multi-Oscared movies admit that his film was honoured partly for its subject matter and that Spielberg’s ET was a better movie, cinematically speaking.
Specking to Simon Mayo on BBC Radio Five Live Richard Attenborough admitted, "[Business partner] Diana and I went to see ET in Los Angeles shortly before all the awards and we used language, when we came out, to the extent of saying 'we have no chance - ET should and will walk away with it'."
He said that Gandhi was a wonderful story "because it's about a wonderful man… Without the initial premise of Mahatma Gandhi, the film would be nothing. Therefore it's a narrative film but it's a piece of narration rather than a piece of cinema, as such. ET depended absolutely on the concept of cinema and I think that Steven Spielberg, who I'm very fond of, is a genius.”
Gandhi won eight Oscars (in all the important categories) while ET won four (in technical categories).
Now, if we can just get Akiva Goldsman and Ron Howard to admit that A Beautiful Mind was a steaming pile of dingo’s kidneys...