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Emma Thompson sings to Prince of Wales as British Oscar winners celebrated

Published 05/05/2016

Dame Judi Dench greets the Prince of Wales during a reception for British Academy Award winners at St James's Palace
Dame Judi Dench greets the Prince of Wales during a reception for British Academy Award winners at St James's Palace

Actress Emma Thompson has said she thinks the trend of movie studios hiring young stars because of their social media following is a "disaster".

She was speaking after serenading the Prince of Wales as she greeted him at a royal reception for British Academy Award winners.

The event, hosted by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at St James's Palace, saw Thompson sing: "It's you! You look gorgeous."

Thompson joined a host of British acting royalty including Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Jeremy Irons, Sir Michael Caine and playwright and author Ronald Harwood.

She said that one of the things that "really worries" her about social media is "we're casting actors who have big followings so the studios can use their followings to sell their movie".

She added: "The actors are becoming attached in the sort of business way to their social media profiles, and I think that's a disaster."

Thompson attended the prestigious event with her daughter Gaia, who also spoke to the royal couple and complimented Camilla on her emerald green lace dress from designer Edina Ronay.

The 57-year-old actress has picked up two Oscars - a best actress gong for Howards End and best adapted screenplay for Sense And Sensibility.

Meanwhile, Dame Judi used the event to express concern about the lack of funds available to train young actors.

She said: "I think it's worrying that training is so expensive. I must have, I don't know how many letters a week from young actors wanting to get to drama school and not having the money to get them through."

Despite seven nominations, Dame Judi has only won one Academy Award - she was named best supporting actress for her eight-minute role as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare In Love.

She said she thought the event was "wonderful", adding that when she won her Oscar she did not have the chance to meet the other winners in the same year.

Asked about the secret to her success and that of other British talent, she joked: "It's called good luck.

"We have good training and we've got incredible young people who are trained in everything, they can dance and sing and act on the stage."

Sir Michael raised concerns about the generation of young actors coming through the ranks.

He said: "These days they just say I'm going to be an actor because I want to be rich and famous. And then they do a little part on television and everyone knows who they are. They can't really act.

"I knew I wasn't going to be rich, I knew I wasn't going to be famous, I knew I wasn't going to be a movie star, I just wanted to be a good actor, that's all."

Sir Michael is one of just two actors - the other being Jack Nicholson - to have been nominated for an Oscar in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s.

He won his first supporting actor award for Hannah And Her Sisters and his second for The Cider House Rules.

Asked if there is a royal role he would still like to tackle in his career, he joked: "I never thought of myself in the royal mould. I'm definitely working class. I can't think of a single royal who has a cockney accent.

"Maybe I'll be that little boy who's just been born when he grows up."

Talking about a host of stars who find fame at a young age, he said: "They're very young now. I was 30 before I became well known. I've watched it ruin people. By the time they're 30, they're through."

More than 300 British artists and film-makers have been awarded Oscars over a 45-year period of film production.

Other guests at the event included Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, CEO Dawn Hudson and members of the Academy's board of Governors.

Ms Boone Isaacs described Prince Charles as "charming, he really was, so relaxed, so lovely".

She said British talent thrives due to a "commitment to training and the craft and creative".

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