ET should have been the big winner at the 1983 Academy awards rather than Gandhi, according to Lord Richard Attenborough.

He claimed eight Oscars for his biopic of the Indian independence leader - including best picture and best director - but has now argued Steven Spielberg's ET was an "an infinitely more creative and fundamental piece of cinema" than Gandhi.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live's Simon Mayo regarding the 25th anniversary of his film, Lord Attenborough admitted that Gandhi was a successful picture because "it's about a wonderful man".

But he added: "[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'.

"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."

Lord Attenborough added: "I think ET is a quite extraordinary piece of cinema."

Gandhi was also the recipient of best actor and screenplay awards, while ET's four awards came in sound and visual categories.


08/09/2008 15:42:49