‘I prefer Leyland to LA’

Film writer Tom Bidwell. Picture by Simon Hulme
Film writer Tom Bidwell. Picture by Simon Hulme

A film writer who missed out on winning an Oscar says he is still on top of the world.

Tom Bidwell, who grew up on Leyland Lane, attended the star-studded ceremony in Hollywood at the weekend, after his short film, Wish 143, was given the nod to win an award.

Despite losing in the Live Action Short Film category during Sunday’s Academy Awards, the 27 year old has now had meetings with top movie studio executives, including Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks, with a view to penning a feature film.

Speaking from LA, Tom, who was still nursing a ‘delicate’ head after a raucous after show party organised by infamous graffiti artist Banksy, said he was still in shock from the experience.

“The whole thing has been utterly surreal,” he said. “At the awards you get thrust on to the red carpet, which is about 300m long, and there are people everywhere.

“Flash bulbs are going off, there are FBI agents and helicopters, and the carpet just seems endless.

“There are just so many famous people. It is a completely bizarre experience.”

He added: “I’ve loved being here (in LA) but to be honest there is no heart about the place.

“I much prefer Leyland to LA, that’s for sure.”

He was inspired to write the 22-minute film about a young cancer patient’s quest to lose his virginity before he dies, after battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma as a youngster himself.

He lost out to the magical love triangle tale, God of Love.

Tom attended the glamourous event on his 27th birthday, and the former Balshaw’s High School pupil, who now lives in Leeds, only managed to make it to the ceremony courtesy of a career-development grant from the school.

He also achieved his other dream of meeting his ‘hero’, film director Danny Boyle, when Granada interviewed him alongside the fellow north west success at the weekend.

“He told me that he enjoyed my film and my soul danced the Macarena,” he said.

He admitted he wasn’t too upset about losing out on the Oscar for his film, saying: “Jake Gyllenhaal announced that we hadn’t won. I surprised myself by feeling fine about it; the winner, God of Love, is an excellent film.”

Later that night he was at Banksy’s after-show party, interviewed by ITV and given a miniature Oscar statuette, and then ‘fell asleep on the hotel bathroom floor’.