Writer Tom hopes for Oscars success

Oscar nominee: Leyland film writer Tom Bidwell. Picture: Simon Hulme
Oscar nominee: Leyland film writer Tom Bidwell. Picture: Simon Hulme

Colin Firth, Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush – just some of the famous faces expected to grace the red carpet at the Oscars this weekend. And this year, a humble film writer from Leyland, will be joining them.

Tom Bidwell, who grew up in Leyland Lane and attended Balshaw’s High School, has been nominated for an Academy Award for his short film about a teenager with cancer.

Sunday in LA will be a far cry from his rainy Runshaw College days, and he’s even planning on rubbing shoulders with his hero, Danny Boyle.

“Granada want to interview me and Danny Boyle together, because we’re both from the North West,” he said. “That’s what made me really want to go to the award ceremony.

“I can’t wait for that. He’s my hero.”

This time last week, Tom, 26, wasn’t considering going to the awards, saying that he’s not interested in the glitz and glamour of it all, but the opportunity to meet his idols swayed him, and he jets off from Heathrow airport on Friday.

As well as meeting Boyle, the Oscar-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire, who’s film 127 Hours is shortlisted for Best Picture this year, Tom also hopes to run into the likes of Natalie Portman and his all-time favourite actor, Jack Nicholson, at the ceremony on Sunday.

Tom, who will be staying in a hotel near the world-famous Venice Beach Boardwalk in California, said: “I’m very nervous about it. It’s all very mind-bending and surreal.

“I’ve even had to put down a £200 deposit for my tuxedo, because I need to look smart.

“I could have borrowed a suit from Armani for something like the Oscars, but I couldn’t be bothered will all of that.”

His short film, Wish 143, is about a young cancer patient who is granted one wish before he dies – and all the 15-year-old boy wants to do, is to lose his virginity before time runs out. The film, which is directed by Ian Barnes and produced by Samantha Waite, who are also attending the star-studded event in Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre, has been nominated in the Short Film (Live Action) category of the 83rd Academy Awards.

Tom can relate to the content in some ways, as he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was 14, and underwent months of chemotherapy.

“Being nominated is a huge deal,” he said. “I think my film’s been chosen because it’s got heart and joy to it, despite the subject matter.

“You never know what the magic of a film is going to be when you’re writing it, but fingers crossed that we do well.”

Tom, who now lives in Leeds, is up against four other nominees in his category, and plans to celebrate or commiserate in style after the announcement.

“If you win, you go to a Variety party, which is an after-show party,” he said. “If you lose, you find another party to go to.”