Woody Allen says he’s too ‘lazy’ and ‘middle class’ to make great films

Five-time Oscar winner offers a surprisingly dismissive assessment of his film-making gifts

Woody Allen has claimed he is too “lazy” and “middle class” to make what he considers “great” movies.

The veteran film-maker has received 24 Oscar nominations over the years, winning five, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for 1977’s Annie Hall. However, in a recent interview the 79-year-old auteur offered a surprisingly dismissive assessment of his talents.

“I’m lazy and an imperfectionist,” he told NPR. “Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese will work on the details until midnight and sweat it out, whereas for me, come six o’clock, I want to go home. I want to have dinner. Film-making is not [the] end-all be-all of my existence.”

“Another shortcoming is that I don’t have the intellect or the depth or the natural gift,” he added. “The greatness is not in me. When you see scenes in [Akira] Kurosawa films, you know he’s a madman on the set. There would be 100 horses and everything had to be perfect. He was crazy. I don’t have any of that.”

Explaining why he might lack a so-called perfectionist streak, Allen continued: “My problem is that I’m middle class. If I was crazy, I might be better. If I shrieked on the set and demanded, it may be better, but I don’t. I say, ‘Good enough!’ It’s a middle-class quality, which does make for productivity.”

Allen’s latest film, Irrational Man starring Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone, opened in US cinemas earlier this month to mixed reviews. However, several of his recent offering have proven more popular with critics and longtime fans, including 2011’s Midnight In Paris, for which Allen won his fifth Oscar, and 2013’s Blue Jasmine, which featured an Oscar-winning performance from Cate Blanchett.