Hollywood director Sam Mendes has slammed his debut film American Beauty as overrated - even though it swept the Oscars in 2000 and won five Academy Awards including best picture and best director.

The 40-year-old, who is married to British actress Kate Winslet, has kept his feet firmly on the ground and refuses to get carried away by the film's success.

He says, "It was other people who decided American Beauty was going to win an Academy Award. I felt at the time it was slightly overpraised."