UK stars Redmayne & Cumberbatch in Oscars battle

Wrapped Oscar statues at the rear of the LA ceremony venue. Picture: Getty

Wrapped Oscar statues at the rear of the LA ceremony venue. Picture: Getty

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EDDIE Redmayne’s awards season success will hit even greater heights this weekend if he carries off the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Professor Stephen Hawking in hit film The Theory Of Everything.

The actor, whose mantelpiece is already laden down with a Bafta, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award, is favourite to carry off the statuette.

He is up against another Brit and another portrayal of a pioneering scientist in the shape of Benedict Cumberbatch, who was nominated for his performance as codebreaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.

Both actors have played Hawking and while Redmayne’s performance could see him pick up an Oscar, there are many who reckon Cumberbatch’s was better. He was a relative unknown when he landed the part in a 2004 drama and it set him up for a series of major roles in dramas such as To The Ends Of The Earth and Small Island.

But any plans for life as a steadily successful actor disappeared when he picked up the deerstalker and signed on to play master sleuth Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s updated take on the classic crime stories.

That show made him a star around the world, with fans from China – where he was dubbed Curly Fu – to the studios of Hollywood, who marked him out as one to watch.

Redmayne’s co-star in The Theory Of Everything, Felicity Jones, and Gone Girl’s Rosamund Pike are both nominated for the best actress gong.

Jones, who got her big break in Radio 4’s rural soap The Archers, played Prof Hawking’s first wife, Jane, whose memoir of life with him inspired the film.

Keira Knightley, who stars alongside Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, is nominated as best supporting actress alongside Oscars veteran Meryl Streep, who is shortlisted for a 19th time.

Both The Theory Of Everything and The Imitation Game are in contention to be named best film, along with American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Selma and Whiplash.

Among those tipped for a nomination but who missed out were actors Ralph Fiennes and David Oyelowo, both critically acclaimed for their work in The Grand Budapest Hotel and Selma respectively.

Other notable nominations include two for French composer Alexandre Desplat, for his original score in The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game.

Another Brit, cinematographer Dick Pope, was nominated for his work on Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner and became an online sensation when Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs pronounced his name “Dick Poop”.

The winners will be announced early on Monday, UK time, in a Los Angeles ceremony.

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