RICHARD E GRANT broke down in tears as he paid tribute to Aids victims while accepting an indie award for best supporting actor.
The 61-year-old Brit, winning the first major prize of his career, said his role in Can You Ever Forgive Me? had been inspired by the late Chariots Of Fire star Ian Charleson.
Speaking at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in California on Saturday, Grant said he was ‘absolutely astonished and emotional’ to have won.
In the biographical drama his character Jack Hock is diagnosed with HIV.
Grant fought back tears as he said: ‘The person that most inspired my performance was an actor called Ian Charleson, who played the lead role in Chariots Of Fire in 1981. He died of Aids at the age of 40 in 1990 and this movie is a homage to that generation of men that were wiped out by that disease.’
He also told the audience he was third choice to play Hock, behind Sam Rockwell and Chris O’Dowd.
When the emotion became too much, Marielle Heller, 39, who directed Can You Ever Forgive Me? gave him a hug.
Grant’s fellow supporting actor nominees at the ceremony, held in a tent in Santa Monica, were Raul Castillo, Adam Driver, Josh Hamilton and John David Washington.